Set on the largest outlying island in the Sea of Japan, the Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival, commissioned by JAPAN CULTURAL EXPO 2.0, is a platform where we can come together to envision and create a better future. 

Sado Island long played a significant role in both the Japanese and international economies as a center of gold production. It has a rich history as a place of exile for notable historical figures: it’s where Emperor Juntoku (1197-1242) was exiled after the Jokyu War (1221), and where the famous playwright Zeami (c. 1363 - c. 1443) was banished after falling out of favor with the shogun Ashikaga Yoshinori (1394-1441). Between the Edo period (1603-1867) and the Meiji period (1868-1912), kitamaebune merchant ships regularly transported goods to and from Sado along the shipping route connecting the west-central Kinki region, the northwestern Hokuriku region, and the northern island of Hokkaido. In these ways, Sado has been a port of call for people and goods throughout history. It is also the birthplace of unique performing arts and culture, such as Noh theatre and the masked dance of Ondeko. That unique socio-cultural heritage is still alive today.

Participating artists from Japan and abroad will act as a bridge to rediscover Sado Island's rich nature and unique history, its folkloric tales and traditions, and its people. Their diverse artworks will be exhibited in Ryotsu and other locations throughout Sado Island, alongside live art performances, tours, and experiential programs.

Art will act as a jumping off point as visitors discover the beauty and charm of Sado through encountering the nature, food, architecture, and other abundant culture of each area of the island.

In addition to checking out the exhibits and installations, visitors are also encouraged to explore Sado with the help of an audio guide and map. As they do, they’ll be inspired to cast their gaze inward, where they’ll awaken to their inner being and rediscover how we humans are a part of nature and the universe.

Right now, our future is shrouded in uncertainty, whether it is the global situation or the unpredictability of natural disasters. Nevertheless, we hope that our art festival is an opportunity to reflect on our inner selves, and that as the past and future come into dialogue, all things begin to connect and flow once again.


  • Dates:

    Sunday, August 11 – Sunday, November 10, 2024 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays unless a holiday)

  • Venue:

    Ryotsu area and multiple other locations throughout Sado Island

  • Organizers:

    Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival Executive Committee / Sado International Art Promotion Organization / Japan Arts Council / Agency for Cultural Affairs

  • Endorsed by:

    Sado City / Sado City Board of Education / Sado Kisen / NHK Niigata Branch / Sado Television / Broadcasting System of Niigata / Niigata Sogo Television / Television Niigata Network / The Niigata Television Network 21 / The Niigata Nippo / The Asahi Shimbun Niigata Bureau / The Yomiuri Shimbun Niigata Bureau / FM Niigata

  • Supported by:

    Toshiaki Ogasawara Memorial Foundation Domestic Conference Grant (for organizers) for second half of FY 2023


  • Prices:

    ・General Admission (Advance purchase ¥2,500 / Same-day purchase ¥3,000)
    ・High school students (Advance purchase ¥1,300 / Same-day purchase ¥1,500)
    ・Elementary and junior high school students (Advance purchase ¥800 / Same-day purchase ¥1,000)
    ・Under elementary school age FREE
    * Advance purchase only available through August 10

  • Ticket Sales:

    【Online】Available via asoview! and ArtSticker starting Saturday, June 8, 2024 Available via Lawson Ticket starting Monday, June 24, 2024

  • Place of exchange:

    Available at TAACHI (53-1 Ryotsu-i, Sado City) and at tourist information centers from 8/11 (Sun.)

  • Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival Official Voice Guide App (Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival x ON THE TRIP):
    Install our official audio guide app at Niigata Port to experience a preview of Sado Island and the art festival while you ride the ferry. The app provides location-based audio guidance and commentary on artworks as well as an audio tour of the island. Through multilingual audio, pictures, text, and video, it allows for a more immersive viewing experience of the artworks.

  • Prices:


  • Obtaining Methods:

    Scan the QR code on the poster or flyer with your smartphone and download it.

