Sado Island is located about 70 kilometres off the western coast of Japan. Sado is part of Niigata Prefecture and in 2004 merged all of the towns and municipalities on the island into a single municipality, Sado City.
You can get to (and away from) Sado two ways: by boat or by plane. The most common way to get to Sado is the car ferry, operated by Sado Kisen(site in Japanese). A round trip ticket, at the time of writing this, costs 4070 Yen. For those purchasing tickets from within Sado, the cost for a round-trip ticket is roughly half that of the ordinary price and there is a seven day window for the use of the return ticket. Travel time is about 2 hours and 30 minutes. You can get a car ferry at two ports on the mainland, Niigata and Naoetsu. Those ports connect with Ryotsu and Ogi, respectively. On the Ryotsu/Niigata line you also have the choice of taking the Jetfoil, which costs more (6220 Yen, one way) but takes less time (about 1 hour). There is also another port in Teradomari, on the mainland, which connects with Akadomari on Sado. This line is a bit more expensive than the car ferry, but is also quicker. However, there are fewer departures than Ryotsu and Ogi.
There is a small airport in Ryotsu that has flights connecting to Niigata Airport (no longer in operation as of Spring 2014). Costs for one way ticket are 7350 Yen. The flight time is about 25 minutes. Using the plane is not something most ALTs do (nor do many of the locals) because getting to and from both the Sado Airport and the Niigata Airport is rather inconvenient.
There are no trains on Sado. Without a car, your best bet for travel is using the bus system, which goes everywhere you might need to go. However, the buses can be a bit pricey and, in the winter, unreliable.
All current ALTs, and the vast majority of past ALTs, get around the island by car. This might sound a bit daunting at first, but there is a car dealership on the island that can give ALTs reasonable deals (monthly payment plans) on cars. Also your various city BOEs might be helpful in finding you a car.
9 JET positions and 11 ALTs in total: 9 municipal ALTs (8 JET) and 2 High School ALTs. Municipal ALTs are located in the following areas: Sawata, Hatano, Akadomari, Hamochi, Kanai, Niibo, Aikawa, and two in Ryotsu. The High School JET ALTs are based in Ryotsu and Sawata.
There are 11 ALTs and at least 5 other westerners on the island, one being the rather infamous Jenkins.
There are also around 200 Brazilians on island and people from various other Asian countries.
Sado abounds with sightseeing opportunities! Whether you are into shrines and temples, hiking, or coastal drives, Sado has something to keep you occupied on the weekends.
For a (close to) comprehensive list of places to go and things to do, please check out the Sado Island Guide
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