Sitting on a huge horseshoe bay with the mountains of Sado rising behind, RYŌTSU (両津) is an appealing little place and makes a good base for a night. The town revolves around its modern ferry pier (両津埠頭) and bus terminal, at the south end, while there’s still a flavour of the original fishing community in the older backstreets to the north, among the rickety wooden houses with their coiled nets and fishy odours. Much of the town occupies a thin strip of land between the sea and a large saltwater lake, Kamo-ko, which is now used for oyster farming.
The Sado Nō-gaku-no-sato museum (佐渡能楽の里), on the south shore of Kamo-ko lake, celebrates Sado’s long association with nō. There’s nothing in English, but the masks and costumes are enjoyable, as is the short performance by remarkably life-like robots, who are admirably suited to nō’s studied movements.