The island where noh is still alive: dance and song of the islanders

Sado Island

Sados Island

Zeami's Exile and the Flourishing of Sado Noh in the Edo Period


Sado Island, the largest island in the Sea of Japan, is renowned for once having over 200 Noh stages. Even today, more than 30 of these stages remain, and the island's residents continue to perform Noh. The spread of Noh on Sado Island began during the Edo period. Blessed with abundant gold and silver resources, Sado Island became a territory of the Shogunate. The first commissioner initiated Noh performances as offerings at various shrines across the island, making it accessible not only to samurai but also to the general public. Today, islanders continue to perform Sado's Noh from April to October every year. Additionally, Noh is incorporated into school curriculums, ensuring that the tradition of Sado's Noh is passed on to the next generation.


Sado Island itinerary

The "Sado Island itinerary" allows you to trace the history of how Noh became deeply rooted in Sado Island, while visiting active Noh stages where performances are still held today.


Shoboji Temple

The temple associated with Zeami, where the annual "Rosoku Noh" is performed

Shōbōji Temple

Shoboji Temple is the place where Zeami, who was exiled to Sado Island, once resided. Every June, the "Shoboji Rosoku Noh" is performed under the candlelight of the main hall. If you visit during this time, you can see the oldest mask in the prefecture, the "Shinjimen Beshimi", which is believed to have been used by Zeami in his rain dance.

Just a 15-minute drive from Shoboji Temple, the "Sado History and Legend Museum" offers exhibits on the history of Noh in Sado and features a life-sized robot reenactment of Zeami's rain dance.

504 Kou Izumi Sado-shi Niigata
Shoboji Temple
SP_15min by car
15min by car

Daizen Shrine

The Oldest Existing Noh Stage in Sado

The Oldest Existing Noh Stage in Sado

At Daizen Shrine, both Hino Suketomo, who was exiled to Sado, and Daisenbo, who aided in the escape of Suketomo's son, are enshrined. The shrine also sets the scene for the Noh play "Danpuu," which is based on their story. It stands as one of the eminent Noh stages on Sado Island, where the tradition of performances persists.

Every year, on April 18th, dedicatory Noh performances take place, and in June, the "Takigi Noh" showcases Sado's traditional repertoire.


562-1 Takeda Sado-shi Niigata
Daizen Shrine
SP_20min by car
20min by car

Honma Family's Noh Stage

The Birthplace of Hoshō-za, Which Popularized Sado Noh

Honma Family's Noh Stage

In the early Edo period, the Honma family, appointed by the magistrate's office as "Noh Dayu", established a school known as the Hosho-za and began dedicating Noh performances to the shrine. From the middle Edo period onward, the Hosho-za played a central role in Noh activities on Sado Island. The existing stage was rebuilt in 1885, with large jars embedded beneath its floor to enhance acoustics. A particular highlight is the beautiful mirror board at the back of the stage, depicting the mountain ranges of Sado Island. Every year, on the last Sunday of July, a Noh performance known as "Honmake-Teirei-Noh" is held on this stage owned by the Honma family.

*Note: 'Noh Dayu' refers to a role in Noh that serves in religious ceremonies."

987 Hei Agata Sado-shi Niigata
Honma Family's Noh Stage
SP_6min by car
6min by car
Shiizaki Suwa Shrine

Shiizaki Suwa Shrine

A Noh Stage Where "Takigi Noh" Invites You to a Mysterious World

Shiizaki Suwa Shrine

Shiizaki Suwa Shrine, located on a hill overlooking Lake Kamo, boasts a Noh stage built in 1902. From May to early October, the "Tenryo Sado Ryotsu Takigi Noh" is performed on Saturdays. "Takigi Noh" refers to an outdoor Noh performance illuminated by bonfires, creating a captivating atmosphere where islanders dance passionately amidst the flames.

724 Harakuro Sado-shi Niigata
Shiizaki Suwa Shrine

Various Ways to Enjoy Sado Island

Delicious Meals From Sado’s Nature

Natural Yellowtail Cutlet Bowl

Sado Island is rich in fresh seafood, including amberjack, tuna, shrimp, and crab, all caught off its coast. Notably, the "Sado Tennenn Buri Katsu Don (Natural Yellowtail Cutlet Bowl)" is a famous dish made entirely from ingredients sourced from Sado, from the yellowtail to the rice and sauce.

Additionally, Sado has an initiative promoting restaurants and eateries that prioritize local ingredients. Similar to the Michelin stars, this initiative is called "Sado Meal". Use it as a guide to explore the island's delectable cuisine.

Explore Japanese Sake Breweries

Sake Breweries

Sado Island is home to five sake breweries, where unique Japanese sakes are crafted using the island's abundant rice and water. Each brewery offers tours and tasting sessions, so visit them and find a sake that suits your taste.

Relaxing in Hot Springs While Admiring Views

Breathtaking Views in Sado

Sado Island is dotted with numerous natural hot spring sources, and many hot spring inns offer stunning views of the Sea of Japan.

Sado Resort Hotel Azuma
Known as the "inn closest to the sunset," the view of the setting sun dipping into the Nanaura Coast from the large bath is truly spectacular.

Sado Kamoko Onsen Kohan no Yado Yoshidaya
A historic inn established during the Edo period. From the rooftop open-air bath filled with natural spring water, you can enjoy the magnificent view of Lake Kamo, extending towards the Sado Mountain Range and the Sea of Japan.