  • Get the venue:

    Niigata Port, Ryotsu Port, Naoetsu Port, Ogi Port, each exhibition site, Sado Island Tourism Exchange Organization, various places on the island
    * Different from the passport.

  • Buy tickets

Artists invited from Japan and abroad will interpret and elevate Sado Island's traditional performing arts, historical buildings, and other cultural resources into unique artworks and performances that will be brought to life in various locations throughout Sado Island. During the production and the exhibition period, artists will also host workshops and live performances.

“Kotatsu Shishimai” Sugihara Nobuyuki × Nakamura Ayaka

“Nozokanaide” Honda Rumi

Shiori Watanabe

“Zeami Equinox Boat” Terada Kao


“Enso_Lifecycle” Ethan Estess

Nakamura Atsuko (Japan) / John Williams (UK) / Watanabe Shiori (Japan) / Sugihara Nobuyuki (Japan) × Nakamura Ayaka (Japan) / Honda Rumi (Japan) / Niwaren (Japan) / Maeda Yusaku (Japan) / Kita Ikki × Ukawa Naohiro (Japan) / Kera Hirofumi × Takagi Yuriko (Japan) / Yoshida Morito (Japan) / Wu Chien-Hsing (Taiwan) / Ana Amelia Genioli (Brazil) / and more

Past Projects:
Terry Riley(US) / Usami Masahiro(Japan) / Ethan Estess(US) / Deki Yayoi(Japan) / Terada Kao(Japan)

Ryotsu Catholic Church

Iwayasan Cave and Magaibutsu

Kitaushima Coast

Noh Stage at Daizen Shrine

Futatsugame as seen from the Negai Coast

Art Festival Guided Tours

Enjoy guided tours that combine visits to exhibits and historical buildings with workshops on traditional performing arts and folk songs, as well as tours of the Geopark. We also have exclusive festival offerings that incorporate special art events and meals highlighting local ingredients.

  • Dates:

    To be arranged between August and November 2024

  • Tour Cost

    20,000 yen and up (general admission) (Includes taxi fare, lunch, guide fee, artwork viewing fee, and consumption tax)

  • Starting
    /Ending Point:

    Sado Kisen Ryotsu Port Bus Terminal

Experience Sado Folk Songs and Traditional Performing Arts

Sado Okesa Kumi-odori

Puppet Show on Sado Island「Noroma puppet theater」

Experience the Noh Culture of Sado Island

Ondeko, a traditional performing art of Sado Islan

Sado Folk Song Experience

The Nanaura Folk Song Study Group, based in the seven villages of the Aikawa district, is dedicated to preserving and promoting Sado's folk songs, including the well-known "Nanaura Jinku." Participants will get to experience cross-cultural communication through dancing with group members. They will also have the chance to see what everyday life is like in the community by taking a walk through a local fishing village and more.

Traditional Performing Arts and Ryotsu Snack Experience

Sado's iconic puppet theater is designated as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Asset. Participants will enjoy a performance by the Noroma puppet theater troupe Shinsei-za and the Sado Okesa (narrative song and dance) of Toki Sanae at the historic Kanazawa-ya Ryokan building. The event includes a presentation on performance highlights and etiquette, as well as a workshop on the art of puppeteering and dance. Afterwards, participants will embark on a guided tour of the island's Showa-era snack bars, experiencing the unique snack culture of Sado.

Noh Theatre, Bunya Puppetry, and Straw Craft Experience

Participants will immerse themselves in the world of Noh theater by learning chants and dances at the Noh stage at Takei Kumano Shrine. Afterwards they will head over to Shinmachi Daijingu (Grand Shrine) to take in a performance by Kawanona Takao, the leader of puppet theater troupe Shinmei-za, and learn about the history of the puppets and how to operate them. Later, they will experience straw craft by braiding ropes and creating items such as sandals and pot mats. Finally, after visiting the paddy fields that produce Sado's delicious rice, they will learn about praying for a good harvest through the Ondeko drum ritual and experience drumming and dancing firsthand.

