Sado Island: The magic of winter - Day 5

by GoWithGuide travel specialist

1.- Shimebari Village

Today was an amazing day! We started in Shimebari Village, in Hamamochi. Once Shimebari Village used to be a inhabited town but since many years ago because of it inconvenience location, people started to move to places closer to the city.

Here we met Junichi Yanagidaira san. He is a 72 years old man that as many people in the area, moved from Shimebari for working. He was raised in this place and when he saw how bleak started to become, he felt very sad about it and with his savings he built a house where today many travelers chose to stay to have a nature-connected experience.

Jun san is a very active and one of a kind man. He knows everything you need about nature. His house is full of instruments, some of them made by himself. As soon as we arrived, he welcomed us with some coffee and cookies while he explained us about the history of this place. He played for us violin, an old piano, shamisen, and some string instruments that he made. In the meantime, he was cooking some fishes for later.

After the talk, he gave as a tour around his house, showing us some spots he created to sit and appreciate the view, some hammock he also built with tree´s branches and taught us how to “see” the nature around us.

We also made snow trecking with some special shoes made also with branches that allow us to walk in the surface without falling in the snow.. This was awesome!!!!

We finished our tour and went back to the house where the fishes were already cooked and have some brunch time with sake that he warmed up in a bamboo. Everything was delicious!!!!!!!!!

Our visit ended again with some music made by instruments connected with the nature!!!! The created a contrabass and a drum with strings and pieces of wood, but the interesting part was that to made the acoustic, he made some holes in the ground!!!!!!!

Jun san is definitely a man you have to meet in your visit at Sado!!!



After spending this great time at Jun san´s house, he took as to Ebina Yukie san´s house.

Yukie san is an 80 years old women who created the Shimebariuma. Shimebariuma is a horse made from straw. In Sado Island´s history, this horse is very important. It came from the Homma clan era. Homma clan used to have a lot of horses, but there was this one horse which was very fast so the community people was very proud of this horse. Because of the gold and silver Sado´s had, samurais from the main land wanted to attack Sado, but also, becasue they heard about this special horse the island had. The name of the horse was Nunohiki.

It took 10 years to Ebina Yukie san to finally make the perfect horse which symbolizes Nunohiki. The particularity in it is the straight tail that is has which represents how fast the horse used to run.

Again, another great experience that comes from taking and sharing moments with local people. That is the best way to know about a place and it´s culture.



2.- Akadomari fish market

After lunch we went to Akadomari fish market. This fish was very different from the big market we went the second day. It is a small market and specially their fishing consists in crabs and shrimps. One of the uniques of this place is that you can go and have a free sample!!!!!!!!! But have to eat it alive... Each crab has a cost of 500 yen and you can get one for free!!!!!!


3.- Hokusetsu Sake Brewery

Our day ended at Hokusetsu Sake brewery. A great visit into the facilities to see how it works and to taste different kind of sake. What surprised me most of this place is the storage? They have a special place where the storage the sake. But what is so special about it? They said that in old times, sake used to be better. The taste was different and also its quality. They realized that in those days, the way of transportation was through boats, days, even months having the sake in boats to take it to different places. With this idea on mind, they create a innovative way of storage. As soon as you enter the room, not only the temperature changes (it is colder) but you can also listen some music. The music is the sound of the sea that was created also with Kitaro (a very famous musician in Japan) to simulate the environment from old times. Isn´t it great????


This day was another memorable day at Sado Island!!!!! Sado is full of surprises!!

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