Sado Island


Please join me to create ephemeral art with Shona Wilson and explore one of Japan’s
most interesting islands.  

The Spirit of Sado awaits you with art, culture and nature at island pace.

3rd – 15th September 2018

Shona Wilson



noh theatre – temples – shinto ceremonies – taiko drumming – amazing scenery, from rice paddies and ancient forest to mountains and sea – many varieties of local organic produce, fruit and fish so fresh it practically swims into your mouth – Sado traditional cuisine, local wine and restaurants  – traditional arts and crafts.


I am excited to explore and guide your ephemeral art making on this beautiful island. We will engage ‘slowly’ and playfully in the natural wonders of Sado. This art making experience will be enriched by the deep cultural and spiritual traditions of the island.

Ephemeral Art making links elegantly with the spiritual practice and philosophy of Shintoism and the aesthetics of Zen and Wabi Sabi. Shinto gods are called kami. They are sacred spirits and take the form of things and concepts important to life, such as wind, rain, mountains, trees, rivers and fertility. In this sense we will be engaging with the Spirit of Sado. 

 Shona Wilson


SHONA WILSON is an established contemporary Australian sculptor and creator of the One A Day Ephemeral Art Project which has inspired people worldwide.

Shona Wilson by Scott Calvin. Courtesy of Fairfax Media


Shona Wilson
Please visit Shona’s website:  



  • Approx 2-3 hours from Tokyo, Sado lies off the coast of Niigata Prefecture in the Chūbu region and is one of Japan’s largest islands. Population is approx. 59,000. With two parallel mountain ranges, enclosing a central plain, it is home to the endangered Japanese Ibis (toki) as well as the world renowned Kodo taiko drumming group and some of the most famous Japanese bamboo weaving artists. Agriculture includes Okesa persimmons, Le Lectier pears, apples, rice and Sado beef cattle which are said to be a rare breed from ancient times.
  • Originally an art form samurai warriors were expected to learn, Noh theatre spread as a performing art dedicated to deities on Sado. Villagers enjoyed watching as well as performing and Noh stages still exist within the grounds of shrines.  Performances have passed down the generations and Noh workshops are still offered on Sado. Zeami, one of the central figures in the early development of Noh theatre was exiled on Sado in 1434. The island has been associated with Noh ever since.
  • Sado is literally a treasure-trove of seafood including crab, shrimp, yellowtail, tuna, oysters, abalones, turban shellfish and seaweed.
  • More than twenty varieties of bamboo grow naturally on Sado.  Elaborate and dynamic creations by bamboo  artists have earned a high reputation both inside and outside Japan.
  • Saokiori is a woven fabric using bark of wisteria and Japanese lime as warp and strips of old clothes or other textile as weft.


  • Mumyoi is unique to Sado and the red clay is collected from the gold mines of Sado Is.  Sekisui V, designated a Living National Treasure, is from a Japanese ceramics dynasty who have forged mumyōi for 14 generations. 
  • Sado Island is a designated GIAHS site (Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Site). 
  • Tarai-bune is a type of old fishing boat (tub),  and a unique feature on the Island. Experience one of these by floating along the translucent, turquoise water of Ogi creek. 



  • Private transfer from Haneda airport, Tokyo to Sado Island (if travelling with the group)
  • 11 nights accommodation with breakfast at Ryokan Urashima, Sado Island
  • Private group day tour around Sado Island with Japanese guide (english speaking) and vehicle 
  • First night arrival dinner at our Ryokan (4th Sept) and celebratory farewell dinner (14th Sept)
  • Approx. 5* ephemeral workshops with Shona in differing locations on the island. *Some full/some half days.  
  • 5 bento box lunches 
  • Haiku Masterclass with Kit Pancoast Nagamura : For more than 20 years, Kit has lived in Japan, continuing her passion for the art of writing and teaching haiku. She appears on the NHK World’s long running series ‘Haiku Masters’
  • Oni-daiko Matsuri (an annual Shinto ritual when locals engage with spectacular drum and dance performers to express appreciation for a bountiful harvest) 
  • Tarai Bune ride – a traditional Japanese fishing boat used for catching abalone and other mollusks
  • Noh Performance – a form of ancient Japanese theatre including music, dance and drama  
  • Celebratory farewell dinner
  • Private transfer from Ryokan Urashima to Haneda airport (if travelling with the group)



  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Meals other than those listed.  There are a variety of restaurants close to our accommodation. 
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Optional extra experiences.  There are many optional activities to delight the senses.  Details upon registration.



