The Ultimate Guide
NiigataHow to get there
Dive in the ocean of the giants, rich with a history of silver and gold
Niigata is a popular destination for many Japanese tourists. Its Sado Island, in particular, is famous among divers due to its appearance in the international documentary movie Oceans, which showed scenes of a giant male Wrasse fighting for its harem. This island is also famous for its history of silver and gold mining.
Getting from Tokyo to Niigata takes only a short ride of about two hours on the Joetsu Shinkansen. One or two trains run on this line every hour throughout the day. You can also take a flight to Niigata Airport, which is about one hour from airports in Tokyo and Osaka. The easiest way to get to Sado Island, your diving destination, is to take a bus to Pier Bandai and take the ferry to Ryotsu Port.
A Day of Diving in Sado Island
To dive at Sado Island, you will need to choose from several diving shops on the island to escort you. Make sure to book in advance before heading to Sado.
Go to Niigata Station1
There are direct flights to Niigata Airport, but the easiest way to get to Niigata Station is by bullet train if you're in Tokyo.
Available train schedule may be subject to change.
Please check online for the latest information.
Ferry ride out to Sado Islands.2
Before heading to Sado Island, you might want to stay in the downtown area of Niigata City to enjoy the local tourist attractions. To catch the ferry to the island, take a taxi or bus to Pier Bandai. From there, board the Sado Kisen ferry for a 2.5-hour ride on a car ferry or a one-hour ride on a Jetfoil to the island.
Please check online for the latest ferry schedules.
Get Ready to Dive3
Depending on the time of your arrival on the island, you may have time to squeeze in a dive or two, so let your dive shop know if you're interested. It is best to contact your diving service before you book your accommodation on the island, as they may offer pick-up service depending on where you stay.
Once you arrive at the shop, you will be asked to fill out several forms. If you need to rent your gear, make sure you let them know when making your booking.
Nearly all dive sites are reachable within 30 minutes by boat. The boat will not usually return to port after each dive. However, surface times are not long, so you will not feel bored between dives. Usually, a boat dive is a two-tank dive, so you will have enough time to go sightseeing after diving every day.
What to Do After Diving5
After you get back to your accommodations, it's time to go sightseeing! One unusual activity you can try between dives is a visit to the historic silver and gold mines on the island.
After spending a couple of nights on the island, you can head back to Niigata City to explore its rich history and sample its magnificent local foods.