Once a place of exile for political dissidents, the remote island of Sado experienced an economic boom during the Edo era when gold was found. A major source of revenue for the Tokugawa shogunate, the harsh mines were one of the East’s most productive.

Today, Sado is a rural summer getaway of rocky coasts, green hills and quaint fishing ports far away from the frenzy of the mainland.

The island is shaped like an S, formed of two mountain ranges to the north and south with a plain between. There is a permanent population of just over 60,000, most live in the Ryotsu (the largest town), the former gold mining town of Aikawa, or Ogi on the southern coast. To the far northeast, things quickly become wild.

Sado’s biggest attraction is the Earth Celebration, an annual music and arts festival hosted by Sado’s taiko (Japanese drumming) group Kod?. The island is also home to the endangered Japanese Ibis, formerly extinct in the wild but reintroduced to the island thanks to a successful breeding program.