The Kuril Islands - wild East of Russia

We visit Sakhalin Island first from where we take a ship to the island of Kunashir. It is the southernmost island of the Kuril Islands. Being rather small (123 km long and from 5 to 30 km wide) this island still has very much to show you!

The Kuril islands have long and complicated history. Originally inhabited by Aynu people they belonged either to Russia or to Japan in different times. Even nowadays there are disputes on their territorial allegiance. Kunashir island is just 30 km from Japanese Hokkaido. During our tour in case of good weather we will be able to see the Japanese shores.

Kunashir nature is really astonishing. The South of the Island looks like subtropics with coniferous and deciduous forests, bamboo jungles and rare magnolias. Further north forest turns into dense cedar elfin wood so typical for Far East. The plant anomalous growth is one more distinctive feature of the Kurils. The vegetation conditions here are so favorable that the plants are able to grow up to the bigger height not typical for these plants in other parts of Eurasia. Kunashir is a volcanic island: there are many volcanoes, boiling lakes and hot rivers, fumarole fields and thermal springs. On Kunashir there is a unique Hot Beach – a part of the Pacific ocean shore with hot sand. The sand always keeps the heat due to hot volcanic steam coming close to the surface. It is even possible to bake crabs and cook eggs in this hot sand!

Climb Tyatya volcano, 1819 m, makes a special attraction of our trip. The volcano is comparable in its beauty to Vesuvius or Fujiyama. It forms an almost perfect conical shape, with the peak cut off. From the large old caldera another fresher cone rises up to 300 meters. You'll get the panoramic view of surrounding land and Ocean from the top of the highest volcano of the Southern Kurils.

Kunashir is a real paradise for the seafood lovers. Crabs, shrimps, trepangs, octopuses, scallop and many other products are available on Kunashir. And if the weather and time allows you can go fishing in the Pacific Ocean and catch a flounder or Far Eastern bullhead. And you will also see the amazing view of the Pacific salmon spawning.

The trip does not require any special physical skills. All the routes are available for healthy people got used to long walks. 

Main hightlights of the trip

  • Just being there is already an adventure.
  • A paradoxical place: One of the most remote territories in the world located far away from your civilization.
  • Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk: historical heritage of Russia and Japan;
  • Velikan Cape: the most famous place of Sakhalin with picturesque rocky arches and bird colonies;
  • Sakhalin – Kunashir voyage: feel yourself the pioneer of the Kuril Islands;
  • Columnar basalt formations of Stolbchaty Cape: giant mosaic on the shore of the Sea created by nature;
  • Bamboo jungles in magnolia land: amazing Kunashir – botanical gardens in the open air;
  • Tyatya volcano: climb the highest volcano of the Southern Kurils. Splendid view from the Russian Vesuvius;
  • Sea delicacy: paradise for seafood lovers!
  • Mendeleev and Golovnin volcanoes: active volcanism with fumaroles, boiling lakes, hot rivers, mud pots, solfataras and thermal springs.


Itinerary map