What kind of island is Tsushima?
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Tsushima is an island on the Tsushima Channel in between Kyushu and Korea. It belongs to Nagasaki prefecture. It is 132 kilometers away by sea route from Hakata Harbor (Fukuoka) and located 49.5 kilometers in direct distance from Korea. It is known as the "island of the border".
The island stretches 82 kilometers from north to south, 18 kilometers from east to west and the area is approximately 708 kilometers squared (including attatched islands). Excluding Okinawa and the Northern Territories, it is the largest next to Sado Island and Amami Oshima. With the merging of 6 former towns in the island in 2004, "Tsushima City" has become the largest city in terms of area in Nagasaki.
What is the characteristic of the nature in Tsushima?
The Tsushima Current flows through the east and west, and there are few flatlands and approximately 89% of the island are mountainous areas. Primeval forests remain in each area. The Aso Gulf, a rias coast, expands in the center of the island, and the total extension of the shoreline extends to 915 kilometers. As for the geological feature, most are sedimentary rocks and its surface is thin. The rough scenery where the rugged rocks sink into the sea can be seen in many places.
(Photograph:： Aso Gulf aerial photography)
It is an unique ecosystem without any common species found in the mainland of Japan including, monkey, rabbit, fox, racoon dog, rabbit and squirrel. Instead there are mainland species such as Tsushima cat, Tsushima marten and Pyrocoelia rufa. Due to its unique ecosystem, mountains such as Mt. Shiratake and Waniura Hitostubatagojiseichi are designated as the country's natural monument. Also many parts of the island are designated as Ikitsushima quasi-national park.
(Photograph:： Nationally Designated Natural Monument, Tsushima cat)
Nature and food
Because there are many mountainous areas in Tsushima and ground transportation was inconvenient, some transmitted articles have been preserved for over hundreds of years. The representative is Taishu soba. It is thought that soba was imported to Japan in the late Jomon Period. Afterwards, selective breeding spread nationwide, but people can still enjoy the original soba in the late Jomon Period at Tsushima. In addition, the traditional apiculture method is still performed and people can enjoy the thick, fragrant Japanese honey. With the deep mountains and ocean surrounded by all sides, Tsushima is an island where you can enjoy real ingredients created by nature.
(Photograph:： Honey of the Japanese honey bee)
What is the characteristic of the history of Tsushima?
The ancient times
Because of geological conditions of the island full of mountainous areas and little space to cultivate, Tsushima found a way out of the difficulty by connecting Kyushu and Korea. Relic of both Kyushu and Korea were found from Tsushima's oldest Koshitaka ruins (6800 B.C.), thus indicating that there were exchange and trade between the people in Kyushu and Korea.
(Photograph:： Aso Gulf from Mt. Eboshi observation station)
Birth of Japan
With the exchange of people and dispatch of envoy to adopt the mainland culture, metal tools, Kanji, Buddhism, political system, etc., many various mainland culture came into Japan via Tsushima and Iki. Tsushima and Iki functioned as "the umbilical cord" for the birth of Japan.
(Photograph:： Ancient port, Nishinokoide Mitsushimamachi, Kofunakoshi, Tsushima-shi)
Tension between the nations
With the border being settled with the Battle of Hakusukinoe during 7th century and Japan, Silla and Tang being formed, the "island of border" has always become exposed at the forefront of the tension between the nations. However, because Souke governed Tsushima from the Kamakura Period to the end of the Edo Period and Tsushima was not a battlefield from the Sengoku Period until now, there are many historic and ethnic documents left. It is a large time capsule and data base to learn about the history between Japan and Korea.
(Photograph:： Ancient mountain castle, Kanatanoki Castle Mitsushimamachi, Kurose, Tsushima-shi)
Base of the Korean diplomacy
During the Edo Period, the Tsushima feudal clan was entrusted to anti-Korea diplomacy by the Shogunate. The clan administered a diplomatic commerce facility called "Wakan", a size of 100,000 tsubos (25 times the size of Dejima, Nagasaki) at Korea, and 400-500 Tsushima clansmen stayed there. In addition, it demonstrated its own diplomatic ability by welcoming, leading and protecting the "Korean Emissary" dispatched to the Edo Shogunate by the Korean dynasty.
(Photograph:： House of Tsushima feudal lord Souke family temple, Banshouin Izuharamachi, Nishizato, Tsushima-shi)
War and Peace
In the final stages of the Russo-Japanese War, the Battle of Tsushima developed into an intense battle between the Imperial Japanese Navy and Russian Baltic Fleet at the coast of Tsushima. The sea battle ended in an one-sided victory of Japan and the damage for Russia was devastating,. There were many remnant of soldiers who drifted to Tsushima, but with the careful care of the islanders, they went back home before long. Tsushima continued to receive a big influence whenever a big war broke out including World War II and the Korean War.
(Photograph:： Mt. Himegami battery Mitsushimamachi, Okata, Tsushima-shi)
How about Tsushima now?
We enjoy magnificent nature and the eternal history
With the harsh situation of the slump in fishery and public works, depopulation and aging, Tsushima has now finally started to search for ways of local development through the nature of Tsushima and historical resource and not just choosing between development and environmental protection. Recently, sea kayak experience tour and primeval forest trekking where Tsushima's nature can be enjoyed are gaining popularity. "Tsushima Tour Guide Yankomo" was established in 20
08 and it is receiving good reputation as it guides the history of Tsushima enjoyably and clearly.
Towards international sightseeing spot
Population of Tsushima is approximately 33,000 people (2014), but it is located between Fukuoka-shi (1,250,000 people, 2009) and Nagasaki-shi (440,000 people, 2009), Pusan (3,700,000 people, 2004) and Nagasaki is air route and is bound together with Fukuoka by sea with Pusan by air route, sea route and aims at activation of island by promotion of sightseeing product and expansion of number of visitors/exchange population.
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