Tsushima, Japan

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Tsushima, Japan

Region: Nagasaki


Geographic Coordinates: 35.177100, 136.741000
Climate: Climate and weather patterns in Tsushima, Japan vary throughout the year.
Population: 60908
Language: Japanese

Tsushima, Located in the Tsushima Strait between Japan and South Korea, Is a captivating island that holds a significant place in Japanese history and culture. Known as the Gateway to Japan, Tsushima has been a crucial point of contact between Japan and the Asian continent for centuries. The island’s natural beauty is truly remarkable. With its diverse landscapes, Ranging from rolling hills to rugged coastlines, Tsushima offers breathtaking scenery at every turn. The lush greenery of its forests creates a serene atmosphere, While picturesque beaches invite visitors to relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings.

One of Tsushima’s most famous landmarks is Mount Shiratake, An ancient volcano that stands tall at 626 meters (2, 054 feet) above sea level. Hiking up this majestic mountain rewards adventurers with panoramic views of the entire island. Tsushima also boasts an abundance of wildlife. The island is home to several protected species such as Tsushima leopard cats and Japanese deer, Making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts and animal lovers alike. Birdwatchers will be thrilled by the presence of migratory birds during certain seasons. History buffs will find themselves captivated by Tsushima’s rich past.

The island served as an important trading post between Japan and Korea during ancient times due to its strategic location along major sea routes. Its historical significance can be witnessed through various archaeological sites scattered across the island – remnants of past civilizations that have left their mark on this land. One must-visit attraction on Tsushima is Taisho-era Village which offers visitors a glimpse into life during early 20th-century rural Japan. This open-air museum showcases traditional houses adorned with authentic furniture and household items from that era – providing insight into how people lived their daily lives back then.

Another highlight for history enthusiasts is Komoda Castle Ruins located in Izuhara City on Tsushima Island’s western coast. This castle was once home to powerful feudal lords who played a crucial role in shaping the island’s history. Although now only ruins, The castle offers a unique opportunity to step back in time and imagine its former grandeur. Tsushima is also renowned for its delicious seafood, Particularly its high-quality squid and bonito. Visitors can savor these delicacies at local restaurants or even participate in fishing experiences to catch their own fresh seafood.

Tsushima is an enchanting destination that seamlessly blends natural beauty with historical significance. Whether you are seeking stunning landscapes, Wildlife encounters, Cultural immersion or gastronomic delights – this island has it all. With its rich heritage and picturesque charm, Tsushima offers an unforgettable experience that will leave visitors with lasting memories of Japan’s captivating past and breathtaking present.



Important Landmarks

  1. Tsushima Wildlife Conservation Center: This center is dedicated to the preservation of the island’s natural environment and wildlife, particularly Tsushima’s famous wildcats called Tsushima leopard cats.
  2. Daemado: Daemado is a small uninhabited island near Tsushima known for its beautiful coastline, clear waters, and picturesque rock formations.
  3. Shimauchi Shrine: Located on a hill overlooking Tsushima city, this Shinto shrine offers panoramic views of the surrounding area and hosts various traditional festivals throughout the year.
  4. Sōfuku-ji Temple: Built in 1614 by Chinese immigrants from Ming Dynasty during Japan’s Edo period, this temple features unique architecture with Chinese influences.
  5. Kōrinbo Lighthouse: Situated on a cliff overlooking the sea, this lighthouse provides stunning views of both Tsushima Island and neighboring South Korea.
  6. Reimeikan Museum: This museum showcases the history and culture of Tsushima Island through various exhibits including artifacts related to its maritime history.
  7. Izuhara Port Town: Known for its historic buildings dating back to feudal times, Izuhara offers glimpses into traditional Japanese architecture while also providing access to scenic coastal areas.
  8. Tsutsukihama Beach: A popular spot for swimming and sunbathing during summer months with white sandy beaches surrounded by lush greenery.

Primary Industries

  1. Fishing: Tsushima has a strong fishing industry due to its location surrounded by the Sea of Japan and the Korea Strait. The island is known for its abundant seafood, including squid, mackerel, sea bream, and shellfish.
  2. Agriculture: Tsushima has fertile soil and favorable climate conditions for agriculture. The island produces various crops such as rice, vegetables (including tomatoes), fruits (such as strawberries), and tea.
  3. Tourism: Tsushima attracts tourists with its scenic beauty, historical sites, hot springs (onsen), and unique culture. Visitors come to explore attractions like Taikoiwa Rock, Tsutsukihama Beach, Izuhara Port area with old merchant houses (machiya), shrines like Daikoji Temple or Toyotama-hime Shrine.
  4. Manufacturing: While not as prominent as fishing or agriculture on the island’s economy scale; manufacturing plays a role in Tsushima’s economy through industries such as shipbuilding and repair facilities.
  5. Renewable Energy: In recent years there has been an increasing focus on renewable energy sources in Tsushima due to government initiatives promoting sustainable development projects like wind power generation.
  6. Retail and Services: Local businesses cater to both residents’ needs and visitors’ demands by providing retail services ranging from grocery stores to souvenir shops along with restaurants serving local cuisine.

