Sado Island Travel and Bento Lunch


Today I have the second in my 2017 series of travel photos and bento inspired by my trip to Japan. I am sharing photos from Sado Island and a Toki, (Japanese Crested Ibis) made from cheesy mashed potatoes.

The Toki was a natural choice for my inspired bento lunch since I was fortunate to actually see them in the wild and at a preserve on Sado Island. Scroll down to see a photo of one. My day trip to Sado island was an adventure that I will tell you about later in this post but I also had a bit of a mishap in making this bento. I carefully planned out this lunch before shopping and bought radish to use for the tuft of wings on it’s head. An alternate title for this bento could be, “My dad ate my radishes”.  I am still laughing about this. Especially since I had them in a special spot in the refrigerator to use for making bento. Anyway, we went to the store to get radish and then I finished making my potato bird.

Container: EasyLunchBoxes

Left Side: Toki – Cheddar mashed potatoes cooled then shaped by hand, Eye and legs – carrot, Beak – Cheddar mashed potatoes with soy sauce painted on with a pastry brush, Tuft of wings on head – radish, edamame

Top Right: Peanuts

Bottom Right: Mandarin oranges

Toki Japanese Crested Ibis bird.jpg


I was able to see Toki in the wild. It was better viewing in person than it seems like from this photo.


Character representation of a Toki.

Sado Island near Toki park


Toki – milk cartons

Do not take toki home bag.jpg

Sado Island Rice Fields and Mountains

Rice fields and mountains on Sado Island.

Sado Island Tour Guide

My friend Akiko reserved a bus tour so I could go alone to the Toki preserve, gold mine, and see the scenic coast of Sado Island. I walked from Akiko’s home (10 minutes) to the nearby train station. I took the train to Niigata station (about 25 minutes). Then I took a bus to the port (20 minutes). At the port I took the Jetfoil (over an hour) in the Sea of Japan to Sado Island. At Sado’s port I found the tour bus with the help from a kind man at the information desk. The other people that reserved the tour canceled but they still honored my ticket! I had a whole bus, a tour guide, and bus driver to myself.

Sado Gold Mine

Sea of Japan Sado Island

Sea of Japan Sado Shore.jpg

The shore of Sado Island was very beautiful. My photos do not do it justice. I am often happy traveling alone but at that moment I wished that I had someone with me (besides my private tour guide) to share the gorgeous scene.

Sea of Japan Sado from Bridge

Sado Island Japan Mountains

Jetfoil to Sado Island.jpg

This photo was taken on my Jetfoil to Sado Island. I decided to pay the higher fare for the experience but planned on taking the cheaper ferry back. Because of rough seas which sometimes happens in the winter, the small ferry I planned to take back to the mainland was cancelled. I would have needed to wait 4 hours until the next large car ferry. But since I was the only person on my tour, my tour bus was ahead of schedule. We were due to arrive at the port 5 minutes after a car ferry was supposed to leave. My tour guide called the ferry company and pleaded with them to wait for me. She said I was a foreigner and I would have to wait 4 hours. The bus driver did his best to get us there as soon as possible. When we got to the port, the driver dropped me off at the door closest to the ferry. The tour guide ran with me until we met a ferry worker who ran with me until the ramp. (my legs were sore the next day from all the running). Another ferry worker boarded with me and closed the doors. I had to buy my ticket on board. I was very surprised when they showed me where I would ride. He said I was in second class. See the photo below. I was a little shocked that there were no seats. I had to sit on the floor with strangers for the 2 hour and 30 minutes trip.

Here is the link (scroll down to see photos inside the ships) if you want to see the seating options available on car ferries. I was not given a choice so I don’t know if anything else was available. But it was exciting to have a new experience and it gave me a good travel story.

2nd class on Ferry to Niigata

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2 Responses to Sado Island Travel and Bento Lunch

  1. Mary Lee says:

    Wow! That was quite an adventure to take by yourself! Amazing photos – such a beautiful and varied country. Thanks again for sharing your trip.

  2. eclecticlamb says:

    Thank you. Yes it was an adventure. I am very glad that I did it. My friend’s mother-in-law in Niigata was very impressed that I traveled to Sado Island alone.

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