Sakhalin is a large and sparsely populated island in the North Pacific, lying directly North of Japan and East of Russia. While it currently belongs to the latter, the island was the source of a bitter territorial dispute between the two countries throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
Getting into Sakhalin as a tourist can be rather difficult due to the restrictions set by the Russian government, which is why, despite the island’s proximity to Japan, Japanese and other foreign tourists are few and far between. While you can find tours of historical remains from Japanese occupation and landmarks visited by famous Japanese author Kenji Miyazawa, you’ll need quite a bit of cash and patience to get there in the first place.
One of our Japanese correspondents recently returned from a trip to Sakhalin and shares with us his rather random thoughts on the Russian island in convenient numbered list…
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