Sado Island has many old temples and shrines. This must be partly because many noble people came to this island. But these people came here not because they wanted to live in this northern island with cold and severe weather during winter. On the contrary, they were sent here as banishments. Sado Island used to be the place of exile.
Those convicted include the former Emperor Juntoku who lost the war, the Buddhist monk, Nichiren who started Nichiren Sect and the founder of Noh dance, Zeami. And there are temples and shrines commemorated them or dedicated to them. Those spots are described in the website True Sado.
Nevertheless, in this page, I would like to show you somewhat “off-the-beaten” temples and shrines.
By the way, the best way to visit these temples and shrines is to drive.
This temple opened in 808 has a stage named “Guze-den Hall” which is a simulant of Kiyomizu-dera Temple in Kyoto. Emperor Kanmu ordered to construct this temple to worship Kiyomizu-dera. That is why this stage looks like that in Kyoto. This temple is called Seisui-ji while the temple in Kyoto is called Kiyomizu-dera. But both names have the same Chinese characters 清水寺.
For your reference, here is a photo of Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto.
This stage is located at the end of the long passage surrounded by Japanese cedars. The temple is in the middle of the profound serenity. The big difference from Kiyomizu-dera in Kyoto is that there is few tourists here and you can submerge yourself deeply in the lost world.
Address: 124-1 Niiboono, Sado City, Niigata Prefecture
Uga Jinja Shrine
This shrine is on top of the small mountain of 106 meter. It is not so high but there are stone steps as many as 600.
When you climb to the top, you will have a great view of the seaside and the mountainous field.
Address: 1140 Moroo, Sado City, Niigata Prefecture
Ushio Jinja Shrine
The last shrine I would like to talk about is Ushio Jinja Shrine. Another quiet shrine in Sado. Established in 792, the shrine has a connection with Izumo Taisha Shrine, one of the oldest shrine in Japan which has a legend of establishing Japan.
There is a big Noh stage in this shrine and they hold Takigi Noh, the Noh performance by the bonfire every June.
The carving on the ceiling of the entrance of the main hall was very elaborate and impressive.
This shrine is known for the deity to bring easy birth. So I saw many wooden plaques where people wrote wishes for their easy birth.
Address: 2529 Niibo Katagami, Sado City, Niigata Prefecture