It is important to note that while these are some of the major industries in Tsushima; being a relatively small island with limited resources compared to mainland cities like Nagasaki or Fukuoka; the economy might be more diverse but less developed than larger urban areas within Japan.


Noteable History

  1. Mongol Invasions: Tsushima played a crucial role during the Mongol invasions of Japan in the 13th century. The island acted as a strategic defense point against the Mongols, who attempted to invade Japan twice but were repelled by Japanese forces.
  2. Joseon Tongsinsa Mission: During the Joseon Dynasty in Korea (1392-1897), Tsushima served as an important intermediary between Korea and Japan. The Joseon Tongsinsa missions were diplomatic envoys sent from Korea to maintain relations with Tsushima, which then facilitated communication with the Japanese government.
  3. Shimazu Clan Rule: In the 16th century, Tsushima came under control of the powerful Shimazu clan from Kyushu Island. The clan ruled over Tsushima for several centuries until it was incorporated into modern-day Japan.
  4. Admiral Yi Sun-sin’s Capture: In 1597, Admiral Yi Sun-sin of Korea was captured by Japanese forces near Tsushima during the Imjin War (also known as the Seven-Year War). His capture led to his subsequent imprisonment in Seoul before being released after two years.
  5. Battle of Tsushima: One of the most significant naval battles in history took place near Tsushima on May 27-28, 1905, during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905). The Japanese fleet decisively defeated Russia’s Baltic Fleet off the coast of Tsushima Strait, establishing Japan as a major naval power and leading to its dominance in East Asia.
  6. Hachisuka Family: The Hachisuka family is one of Japan’s oldest noble families that originated from Kyushu but later settled on Tsushima Island during feudal times. They held significant influence over both local and national affairs for centuries.
  7. Tsushima Maru Tragedy: During World War II, the Japanese government evacuated schoolchildren from Okinawa to mainland Japan. However, one of the evacuation ships, Tsushima Maru, was torpedoed by a US submarine on August 22, 1944. Over 1,400 people died in the tragedy, mostly children.

These are just a few notable historical events and people associated with Tsushima. The island has a much broader history and cultural significance that extends beyond these examples.


Museums and Things To See

  1. Tsushima Wildlife Conservation Center: This center offers a unique opportunity to observe and learn about the local wildlife of Tsushima Island, including rare species such as the Tsushima leopard cat.
  2. Tsushima History Museum: Located in Izuhara City, this museum provides insights into the rich history and culture of Tsushima Island through exhibits showcasing artifacts from different periods.
  3. Ashitoku Shrine: A historic Shinto shrine known for its stunning architecture and beautiful natural surroundings. It is also home to several important cultural properties.
  4. Yoroi-no-taki Waterfall: A picturesque waterfall surrounded by lush greenery, offering a serene atmosphere perfect for relaxation or hiking.
  5. Sotoura Beach: One of the most popular beaches on the island with crystal-clear waters and soft sandy shores ideal for swimming or sunbathing during summer months.
  6. Izuhara Port: The main port of entry to Tsushima Island with picturesque views of fishing boats and an opportunity to try fresh seafood at local restaurants.
  7. Ogi Folk Museum (Ogi Minzoku-kan): An open-air museum that showcases traditional Japanese houses from different eras along with various tools used in daily life on the island.
  8. Daikannon Statue: Standing at 30 meters tall, this statue represents Kannon Bodhisattva (Goddess of Mercy) overlooking the town below while offering panoramic views over Tsusima Strait.
  9. Mount Shiratake Observatory Deck: Located atop Mount Shiratake, this observatory deck provides breathtaking panoramic views over the surrounding islands and sea.
  10. Tsutsukihama Observatory: Another observation deck that offers stunning views of the coastline and Tsushima Strait, especially during sunrise and sunset.

These are just a few examples of the attractions you can explore in Tsushima. The island also offers beautiful natural landscapes, hiking trails, and opportunities to experience local festivals and events throughout the year.



Sports Teams

  1. Tsushima Football Club: The Tsushima FC is a local football (soccer) team founded in 1990. They compete in regional leagues and have gained recognition for their passionate fan base and community involvement.
  2. Tsushima Dolphins: The Dolphins are a baseball team that represents Tsushima in various local tournaments and competitions. Although not part of any major league, they have been active since the early 20th century, promoting baseball as one of the popular sports on the island.
  3. Sumo Wrestling: While not specific to Tsushima, sumo wrestling has deep roots in Japanese culture and history. Sumo wrestlers from various stables across Japan often visit or hold exhibitions on the island, attracting locals and tourists alike.
  4. Traditional Boat Racing: A unique sport practiced in coastal areas of Japan is traditional boat racing called Umi-no-nagashi or Harai-bune. In Tsushima, this traditional sport has been passed down through generations as an annual event during festivals or special occasions.

