Sakhalin is one of the last territories colonized by Russia and its biggest island. Its proximity to Japan creates a unique mix of Japanese and Russian nature.

Film in Sakhalin: Geography and Climate

The Sakhalin region includes Sakhalin Island and a chain of Kuril Islands that stretch toward Japan for 1,300 km (810 mi).

Sakhalin is the largest island in Russia, extending 948 km (589 mi) from North to South. It’s over 100 miles wide in the broadest point.

Poronai is the main river, with the length of 350 km (217 mi). Average temperature ranges from -19˚C (-2.2˚F) in February to +22˚C (72˚F) in August. High humidity goes along with strong winds, cyclones and typhoons.

Film in Sakhalin: Nature

About two thirds of Sakhalin’ surface are covered with mountains. The highest one, Lopatin mountain, is only 1,609 meters tall. Sakhalin`s nature is harsh but charming and full of contrasts. Wide, colorful fields are changed by lifeless landscapes of rocks and stones.

Despite the small amount of terrestrial animals, Sakhalin`s fauna is rich in birds and sea creatures. Ush, an island north of Sakhalin, is one of the three large breeding houses for seals and sea lions left in the world.

Kuril Islands are a part of the Ring of Fire, so there are 68 volcanos above water, 37 of which are active.

Film in Sakhalin: History

Sakhalin was discovered by a Dutch navigator M.G. Vries in 17th century. Two centuries later, Russia started colonizing the island and built forced labor camps for those exiled from the mainland. The camp existed between 1869-1906.

Japan took over the southern half of Sakhalin in 1905 after a war with Russia. After the World War II, the Soviet Union took it back, along with the Kuril Islands. Tokyo still considers the land Japanese territory.

Film in Sakhalin: Cities

The biggest city and the administrative center is Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk with the population of around 190,000.

The biggest city of the Kuril Islands is Yuzhno-Kurilsk with around 7,000 residents.

Film in Sakhalin: How to Get

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is located 6,643 km (4,125 mi) east of Moscow. The flight takes around 8 hours. Flights from Tokyo, Seoul and Harbin are available.

The only way to get to Kuril Islands is to take a ship or plane from Sakhalin. Also, you need a permit, as it’s a border area and a subject of a territorial dispute with Japan.

Film in Sakhalin: Population

There are about 500,000 people living in Sakhalin region. Some 83% of them are Russian, followed by Koreans with 5.5 % and other minorities like Ukrainians, Tatars and Yakuts. Native population is represented by Nivkhs (approximately 5,800 people) and Oroks (just about 500 people).

Film in Sakhalin: Interesting Facts

  • You can see Japan from the window in the south of Kuril Islands;
  • There is an unfinished tunnel that was supposed to connect Sakhalin Island with the mainland. The construction of which began in the 1950s and stopped with the death of Stalin in 1953;
  • Writer Anton Chekhov’s book of road essays “Sakhalin Island” about forced labor camps on the island was named the best piece of journalism of the 19th century by The New Yorker;
  • Sakhalin boasts a great variety of seafood, including caviar.
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Tikhaya (Silent) Bay

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Kunashir Island
Tyatya volcano

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Cape Velikan (The Giant)

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Okhotsk Sea Bay

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South Cost of Sakhalin

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Mountain road in the fall

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Mountain Pass in the Fall

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Northern Sakhalin

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Sandy Road

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Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
City before sunset

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Kholmsk City Before Sunset

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Inactive Railway Line

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Fox in the bushes

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Domestic Deers

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Sea Lions

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Sea Lion in Northern Sakhalin

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Sunrise at Coast of Okhotsk Sea

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Tikhaya (Silent) Bay

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Kunashir Island
Tyatya volcano

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Cape Velikan (The Giant)

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Okhotsk Sea Bay

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South Cost of Sakhalin

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Mountain road in the fall

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Mountain Pass in the Fall

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Northern Sakhalin

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Sandy Road

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Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
City before sunset

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Kholmsk City Before Sunset

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Inactive Railway Line

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Fox in the bushes

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Domestic Deers

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Sea Lions

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Sea Lion in Northern Sakhalin

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Sunrise at Coast of Okhotsk Sea