Tsushima: Slow Living on a Frontline Island
The island of Tsushima, in Nagasaki Prefecture, lies between Japan and South Korea, just 50 kilometers from the South Korean port city of Busan. Thanks to its location, the island developed as a thriving hub for trade and cultural exchanges between Japan, the Korean Peninsula and mainland China. Tsushima has also played a strategic role on the frontline between the regional powers. From the Battle of Baekgang (663) and the Mongolian expeditions of Japan (1274 and 1281) to Japan's invasions of Korea under Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1592-1598) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5), it has had a long and turbulent history but has overcome all challenges. On this episode of Journeys in Japan, Brandon Chin explores Tsushima, meets the residents, and discovers the important role the island has played in Japan's history and international relations.

Mt. Eboshi Observation Deck

Mt. Eboshidake lies on the northern shore of Aso Bay, in the center of Tsushima. The observatory offers visitors a 360-degree panorama, with sweeping views of the indented coastline.

Kaneda Castle Ruins

This mountaintop fortification on Mt. Joyama is designated as a site of national historic importance. It features stone ramparts running for 2.2 kilometers, as well as a gateway, both dating from the 7th century. There are also remains of gun emplacements built during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5). A trail leads to the summit of Mt. Joyama, which offers breathtaking views.

Banshoin Temple

This Buddhist temple was erected in 1615 by Yoshinari, the 20th-generation head of the Sō clan who governed Tsushima. Since then it has served as the graveyard for the clan. There are 3 massive cedar trees in front of the mausoleum, which are said to be 1,200 years old, making them the oldest on Tsushima.


To reach Tsushima from Hakata, it takes 2 hours by high-speed ferry to the island's Izuhara Port. By air, flights from Fukuoka Airport take 30 minutes.