About Tsushima

About Tsushima

“Tsushima” – a Japanese island located between Kyushu island and South Korea.

Distance is about 132km to Fukuoka in Japan, about 50km to Busan in South Korea. Geographically speaking, it is closer to South Korea than its country. Although it is an offshore island, the area is quite large – about 708km2. Tsushima is the third largest remote island after Sado-shima and Amami-ooshima. Linear distance from North to South is about 82km. Driving from North end to South end, it takes at least 2.5 hours, so keep that in mind when you plan your trip!

Nature of Tsushima

View of Aso Bay from Mt. Eboshi
View of Aso Bay from Mt. Eboshi

From ancient times the rich nature that remains unchanged

On top of being surrounded by very good fishing spots with a variety of fresh seafood, Tsushima is also called “Island of Mountain,” as 90% of the island is covered with woods. A lot of original woods still remain intact. Aso Bay – having a feature of ria coast and being located in the middle of Tsushima – is registered as a quasi-national park. The view of Aso Bay from the peak of Mt. Eboshi is spectacular. The view of many small islands and intricate bays attract visitors, through their contrast of thick-green mountains and crystal waters.

A unique ecosystem that shows the connection with the continent

Tsushima Wild Cat – national natural treasure (protected species)
Tsushima Wild Cat – national natural treasure
(protected species)

Tsushima’s nature is also very unique. Back in the day, Japan used to be connected to the Eurasian continent, giving Tsushima its distinct ecological system seen today. Other than species unique to Japan, one can also see a variety of continent-origin species unique to Tsushima (Tsushima Wild Cat is one of them). Moreover, there are also species found only in Tsushima which evolved after Tsushima had become an island. These species are key not only to discover the formation of the islands of Japan but also to learn more about the history of various species. Tsushima is also famous as a transit point for migrant birds, half of which can be observed in the island.

History of Tsushima

Tsushima is located in the middle of Japan and Eurasian continent. Given its geographical location, it has been playing a crucial role as an intermediary in connecting Japan and the continent since the old days. The history of trading with Korean Peninsula is long, and a significant number of the remaining cultural assets displayed in Tsushima showcase such connection.

“Kaneda Castle” – an ancient castle built in the 7th century
“Kaneda Castle” – an ancient castle
built in the 7th century

Forefront of national defense

Tsushima - Island of Border – has been the front-line of national defence. “Kaneda Castle” built by soldiers, “Shimizuyama Castle” built in preparation for Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s invasion of Korea, and the ruins of cannons deployed during the Japanese-Sino War, Japanese-Russian War and Pacific War: visiting these historical sites will make you feel that Tsushima has been shouldering Japan’s security and national interests as a border domain in her long history.

Tsushima’s culture, life and industry

can see the roots of Japan

Since the ancient time, various cultures and technologies have been brought to Japan through Tsushima. Things that constitute today’s Japan such as Kanji (Chinese letters), Buddhism and rice-making came to the country through Tsushima. In Tsushima, there are a lot of customs, lore, remains and legacies that speak about the arrival and departure of such cultures and technologies. Truly, Japan’s roots are significantly found in Tsushima.

Flower of “Taishu Soba” blossomed around the field
Flower of “Taishu Soba”
blossomed around the field

One example is “Taishu Soba.” Nepali Soba is said to have come to Japan in Jyomon Era. Breed improvement has been popular everywhere, but in Tsushima, we have been cultivating this flower using unchanged ancient methods to serve people the original taste of Soba. Likewise, we still maintain the original way of beekeeping. You can enjoy highly fragrant Japanese honey in Tsushima.

Mountain·village·sea Triple industry

Fresh Sashimi of Buri caught in Tsushima’s sea
Fresh Sashimi of Buri caught
in Tsushima’s sea

Surrounded by sea and 90% of its land covered by woods, Tsushima has robust sectors both in fishing and agriculture. Tsushima Straits – connecting East China Sea and Japan Sea – is one of the greatest fishing spots in the world. From well-known fishes such as Buri (Amberjack), Saba (Mackerel), Aji (Horse Mackerel) to high-end fishes such as Amadai (Red Tilefish), Nodoguro (Blackthroat Seaperch) and Ara (Longtooth Grouper), there is a rich variety of fishes in Tsushima. Particularly, Tsushima’s catchment of seafood such as Anago (Conger), Ika (Squid), Hijiki (Seaweed) and Sazae (Turban Shell) are one of the largest in Japan.

Donko Shiitake called Forest abalone
Donko Shiitake called
Forest abalone

In forestry, charcoal industry was once very robust. Today, Shiitake (mushroom) cultivation is vigorous; and meaty, firm Donko Shiitake grown in cold winter is absolutely brilliant, famously called Abalone of Forest. In agriculture and livestock, in addition to the aforementioned “Taishu Soba,” asparagus and red beef are the robust sectors. Rice in Tsushima with more than 2,000 years of history, though not much cultivation, is also exceptionally delicious.

Delicious rice produced by difference in temperature
Delicious rice produced
by difference in temperature

The basic life in Tsushima is diversified business – many kinds, small quantity. Many households do agriculture, fishing and forestry. We have fields for rice and other crops. We have ships! We have mountains! Tsushimans are multi-players. We catch anything from sea and mountains, make anything, and play with them. We get gift from nature quite abundantly. This place may be the origin of life.

More about Tsushima!