Kuril Islands- Travel Guide to the Unknown Volcanic Paradise | Tricky Travellers

Published 1 year ago


The Kuril Islands, Russian Kurilskiye Ostrova, Japanese Chishima-rett, an archipelago in Sakhalin oblast, far-eastern Russia. The archipelago lengthens for 1,200 km from the southern end of the Kamchatka Peninsula (Russia) to the northeastern nook of Hokkaido island (Japan) and isolates the Sea of Okhotsk from the Pacific Ocean. The 56 islands encircle 15,600 square km. The Kuril Islands are situated in the cold waters of the North-western Pacific Ocean between the Kamchatka Peninsula and Hokkaido. The chain comprises of 22 main islands, maximum of which are volcanically vigorous, and approximately 30 tinier islets. There are at least 160 volcanoes amongst the islands, 40 of which can be interpreted as currently active. The islands which form a portion of the Pacific Ring of Fire' give the flawless background for Russian Far East cruises.

The chain is a portion of the belt of geologic fluctuation orbiting the Pacific and comprises at least 100 volcanoes, of which 35 are still active, and many hot springs. Earthquakes and tidal waves are prevalent; the tidal wave of 1737 achieved a height of 210 feet, one of the elevated on record. Parallel to the chain, in the Pacific floor, is the Kuril Trench, which extends an abyss of more than 6.5 miles (10.5 km). The atmosphere in the islands is harsh, with lengthy, cold, snowy winters and cool, wet, hazy summers. The average annual precipitation is 3040 inches (7601,000 mm), most of which plunges as snow, which may emerge in any month from the end of September to the outset of June. Vegetation varies from tundra on the northern islands to dense woodland on the bigger southern islands. The solely considerable occupation is fishing, primarily for crab. The principal centres are the cities of Kurilsk on Iturup, the vastest island, and Severo-Kurilsk on Paramushir. Few vegetables are cultivated on the southern islands.


Japan and Russia quarrel about the ownership of 4 islands in the Southern Kurils or as the Japanese pertain to them the Northern Territories. The 4 islands include Habomai, Shikotan, Kunashiri, and Etorofu.

Before World War II

Japan uncovered and investigated the Northern Territories before Russians reached there, and by the early 19th Century, Japan retained effectively stabilized supervision over the 4 islands. In the first half of the 19th Century, Russia likewise acknowledged that its southernmost border was Uruppu Island which is north of Etorofu Island.  In 1855 with the signing of the Treaty of Shimoda, navigation and delimitation between Japan and Russia verified that, precisely as it had been organized peacefully until then, the boundary between them spread between the islands of Etorofu and Uruppu. In 1875, under the Treaty for the Exchange of Sakhalin for the Kuril Islands, Japan surrendered all of Sakhalin Island to Russia in trade for the Kuril Islands. In 1905, under the Portsmouth Peace Treaty, which halted the war between Japan and Russia, Japan claimed the southern part of Sakhalin Island at 50N from Russia.

World War II and the emergence of the Territorial Issue

In February 1945, the administrators of the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States of America approved the Yalta Agreement. This agreement prescribed that the Kuril Islands shall be passed to the Soviet Union' and the southern portion of Sakhalin, as well as all the islands adjacent to it, shall be retreated to the Soviet Union'. Japan asserts that the Yalta Agreement could not restrict territorial matters as it was no further than a directory by the leaders of the Allied Powers to the post-war concession. Also, Japan asserts that it was not a party to and accordingly not bound by the agreement. The Potsdam Declaration asserted that the terms of the 1943 Cairo Declaration, which prescribed that Japan will also be evicted from all other regions which she has seized by violence and covetousness' should be enforced and the Japanese sovereignty should be restricted to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku and such small islands as the Allies concluded. Russia went on with its offensive against Japan even after Japan had acknowledged the Potsdam Declarations. Under the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1951, Japan relinquished all rights, ownership, and claim to the Kuril Islands and to the southern part of Sakhalin Island, which it had attained by the Portsmouth Peace Treaty in 1905. Regardless, Japan asserts that the islands of Etorofu, Kunashiri, Shikotan, and Habomai are not a portion of the Kuril Islands.

Post-war Negotiations

In October 1956, the Japanese Prime Minister, Ichiro Hatoyama, attended the Soviet Union. The two nations approved the Soviet-Japanese Joint Declaration of 1956. This declaration officially terminated the state of war and reclaimed diplomatic associations between the two nations.


Volcano Baransky

Baransky volcano is a stratovolcano in the midst of Iturup Island, southern Kuriles. Just one historical eruption happened in 1951 and comprised of weak eruptions in the summit crater.  Powerful fumarolic activity is in the summit and various flank craters. A geothermal area is set up on the SW flank and comprises hot springs and geysers.

Kuril (Kurilsky) Nature Reserve

The Kuril (Kurilsky) Nature Reserve is usually bisected into the Kuril Reserve per se and the Maly (Lesser) Kuril Wildlife Sanctuary, which supervisory pertains to the Kuril Nature Reserve. The Maly Kuril Wildlife Sanctuary spreads over various small islands of the Kuril Ridge and partly on Shikotan Island.

Golovnin Volcano

Above the 543m-high Golovnin Volcano is a crater comprising two lakes, with temperatures varying from 36C up to 100C. It's an amazing destination that fascinates multiple travelers all around the world.

Mendeleev Volcano

Mendeleev Volcano is a vigorous volcano in the south of Kunashir Island. The Locals name it the Sleeping Woman because when you stare at it from a specific angle, you can notice a silhouette of a lying woman. However, the official title is after the extraordinary Russian chemist Dmitry Mendeleev. The height of the volcano is 888 m.

How to Get to There

As with journeys that take in Kamchatka and Chukotka, distinct north along Russia's eastern coast, a journey by sea is necessary when attending the Kuril Islands. The sole difference is that some excursions base themselves primarily on a single island, generally southerly Kunashir, while others are tiny ship cruises, employing environmentally responsible containers for transport and lodging.

Commonly, Sakhalin is the jumping-off juncture. This enormous island lies just off the east coast of Russia and both tiny cruise ships and general ferries to Kunashir depart from the port of Korsakov. Winters are cold throughout the Kuril Islands, and harsher the more north you move, so journeys tend to take place between May and late September when the climate is favorable but can be humid and hazy.

Category: Islands


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