Takayuki has been an english speaking licensed tour guide on Sado Island for over 10 years.  With his knowledge, experience and contacts you are assured of seeing the best of the island. Whilst residing in USA for eight years his work included Japanese language instruction at the Universities of Ohio and Kentucky. 

Lauren Scharf has lived in Japan on and off since 1993.  She is an independent travel consultant and introduces western travellers to the arts and culture of Japan.



I am a graduate of the National Art School, Sydney and conduct courses at WEA in drawing and relief printmaking.
Throughout the year I lead national and international art tours. (check tour testimonials)


A reasonable level of fitness is essential and that you can walk independently at a moderate pace.

TRAVEL INSURANCE is highly recommended


We recommend Jenny Tucker, Travel Partners for all  flights as well as pre/post tour travel. 
Phone: 0437 388 887

Ephemeral Art Group: max no. 10 


This itinerary is a sample of what to expect because ephemeral workshops are weather dependent and sight specific.  

Mon 3rd Sept
Depart Sydney with the group (or America for those joining us from USA)

Tue 4th Sept  
Arrive  Tokyo.  Full day private group transfer to Sado Island.  Arrive Ryokan Urashima approx 4.00pm and dinner with the group at our accommodation.

Wed 5th Sept  
Accomm. Ryokan Urashima/breakfast.  Full day private Sado Is. tour (9.00am-5.00pm) with our Japanese (english speaking) guide Takayuki.  Bento box lunch.  Dinner at own expense.

Thu 6th Sept
Accomm. Ryokan Urashima/breakfast.  10.00am Ephemeral workshop with Shona including bento box lunch.  Destination:  by the sea.  Dinner at own expense.

Fri 7th Sept    
Accomm. Ryokan Urashima/breakfast.   Free time for optional extras eg ceramic and/or weaving at Aikawa (20 min bus + 15 min walk) approx $AUS20.00pp.  There is a folk museum in this area.  6.00-7.30pm Noh theatre performance.  Lunch and dinner at own expense.

Sat 8th Sept  
Accomm. Ryokan Urashima/breakfast.  9.00am-1.00pm Haiku workshop with Kit Nagamura in the gardens of Urashima with bento box lunch. 2.00-5.00pm a visual haiku ephemeral workshop with Shona.  Dinner at own expense.

Sun 9th Sept  
Accomm. Ryokan Urashima/breakfast.  Oni-Daiko Matsuri – annual Shinto festival (full day).  We’ll travel by local bus with our Japanese guide on hand to interpret the festival, if required.  Lunch and dinner at own expense.

Mon 10 Sept  
Accomm. Ryokan Urashima/breakfast.   Full day ephemeral workshop including bento box lunch.  Location will be confirmed closer to the date and first choice is Onogame rock in the north of the island.  Dinner choice at own expense.

Tue 11 Sept  
Accomm. Ryokan Urashima/breakfast.  Free time for optional extras.  7 of our travellers have already reserved a 3 hour Taiko Drumming experience.  Lunch and dinner at own expense.

Wed 12 Sept
Accomm. Ryokan Urashima/breakfast.  10am-12noon Soba Uschi Experience at Fureai House and lunch.  Afternoon ephemeral workshop or hike in the Kuninaka area.  Dinner at own expense.

Thu 13 Sept  
Accomm. Ryokan Urashima/breakfast.  Tarai-bune ride in Ogi area and half day ephemeral workshop including bento box lunch.  Dinner at own expense.

Fri 14 Sept    
Accomm. Ryokan Urashima/breakfast.  Half day ephemeral workshop.  Free afternoon.  Group farewell dinner.

Sat 15 Sept    
Urashima/breakfast and depart Sado Is.  Private transfer to Haneda airport (full day).  En route an optional Saki tour in Niigata and in Tokyo a one hour gallery visit to see the History of Costume Jewellery from 1780  (optional).




$7,495.00 (1 place remaining) 

  • No surcharge for single supplement accommodation 
  • A $500.00 discount is applicable to anyone joining the tour but not participating in Shona’s workshops
  • Cancellation with full refund is possible when a replacement booking is forthcoming
  • Please use the booking form to reserve your place (max 10)


Shona Wilson



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Please fill out the booking form and I will be in contact for payment.

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