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art & culture • 9 days, 8 nights

Artisans & Exiles: Exploring the Hidden Traditions of Japan’s Sado Island

art & culture • 9 days, 8 nights

Artisans & Exiles: Exploring the Hidden Traditions of Japan’s Sado Island

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  • Group Size 12 People Maximum
  • Activity Level
  • Travel Style
    Communities Up Close
from $5,650 USD per person
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Traveling with Atlas Obscura during COVID-19

We’ve got your back. When you join one of our trips, we want you to have peace of mind. In response to COVID-19, we’ve:

  • Implemented expansive new safety protocols
  • Reduced trip deposits to just $100
  • Made it easier than ever to reschedule your trip

To learn more:

Traveling with Atlas Obscura amid COVID-19 How We’re Adapting Our Trips Destination Requirements (via Embassy Pages)
Trip Overview

Japan is well known for its thriving, modern cities and an incredible array of cultural and culinary experiences. On this tour, we set out to experience another side of Japan, one that includes beautiful coastal scenery, a slow pace of life, and fascinating history. On our journey, we will encounter waterfalls, mist-shrouded mountains, expert craftsmen, geishas, and explore a fascinating island that through its history has sheltered political exiles, birthed a gold rush, and preserved thriving cultural traditions.

  • Visit the clever metalworking artisans of Tsubame-Sanjo
  • Stay in a traditional Japanese onsen
  • Discover remnants of Sado Island’s exile and gold rush past
  • Experience the vibrant living culture that now flourishes on the island
  • Explore Japan’s magnificent natural scenery


Itineraries and daily schedules are subject to change. We expect to do everything listed in the itinerary, though the order may be rearranged based on weather or other local conditions.

Additional Info


The listed price of the trip is per person based on double occupancy.

Traveling Solo?

You’re in good company. Solo travelers typically make up about half of our small groups. With curiosity at the center of our experiences, there’s a natural camaraderie that develops over the course of a trip. We have two options for you: 

Shared Room (subject to the latest Covid-19 guidelines): You’ll be matched with another solo traveler of the same gender.

Private Room: Have your own room, subject to availability, for a supplemental cost of $1430. After booking your trip, please request a private room when you fill out your traveler information form and we’ll add the option to your booking and final balance.


We’ll be staying mostly in 4-star modern hotels. One night will be in a Japanese-style room in a traditional ryokan with on-site onsen, where bedding is a comfortable futon mattress on the floor.

Arrival & Departure

You should plan to arrive in Tokyo by 5 p.m. on Day 1. Our tour begins with a welcome dinner and overnight in Tokyo on Day 1. Our tour concludes upon return to Tokyo train station around 5 p.m. on Day 9. If you plan to connect to a departure flight on Day 9, make sure the flight does not depart before about 9 p.m. 

Activity Level

Travelers should feel comfortable walking two to three miles each day, mainly on flat and even surfaces, as well as occasional stairs.

  • Accommodation throughout the trip at comfortable hotels and a traditional Japanese ryokan.
  • All meals described in the itinerary.
  • Transportation throughout the trip by private vehicle, ferry, local bus, and Shinkansen (bullet train).
  • Experienced local guides to accompany you for the duration of the trip, as well as special guests throughout.
  • Admission to all proposed activities, locations, and events.
  • A great group of fellow Atlas Obscura travelers, excited to explore all that Sado Island has to offer!
  • Global Rescue medical evacuation insurance.
  • Special access to unique places and extraordinary experiences.
  • Transportation to and from Tokyo.
  • Pre- and post-trip accommodations.
  • Airport transfers (recommendations for travel between the airport and our accommodations will be provided).
  • Travel insurance (recommended).
  • Additional meals and drinks outside of Atlas Obscura offerings, including most alcoholic beverages.
  • Applying for a Japanese visa, if applicable.
  • Optional gratuities for your trip leader (tipping is not customary for most services in Japan).
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Trip FAQ

Your participation in this trip will provide significant financial contributions to the communities we visit, directly supporting small businesses, schools, villages, and local families. In addition, this trip's focus on traditional customs will help to preserve and maintain them for future generations.

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