A real place at the ends of the earth, the most mysterious region in Russia, made up only of islands. Sakhalin Oblast has a strong impact on its visitors. Rivers, waterfalls, hot springs, bamboo, a diverse wildlife, natural landscapes and mysterious volcanoes attract visitors from all over the world, in particular from Japan.
Today Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk mainly consists of typical Soviet-style buildings fr om the 1960s and 70s with several prewar buildings, which, by some miracle, have been preserved. Several of the architects were Japanese. The local history museum is an example of traditional Japanese architecture; it was built at the time of the Karafuto Prefecture (1905-1945) in the so-called teikan yoshiki (Imperial Crown) style. The city's other attractions include a railway museum, the Gagarin amusement park (with boats and a children's railway), a botanical garden and a small zoo containing 145 animals including a brown bear, Amur Tiger, wolves, raccoons and deer.
The Kuril Islands are difficult to reach. To visit these islands, you need to have the appropriate border permit issued by the FSB. Fewer than 2,500 people live in North Kurils on Paramushir Island. The active volcano Ebeko is just 7 kilometers away. The whole Kuril Ridge is made up of volcanoes, this means that there are plenty of thermal springs. Most visitors to the Kuril Islands come to climb volcanoes, see the lakes, capes and hot thermal springs. In the foothills of the active Mendeleyeva volcano, from wh ere hot water flows, is the village of Goryachy Plyazh (Hot Beach), famous for its springs; dozens of people come here to warm themselves in the open pools and get rid of various illnesses.
Mud volcanoes are quite an interesting and rare phenomenon; only about 700 mud volcanoes are known around the world. Four of them are in Sakhalin. The most accessible is Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, about 20 kilometers from the city near the village of Klyuchi. It is a geological natural monument, not just because it is beautiful. It looks like a big bald patch with a peak, from the top of which bubbles slimy mud emitting gas: a mix of methane, carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulphide. But in this bald patch, you can find the mysterious pleasure from the Earth's core, a certain chthonic, truly poetic inspiration for visitors. The local health resorts use volcanic mud in their spa rituals together with healing water from Sinegorsky mineral springs.