October 24, 2023

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, in close collaboration with Niigata Prefecture and Sado City, organized a study visit from October 12 to 13 of the current year for the Diplomatic Corps (Ambassadors) accredited in Japan. The objective of this visit was to showcase the economic and tourist potential of the region and facilitate the attraction of investment, as well as seek partnerships in various fields.

The study visit to the Niigata region and the city of Sado was attended by the Ambassadors of Angola, Croatia, Costa Rica, France, Namibia, Iceland, Peru, Maldives, Zambia, as well as representatives from the Embassies of India, Bulgaria, and Italy.

The study visit was organized around the five senses of the region’s hospitality: those of nature, history, culture (local customs and traditions), food, and drink. Participants had the opportunity to visit significant places and experience the charm not only of Niigata and Sado Island but also the region’s proud culinary culture and fireworks. This helped provide a valuable opportunity for the participants to deepen their understanding of the appeal of regional attractions, such as tourism, local products, and industries.

For the study, local authorities organized a visit to Sado Island, located 40 kilometers from Niigata. This island is also known for its significance during the Edo period (17th to 19th centuries) due to its gold and silver mines, which accounted for approximately 10% of the world’s production at that time. The gold extracted from these mines was considered to be 99.54% pure. The excavations were carried out using traditional methods, without the use of mechanical instruments, and these historical mining practices are preserved to this day. Sado Island is considered one of the historical preservation sites of great significance.

They also visited the well-known port of Ryotsu, which received ships from Kitamasen that brought various technological innovations, cultural influences, and artistic performances to the island. In addition to these cultural exchanges, merchant ships played a significant role in the distribution of products from Hokkaido, which were then distributed in Niigata and Osaka during the mid-Edo period and into the Meiji era.

The reason for organizing this trip is the need to gain a better understanding of the opportunities by studying the cultural and traditional history of Japan in order to have a deeper insight into its contemporary aspects. The program included not only political and economic aspects but also social elements.

Among the various attractions, the trip allowed for meetings with the Governor of Niigata and the Mayor of Sado. It also included visits to other historically significant places such as the Nishimikawa Gold Park, the Gakkogura sake distillery, the Kirarium gold and silver mines, the Sodayu Tunnel, a visit to the Magistrate’s Office of Sado, the Daizen Shrine Noh Stairs, Tori-no-mori Park, and many others.

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