It’s important to note that due to its small size and remote location, professional sports teams or major leagues are not commonly found on the island of Tsushima compared to larger cities in Japan like Tokyo or Osaka. However, these local teams contribute to fostering community spirit and provide opportunities for residents to engage in sporting activities within their region.



Cultural Events

  1. Tsushima Tenno Festival: Held annually on October 23rd, this festival celebrates the arrival of Emperor Jinmu, the mythical first emperor of Japan, to Tsushima Island. The highlight of the festival is a grand procession featuring traditional music, dance performances, and colorful floats.
  2. Tsushima Taiko Matsuri: This drum festival takes place in July each year and showcases various taiko drumming performances by local groups. Visitors can enjoy powerful rhythms and energetic performances that demonstrate the island’s musical traditions.
  3. Shima Gyoji (Island Ritual): Held on January 15th every year at Daigongen Shrine in Izuhara City, this ritual involves local fishermen praying for a safe catch and abundant harvests from both land and sea. The ceremony includes unique folk dances performed by locals dressed as deities.
  4. Tatsugō Onsen Fire Festival: Taking place on February 5th annually at Tatsugō Onsen Hot Spring Resort, this event features fire-walking rituals where participants walk across hot coals while carrying portable shrines called mikoshi. The ceremony is believed to cleanse participants spiritually.
  5. Wadaura Minato Festival: Celebrated on July 20th each year at Wadaura Port in Kamitsushima Town, this festival showcases traditional fishing boat races known as Shiohi Matsuri. Teams compete against each other while rowing large boats accompanied by lively chants and drumming.
  6. Sotome Hama Beach Opening Ceremony: Held during Golden Week (late April to early May), this event marks the beginning of beach season at Sotome Hama Beach with various water sports activities like jet skiing competitions, beach volleyball tournaments, live music performances etc.
  7. Tsushima Marathon: Organized annually in November, the Tsushima Marathon attracts runners from across Japan. Participants can choose between a full marathon, half-marathon, or a 10-kilometer race while enjoying scenic views of the island’s natural beauty.

These are just a few examples of the cultural events and festivals celebrated in Tsushima. The island has a rich cultural calendar throughout the year, offering visitors an opportunity to experience its unique traditions and vibrant community spirit.


Cuisine

  1. Saikai Sushi: This restaurant specializes in fresh seafood and sushi. It offers a wide variety of sushi rolls, sashimi, and other Japanese dishes.
  2. Kaisen Don: Tsushima is famous for its seafood, so Kaisen Don (seafood rice bowl) is a must-try dish. It consists of various types of raw or cooked seafood served on top of a bed of rice.
  3. Unagi (Eel): Tsushima has several restaurants that serve grilled eel dishes, which are considered a delicacy in Japan. The eel is usually marinated in a sweet soy-based sauce and grilled to perfection.
  4. Udon Noodles: Tsushima has its own unique style of udon noodles called Tsushiman Udon. These thick wheat noodles are served in a flavorful broth with toppings like tempura or green onions.
  5. Izakaya Restaurants: Izakayas are traditional Japanese pubs that serve small plates of food along with alcoholic beverages like sake or beer. There are many izakayas in Tsushima where you can enjoy local specialties like grilled fish, yakitori skewers, and other seasonal dishes.
  6. Oysters: Tsushima is known for its oyster farms, so fresh oysters are widely available at local restaurants during the harvesting season (usually from November to March). They can be enjoyed raw as sashimi or cooked in various styles such as grilled or deep-fried.
  7. Local Sweets: Don’t forget to try some local sweets while visiting Tsushima! One popular treat is Shio Daifuku, which is a mochi (rice cake) filled with sweet bean paste flavored with sea salt from the island’s salt production industry.

These are just some examples of the delicious cuisine you can find in Tsushima, Japan. Exploring the local restaurants and trying these specialties will surely enhance your culinary experience on the island.


Parks and Recreation

  1. Tsushima Wildlife Conservation Center: This center offers various outdoor activities such as hiking trails, birdwatching, and guided nature tours. It provides an opportunity to explore the island’s diverse flora and fauna.
  2. Tsushima Botanical Garden: Located in Izuhara City, this botanical garden showcases a wide range of plants native to Tsushima Island. Visitors can stroll through the gardens while enjoying the beautiful scenery.
  3. Mt. Shiratake: As the highest peak on Tsushima Island, Mt. Shiratake offers hiking trails for adventurous travelers seeking stunning panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  4. Gyoko Park: Situated near Izuhara Port, Gyoko Park features a large grassy area where visitors can relax or have picnics while enjoying views of the sea.
  5. Beaches: Tsushima Island has several beaches where visitors can swim or engage in water sports during the summer months.
  6. Cycling: The island’s scenic roads make it an ideal place for cycling enthusiasts to explore at their own pace.
  7. Tsushima History Museum (Shima no Yakata): While not strictly a park or recreational activity, this museum provides insights into the history and culture of Tsushima Island through various exhibits and artifacts.

Please note that some activities might be seasonal or subject to specific regulations; therefore, it is advisable to check with local authorities or tourism offices before planning your visit to ensure availability and up-to-date information on these attractions.


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