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Are you looking for a good course which can enjoy JAPAN RIDE in a few days?
If so, I surely recommend Sado.
Choosing the beach side roads, Sado offers scenic and various ride along Japan Sea.
How to get there
If you are going to use some transportation to get to Niigata area, take Niigata-Ryotsu line. There are two types of boats. One is Rapid boat called JETFOIL but it doesn't accept BIKE so choose normal ferry.
This ferry runs several times everyday.
Ferry Fee(one way)
Economy room-> 2.060 yen
*Need to ride 2km to get to Nigata Port from Nigata Station (use Bandai Exit) across the crowded road.
*Ticket center is not the same place of the entrance of bikes and cars, there is at the second floor of terminal building.
Air temperature is almost the same as Niigata main area. But watch the weather forecast carefully, sometimes weather is different from each other.
Main roads are almost sealed and fewer traffic than in a main land. But some problems exist on local roads. Local roads are narrow though the governor is trying to extend them now.
Because of that, some roads are closed and many tracks drive through another local roads which usually drive main ones.
In my experience, I had to get off my bike many times to pass big tracks. Road are winding so be careful not only to find a track itself but its noise in order ready to get off your bike.
I recommend to conform about road condition.
Sado is not a big island so there are few convenience stores such as 7/11.At some village you can find a super market. It is better to buy some supply here. It is hard to find restaurants in a rural area or some fast food shop.
Even if you find a tap on the road or in front of the shops don't fill water and drink directly. Some are not for drink. If you need water, ask at a shop or a house then they will willing to fill your bottle. I saw a mineral water sold at some shops. We Japanese cyclists like to buy a bottle of tea.
At the mountain area you'll find a spring from a rock. That is nice but don't try to drink a water of a stream or you will get sick for a bacteria.
Along the sea side you can find some camping grounds and a fee may be about 600 yen, sorry I'm not sure, I met a cyclist and he had paid 600 yen for one night stay at a camping ground.
There are many rest areas along the beach but camping is prohibited. I saw some good place for pitch the tent in a forest path, yes you may find it.
(Japanese style Family-run lodging)
One night at Minshuku offers you a Japanese way of hospitality. Stay at Japanese house and eat Japanese food and sleep on the Tatami and Futon. Every minshuku has their own style so it is fun to choose Minshuku what you like. When I stay Minshuku it cost 4000 yen without meals at Mano Town.
There are 6 YH in Sado Island. Now I tell you the impression about YHs where I stayed.
Sado Bellemer YH
One of the best place to see sunset of Japan Sea. If you are going to stay this YH on fine day I surely recommend to check in before sunset and see it from YH.
Located at a scenic point "Senkaku" Bay, cost little more expensive, but Parent (owner) is very nice person!!
Green village YH
To tell you the truth I don't recommend to stay here. Outlook is fine but they are not friendly for cyclists, we have to leave our bike at the garden where everyone can easily pick up (steal) .
No special hot spring on Sado Island. I took one Onsen "Yutori Pia Makino", entrance fee is 500 Yen, located at near Makino Town along R350.
Route(Where I rode)
Ryotsu - Futatsu_kame (Uchikaifu Beach)
Mostly flatted road with a few up and down hills. Because of a few traffic there is very quiet and peaceful. If this is fine day, it provides you a fantastic sea side ride.
NOTE: Fewer traffic also means fewer shops.
Futatsu_kame - Senkaku Bay - Aikawa (Sotokaifu Beach)
Here is more traffic than Uchikaifu, also more Big tracks.
From Nyuzaki to Aikawa you can not avoid some hills.
NOTE: This route is danger about falling rocks when its raining and after raining. Watch your head.
Aikawa - Mano
Ride along Mano Bay but it doesn't provide you a fine view but a much traffic. I don't recommend this route...
Mano - Ogi
Koshino Nagahama is a view point along the beach. Along this road there is R350 with much traffic. Expect Koshino Nagahama it just a normal Japanese road with some up and down hills.
South mountain area. (Mano, Hamochi, Akadomari)
Comparing with Northern moutain area, South is less steap and have fine view points.
A course between Akadomari and Hamochi shows Japanese historical village which can not be seen at the main land of Japan because of the industrialization.
A road, Mano to Akadomari, now under construction for ByPass and many big tracks on side roads, and poor view point.
North moutain area. (Ryotsu and more northern part)
This year the heavy rain hit Japan and other Asia. Two main routes Local-R81 and OhSado Skyline have been closed which those rain had destroyed.
Beside of those routes I would like to introduce Ishina-Wagi Forest Path which connects Uchikaifu and Sotokaifu Beach.
It is very hard to find a forest path that offer great views of Japan Sea while you ride over a hill, steap like 12-15% average.
Especially off road down hill to Ishina is excellent (Wagi side is almost Sealed). Japan Sea jump into your sight.
NOTE:*This path's off road condition is terrible. I don't recommend to enter by slick tire or by road type .
Check Chris's lively report for Sado and Tsukuba.
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