Tsushima Island, Japan
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Tsushima Island, Japan


The JET program is for people who want
to teach English in Japan as an assistant language teacher. Once you get
accepted to the program, you’ll find out where in Japan you’ll be teaching for
the next year or more. They do let you pick three preferences, but chances are
they won’t take them into account, and you’ll be placed in a random place
anywhere in Japan. And when I say anywhere, I mean anywhere. I kind of
wanted to live near Osaka. I know some people there, plus it’s a central
location to be able to travel to other parts of Japan. I didn’t really want to
live in the city of Osaka though. I thought it would be cool to live in a
more rural area nearby so that I could prance around in rice fields, meet the
locals and possibly have more chances to practice Japanese. And, boy, did I not know what I was in for! I wanted rural, and I got one of the most
rural locations I could imagine! I was placed in Tsushima, in Nagasaki
prefecture. It’s located here on a map of Japan.
It’s actually closer to Korea than mainland Japan. And I had the time of my
life on that Island! Since it’s an island, there are a few ways to get to Tsushima.
Most tourists that visit come from Korea, since there are daily ferries or jetfoils between Busan and Tsushima. It’s also possible to visit from Fukuoka on
ferries, jetfoils or a 30-minute flight from the Tsushima airport. The airport
also has flights between Nagasaki and Tsushima. There are six towns on the
island and it takes about two hours to drive from the north to the south. This
is the town that I lived in, Kamitsushima. It’s most well known for Miuda
Beach, which is probably the most beautiful beach on the island, with
natural white sand. In 1996, it was voted as one of Japan’s top 100 beaches.
In the summer, you can see many people swimming here, and sometimes there are
food vendors selling shaved ice and stuff.
Another popular spot for tourists is the Korean viewpoint, which is built with
Korean architecture style. On a clear day, you can see Busan, Korea from here, which is only 31 miles away. I actually went here during the Busan
fireworks festival and I was able to see the fireworks… but they looked really
small from here. Other cool things in Kamitsushima are the various
festivals, the border marathon where a lot of people come from Korea to
participate, the fall leaves, the white hitotsubatago flowers blooming in
May, and the shop in Hitakatsu for trying on yukata or kimono. There’s also some of the best sushi I’ve ever tasted in Kamitsushima. I also taught in the town of Kamiagata. There’s actually another Korean viewpoint there too. This one is called
Foreign Country Viewpoint, or “hill where neighbor country sees it” (bad translation). You should be able to see Korea on a clear day from here and it’s also just a nice view of the
ocean. Another thing that’s unique about
Tsushima is the wildlife, specifically the Tsushima Yamaneko, or Tsushima
wildcat. It’s basically the mascot of the island and the theme for a lot of the
souvenirs you can get there. All around the island, there are a lot of signs to
be careful when driving so that you don’t hit the cats, even though they’re
pretty rare to see because they’re actually a national endangered species
because of roadkill and habitat degradation. in Kamiagata there’s the
Tsushima Wildlife Conservation Center. You can usually see the cat here since
they’re pretty hard to spot in the wild. You can also learn a lot about the
differences between a house cat and the Tsushima Wildcat. The Tsushima Wildcat has a long trunk with short legs and a long, thick tail. It also has a striped
forehead and rounded ears unlike a regular house cat. And the biggest
difference is the white spots that Tsushima wildcats have on the back of
their ears. But it’s not just about the Yamaneko, there’s also exhibits about
other nature and wildlife in Tsushima. In June there’s also a hydrangea festival
in Kamiagata which is really fun and Nita Dam is another nice place to
visit especially during the Fall. A great place to eat in Kamiagata is Soba Dojo,
especially since Tsushima is known for its Taishu soba noodles. Some people
claim that Tsushima is the origin of soba noodles. I also really recommend
trying the soba ice cream! A bit south of that is the town of Mine, where Tsushima’s most important shrine is located. It’s called Kaijin Jinja, or sea god
shrine, and is dedicated to the sea’s guardian deity, Princess Toyotama. When I went, I was the only person there
and all I could hear were the bugs and birds of the summer. Also in Mine is Omi no sato. Here
there is a nice view of Omi Village, which is surrounded by terrace fields
and also near the ocean. Two things that remind me of Tsushima
are the beautiful greenery and the ocean and here you can see both of them at
once. Mine Family Park is another fun place to go in Mine and it’s not just for
kids. There’s this really long slide that goes through the trees and it has a
great view from the top. There’s also a cafe that sells shaved ice in the summer.
Tsushima’s famous round taiyaki, a pastry filled with red or white bean paste are
also sold in Mine. Nearby Mine is Toyotama. Watazumi shrine in Toyotama is probably one of the most popular shrines for visitors, and for good
reason. In front of the main shrine there are five torii gates, some of them being
in the ocean, with the appearance changing with the changing tide. Not far from the shrine is the Mount
Eboshi observatory. This is one of my favorite places in Tsushima. Once you
make it to the top of the stairs, you can see a 360 degree view of the Aso Bay, as
well as many of Tsushima’s smaller islands also in Toyotama is Anago tei, a
restaurant specializing in conger eel, which is caught locally and sold in many
different parts of Japan. And just South of that is Mitsushima where Aso Bay
Park is located. It’s a popular place for camping when the weather is nice, but
besides that it’s a nice place to take in the nature of the area, explore, and
even see some of Tsushima’s Taishu horses. Also in Mitsushima is the
Manzeki Bridge. The canal below it was artificially made in 1900 for Japanese Navy warships to pass through. Now, besides being used for transportation it’s a
great place to see the view of the ocean below it. If you like hiking, Mt. Shiratake in Mitsushima is a challenging hike with a great view from the top.
There’s also a sea kayak tour I did with Tsushima eco tours in Mitsushima. You can explore the water of Tsushima with a guide and maybe even try Tsushima’s tea
and sweet treats along the way. And finally, Izuhara. Izuhara is the
largest and most southern town of the island. It used to be a castle town, so
what better way to start than by visiting the Shimizuyama castle ruins?
Not only can you see the ruins of a castle from the 1590s, but also a great
view of Izuhara. Apparently, this castle was constructed
back in the day because of a man named Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who had a plan to
conquer Korea so he needed a castle on top of a mountain. Well…I don’t think his
plan worked out, but you can take a short hike to the ruins of this castle to see
the nice view. Not far from the castle ruins is Banshoin Temple. It’s the
family temple of the Soh clan and was built by Soh Yoshinari in the year 1615
to pray for his father’s happiness in the next world. Leading up to this temple
is a 100 steps staircase and along the way you can see some really old trees
and beautiful nature. Ayumodoshi Nature Park is also a beautiful area in
Izuhara with a river and a nice place to walk around or explore. One
place I went to a lot in Izuhara is the kaiten sushi restaurant, where you can
order on a tablet and get good quality fish for not too bad of a price.
There are so many other cool places in Tsushima that I wasn’t able to put into
this video, but if you’re nearby I really recommend stopping by and
checking out Tsushima for yourself. If you want to see all of the places in the
video, you’ll probably need to rent a car but I really enjoyed my time on Tsushima-
it’s such a unique place and it’ll always have a special place in my heart.
If you leave a comment, let me know which place in Tsushima seems the most
interesting to you. And if you liked this video, give it a thumbs up and subscribe
if you want to see what other videos I have coming up.