  • Implementation Date:

    Scheduled to be held multiple times during the Art Festival

  • Place of sale:

    Online On sale at Asoview and ArtSticker. Lawson Ticket (Lawson Ticket) will be available from 6/22 (Sat.). In-store sales】Sold at tourist information centers and TAACHI (53-1 Ryotsu-i, Sado City) from 8/11 to 11/10.。

Pre-Event and Post-Event Celebrations

These events mark the opening and closing of the Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival. Enjoy performances by participating artists, workshops featuring Ondeko drums, Sado folk songs, and sessions led by the Toki Sanae Association and more. Additionally, children from in and around Sado will be performing a contemporary dance inspired by Sado's traditional arts and culture. We will also host the Japanese premiere of the film "Tabi" (director: John Williams), set in the village of Kitaushima on Sado Island.

  • Dates:

    Sunday, August 11 and Sunday, November 10, 2024

  • Venue:

    Ai Port Sado (384-11 Ryotsuebisu, Sado, Niigata)

  • Admission:


Haino Keiji's performance at the FRACTAL CAMP in 2021

Haino Keiji x DOMMUNE “Black Noh Stage” (tentative)

Musician Haino Keiji will unveil site-specific art at a traditional shrine on Sado Island. The installation will take the form of a Noh stage featuring special sound equipment. Guests will also be able to enjoy local cuisine.

  • Date:

    Sunday, September 8, 2024

  • Venue:

    to be arranged at a shrine in the Ryotsu area

  • Admission:

    3,300 yen (tentative)

Sado Island x Taiwan International Exchange Event

Artists and traditional performers from Taiwan will join local dancers and traditional performers to collaborate and deepen our international cultural exchange.

  • Date:

    Sunday, September 29, 2024 (tentative)

  • Venue:

    to be arranged

  • Admission:

    free (tentative)


We will organize a symposium to discuss topics such as: how art can be used to solve regional issues, the creation of new art festivals on remote islands, and the role of culture and art. Speakers and the audience will engage in a conversational format and consider past initiatives, cultural figures in Sado's history, and folklore studies.

  • Date:

    Sunday, September 22, 2024

  • Venue:

    Chiekaizan Shokoji Temple (199 Ryotsuminato, Sado, Niigata)

  • Admission:


  • Speakers:

  • Kadota Takehisa (Associate Professor, Department of Culture and Tourism, Rikkyo University)
    Sawaragi Noi (Research Member, Institute for Anthropology of Art and Design, Tama Art University / Advisor, Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival)
    Ogawa Hiroyuki (Producer, Bunka Genba / Director of Cultural Programs, Niigata City Center for Creative Arts and International Youth Exchange / Advisor, Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival)
    Ikeda Tetsuo (Professor Emeritus, Niigata University / Director, The Art and National History Museum of Sado)
    Honma Taiki (Editor in Chief, IKKI)
    Yoshida Morito (Representative Director, Sado International Art Promotion Organization / General Producer, Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival / Artist)
    and more

How to get to Sado Island

Niigata Airport to Niigata Port → Ryotsu Port (Sado Island)

  • Approx. 3 hr by car ferry
  • Approx. 1 hr 30 min by jetfoil

Niigata Station to Niigata Port → Ryotsu Port (Sado Island)

  • Approx. 2 hr 50 min by car ferry
  • Approx. 1 hr 20 min by jetfoil

Niigata Station to Naoetsu Port → Ogi Port (Sado Island)

  • Approx. 5 hr by car ferry
  • Approx. 3 hr 40 min by jetfoil

Please see Sado Kisen website for details and timetables for car ferries and jetfoils

Go to Sado Kisen website

Visit Sado. Cross Over to Sado.

Access the Sado Tourism Association Website

Passports (Exhibition Passes) and tickets to the various events of the Sado Island Galaxy Art Festival can be purchased through the following services.