Sado Island Earth Celebration

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  • 2019 Dates: Aug. 16 to 18
  • The main Kodo performance is nightly at 7 p.m. on the Ogi Port Park Event Stage.
  • Tickets for the final Kodo performance on Aug. 18, 2019 are sold out!

Sado

Island, an emerald isle off the coast of

Niigata Prefecture

, is usually a quiet and peaceful place. But every year in mid-August the island, surrounded by the bluest sea, transforms into a post-hippie drum party during the three-day Earth Celebration (EC).

Centered around the world-renowned taikodrumming ensemble Kodo, the fest is revered by locals and international tourists as a chance to come together in the heart of summer to discover the culture, sights, and music of this picture-perfect island.

Photo by:KodoThe Kodo taiko performance is life-changing.

Each night of the festival has an outdoor performance called “Harbour Market Live” on the main stage at Ogi Port Park. Musicians from around the world take part in this live concert, so be prepared to hear perfectly harmonized melodies from a Thai xylophone to the Chinese erhu resonating on Japan’s largest island (besides the main islands).

Dance with Kodo

The main event that everyone is hyped about is Kodo’s final performance on the last day of the festival. Kodo is the world’s No. 1 taiko ensemble and puts on a lively show encompassing drummers in traditional garb showing off feats of strength and synchronized beats.

Photo by: Earth Celebration Committee

The Kodo members are drenched in sweat by the time they jump off the stage and parade through the audience. It’s hard to resist the temptation to stand up and dance along while watching them move joyfully among colorful streamers and confetti.

At the harbor market, you will find dozens of stalls selling ethnic and Japanese food, drinks, handmade crafts and festival clothing. Besides soul-rejuvenating live performances, the Earth Celebration is also the perfect occasion to do some shopping.

Sightseeing on Sado Island

In the daytime, discover the island’s natural beauty like Kotoura Cave.

As the main events of Earth Celebration happen at night, visitors are free to use the day to explore the island. The most popular activities are concerts and taiko experience workshops at the EC Theater, but visitors should feel free to get outdoorsy and try one of these unique activities:

  • Go for a taraibune(washtub boat) ride at Ogi Port
  • Go sea kayaking at Kotoura Beach
  • Jet ski in Mano Bay
  • Admire Sado’s coastline at Senkakuwan Bay
  • Go cycling around Sado’s famous Ibis Forest Park

If you aren’t feeling up for an outdoor adventure, there are plenty of other options including Sado’s renowned sake breweries, traditional puppet shows, kabuki, and other dance performances.

Earth Celebration is a unique chance for visitors to mingle with tourists from around the world with music being the common language. The synergistic vibe flowing through the venue adds extra warmth to the heart under the summer heat.

Photo by:Robert IzumiTake a washtub boat ride over the island’s pristine waters!

Tickets

Tickets are sold online about 2-3 months in advance. You can reserve your tickets on this websitefrom June 15 to Aug. 15, or you can call the Kodo Ticket Service for a reservation at 0259-86-2330 (Japanese may be required). Each performance requires its own ticket.

We recommend buying the three-day pass which costs ¥13,500 for adults to see it all or the one-day ticket which costs ¥5,000 for adults ( ¥1,500 for children).

For schedule and details, head to their official website.