Thanks for watching ~~

18 Comments

  • Adrian Arnouse

    I’ve heard of hideyoshi toyotoama during my tour of Osaka castle. Supposedly united japan. So awesome! Love your videos!

  • Neon Leon

    Wow! What a beautiful experience this must have been! My favorite part would have definitely been the Shimizuyama Castle Ruins. I wonder if you can see the lights of mainland JP or SK from up there at night? Are you still in Japan now? Thank you for sharing these videos. They are so much fun to watch!

  • Gradacious

    Thank you for sharing. I feel a lot of people may never know about this part of Japan simply because of where it's located.

  • ミゲルルイス

    We are very glad you loved places in Tsushima. But most of visiters to the island are south koreans who have bad reputation such as graffiti, throwing away trash, going into private area and so on. Watazumi shrine recently announced they ban on koreans admission. It's so sad, i think, that such rude people come to visit Tsushima while visitors like you having consciousness and good manners admire japanese historical buildings and scenic beauties.

  • Yuma

    ive said it before and ill say it again , your voice is so soothing and relaxing. The place i would want to go is Kamitsushima beach, the place looks very untouched and quiet.

  • rarefaction curve

    I am very new to your channel but so glad that I discovered your channel. I am a Japanese expat who lives in Canada. At first I felt sorry that you had been assigned to such a "hekichi" (a remote place) for your program, but soon I found out that you had a time of your life there. I have not been to Tsushima, but it seems like (from your upload) that it has more Korean vibes? From your previous uploads, I learned that you went to U of C at Berkeley (that is the best one!!!! out of the 10 UC places, and you must be brilliant!!!!!). Looking forward to future uploads!

  • Holly Wickham

    this was utterly fantastic; a really beautiful view into such a calm and natural place. I really want to go to the Japanese inaka but as I don't drive, I know I'll be a bit more limited, so I'm searching for the perfect spot to travel to and explore. Good luck with your N3 – did you take it last Sunday or are you aiming in July? I'll be doing it in July in either London or Edinburgh. I bet living in a more rural area has been great preparation!

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