Sakhalin Island (Japanese: 樺太 Karafuto) is located in Russia’s Far East.
This fish-shaped island lies in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Sea of Japan, north of Japan’s Hokkaido, separated from the mainland by the Tatar Strait. It occupies the main part of the territory of the Sakhalin region, which, in addition to Sakhalin itself, includes the Kuriles.
Located virtually at the end of the Earth, Sakhalin is not a small lost island but rather a large and distinctive region with its railway network and industries.
Sakhalin has a unique pristine environment including diverse and majestic mountains and beautiful coasts. Its main features: dense and lush vegetation, which turns into almost impossible jungles almost any forest (especially the giant burdocks reaching human growth), and a rich fauna (fish, crabs, seals, bears, foxes). More than 300 species of animals and plants of Sakhalin listen in the Red Book.
Sakhalin is the place where Russian culture meets Japanese culture, and the traces of their interaction are noticeable here. The Japanese owned the southern half of the island for forty years - from 1905 to 1945 of the year - and left behind many original buildings, monuments, military installations, bridges and railways.
The regional center of Sakhalin is the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. It is located in the southeastern part of the island, on the Susuya River.
One of the business cards of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is considered a sports and tourist complex "Mountain Air", located on Bolshevik mount. On the territory of 800 hectare there are 25 km of tracks for skiing of various length and complexity.
Rest on Sakhalin is mostly active, it includes various fishing and hunting tours, ecotourism, hiking, jeep tours, ski resort. This amazing island has everything that you need for an active holiday, and it's all next to the incredible beauty of nature.
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is a fairly young city in Russia. It was founded in 1882 as a settlement for convicts. At that time, the village was called Vladimirovka. The question arises, why did they exile the convicts so far if Siberia with its endless expanses was much closer to the capital? The answer is simple: it was required to populate the remote territories of the empire, and no one would go there at will.
In the 19th century, Sakhalin was officially a destination for forced labor and exile. This place was chosen for a reason as it was surrounded by arable land. This allowed the residents to provide themselves with grain, meat, and dairy. The sea supplied plenty of fish. There were four settlements on the island but Vladimirovka grew faster than the others. Its then population was 130 people. Almost all of them, except children, were convicts.
By the beginning of the last century, it was already a full-fledged town with craft workshops, a post office, a small school, shops, and a church. In 1905, Japan captured the island and renamed Vladimirovka to Toyohara. The occupation lasted until the end of World War II, and only in 1945 Sakhalin was returned to the USSR. The Yuzhno-Sakhalin Region appeared on the map of the country in 1946. Toyohara took the functions of local capital and was immediately renamed to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.
Famous Russian writer Anton Chekhov visited the convicts' island in 1890. The result of his travel was the book titled “Sakhalin Island”. Today, an entire museum is dedicated to this book and the visit of Chekhov – the Literary and Art Museum of Chekhov’s “Sakhalin Island”.
What to bring from Sakhalin
Seafood, of course. Go to the “Uspekh” local market for fresh seafood, and special thermal packs will keep your products fresh during a long flight. Sweet-tooths should bring bird's milk sweets and agar-agar which is made from local algae. One of the main souvenirs is chocolate with sea salt, seaweed, or scallops. Well, the shells and pebbles which you have collected on the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk are a nice gift too.