Tsushima: A Hidden Gem of Japan

Nestled between the Tsushima Strait and the Korea Strait, the island of Tsushima is a captivating piece of Japan that boasts a unique blend of rich history, diverse ecology, and vibrant culture. This island, located in the Nagasaki Prefecture, has gained newfound fame and popularity, partly due to the successful video game “Ghost of Tsushima.” In this blog post, we will take a comprehensive look at what makes Tsushima an intriguing destination worth exploring.

Geographical Insights

Tsushima is strategically situated between Japan and Korea, making it an important geographical and cultural bridge. The island is geographically divided into two main parts: Kamino-shima (North) and Shimono-shima (South). This natural division has influenced not just the geography but also the cultural and economic activities on the island.

The island of Tsushima enjoys a subtropical humid climate, influenced heavily by monsoon winds. This results in high annual precipitation and significant temperature variations throughout the year. Summers are generally hot and humid, while winters can be cold, offering a diverse range of weather conditions that can affect travel plans.

Climate FeatureDetails
TypeSubtropical Humid
InfluenceMonsoon Winds
PrecipitationHigh Annual Precipitation
TemperatureSignificant Variations

Population and Demographics

As of 2022, Tsushima has a population of approximately 28,000 residents. With a population density of around 40 people per square kilometer, the island offers a serene and less crowded environment compared to Japan’s bustling cities. The population is primarily concentrated in a few towns, with a mix of local traditions and modern amenities.

Population (2022)Approximately 28,000

Rich Historical Tapestry

Tsushima’s history is a tapestry woven with threads of invasions and trade. The island was notably invaded by the Mongols in the 13th century, a significant event that has been etched into its historical narrative. Additionally, Tsushima played a crucial role in the trade between Japan and Korea, acting as a strategic point of interaction and exchange.

The island’s strategic importance extended beyond military invasions. Tsushima has been a focal point in diplomatic missions and trade routes, particularly during the Joseon Dynasty in Korea. This historical richness adds layers of intrigue for history buffs and casual visitors alike.

Ecological Wonders

Tsushima is an ecological treasure trove. The island is home to a variety of unique species, including the Tsushima leopard cat and numerous migratory birds. Recognized as an Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International, Tsushima offers rich biodiversity that appeals to nature enthusiasts and researchers.

Efforts are ongoing to preserve the island’s unique flora and fauna. Conservation programs focus on protecting endangered species and maintaining the natural habitats that make Tsushima a biologically significant location.

Ecological FeatureDetails
Unique SpeciesTsushima Leopard Cat, Migratory Birds
RecognitionImportant Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International

Economic Landscape

A significant portion of Tsushima’s economy revolves around fishing, particularly the fishing of squid. The island’s surrounding waters are rich in marine life, making fishing a sustainable and lucrative industry for the local population.

Tourism is another key economic driver, boosted significantly by the global success of the video game “Ghost of Tsushima.” The game, developed by Sucker Punch Productions and released in 2020, has drawn international attention to the island, leading to a surge in visitor numbers.

Economic SectorDetails
FishingFocus on Squid Fishing
TourismBoosted by “Ghost of Tsushima”

Cultural Richness

Tsushima is dotted with numerous historical sites and monuments that offer a glimpse into its rich past. Key attractions include the ruins of Kaneda Castle and the Watatsumi Shrine. These sites provide both educational and aesthetic value, making them must-visit spots for anyone interested in Japanese history and culture.

The island’s cultural landscape is further enriched by its local festivals and traditional cuisine. Festivals often feature traditional music, dance, and local crafts, offering a vibrant cultural experience. The local cuisine, including dishes like rokube and conger eel, provides a culinary journey that complements the island’s historical and natural attractions.

Cultural FeatureDetails
Historical SitesRuins of Kaneda Castle, Watatsumi Shrine
Local CuisineRokube, Conger Eel
FestivalsTraditional Music and Dance

Modern Popularity: Ghost of Tsushima

“Ghost of Tsushima,” released in 2020, has been a global phenomenon. The game is set during the first Mongol invasion of Tsushima in 1274 and has captivated players with its stunning visuals and compelling storyline. Developed by Sucker Punch Productions, the game has not only entertained but also educated players about Tsushima’s rich history.

The game’s success has translated into increased tourism for the island. Fans of the game visit Tsushima to experience the real-life locations that inspired the game’s setting. This has provided a significant economic boost and has put Tsushima on the global map as a tourist destination.

Upcoming Film Adaptation

Adding to the island’s rising fame, a film adaptation of “Ghost of Tsushima” is currently in development. This adaptation is expected to further elevate Tsushima’s profile and attract even more visitors to this historically and culturally rich island.

Modern InfluenceDetails
Video Game“Ghost of Tsushima” (2020)
DeveloperSucker Punch Productions
Film AdaptationIn Development

Tsushima is a multifaceted gem that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a nature lover, or a modern-day gamer, the island of Tsushima has a rich tapestry of experiences to offer. From its strategic historical significance and diverse ecology to its vibrant culture and modern-day popularity, Tsushima is a destination that promises a unique and enriching experience.

So, if you’re planning your next adventure, consider exploring the island of Tsushima. Its blend of the old and the new, the natural and the historical, will leave you with memories that last a lifetime.


I’m Ren Nakamura, a native of Japan and an explorer at heart. My passion lies in unveiling the intricate blend of tradition and innovation that defines Japanese culture. From the dynamic world of anime and games to the rich tapestry of arts and the culinary delights of my homeland, I strive to bring you captivating tales and insights. Join me as we delve into the enchanting world of Japan, one story at a time. Wanna know more about me ?