A travel guide: Amazing facts about Kunashir

Natural Jacuzzi tubs, a lake where the water is boiling, cascading waterfalls, and rare flora - all this exists on Kunashir, the southernmost island of the Kuril archipelago.

Jun 25, 2022 - 20:13
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A travel guide: Amazing facts about Kunashir

Translated from the language of the indigenous people, Kunashir means "black island". That is what the Ainu, the oldest inhabitants of the Japanese islands of Kamchatka, called it. A large part of its territory is covered with an evergreen forest of dark green color and almost black soil of volcanic origin and the magnificent volcano Tyatya casts a large dark shadow on the island. This is the southernmost Kuril island. It is only twenty kilometers away from the Japanese island of Hokkaido.

Kunashir is also attractive because there are four volcanoes of different types on a very compact territory of 1490 square kilometers. These are the Golovnin caldera volcano, the Mendeleyeva and Smirnov stratovolcanoes of complex morphology, and the Tyatya, a kind of business card of this island. In addition to differences in morphology, each of them has its own specific feature. For example, the volcanoes Mendeleyeva and Smirnov are known for their hot springs. From the gorge of the volcano springs a stream that further downstream forms a whole cascade of natural jacuzzis.

There are two lakes in the vicinity of the active Golovnin volcano – Goryacheye and Kipyasheye (Hot and Boiling). In Boiling Lake, a person could be cooked alive, because in some places the water is so hot that it is close to the boiling temperature. Jets of hydrogen sulfide and sulfur dioxide constantly erupt under the water and heat the lake. Due to lake precipitation, black sulfide-sulfur foam accumulates on the surface of the water, and the water has the color of lead. You can bathe in the Hot Lake. The water in it is an unusual turquoise color. These two lakes are connected.

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Tyatya, the largest and most beautiful volcano on this island, is almost inaccessible. Its base can be reached by motor boat, but only in good weather. The hike to the foothills takes a few days (not to mention climbing a volcano over 1,800 meters high).

Kunashir is also a state nature reserve. Rare species of plants that are never in the same area on the continent grow together here. Spruce trees are covered with vines and lichens, and bamboo grows next to the viburnum. More than half of the plants on Kunashir are listed in the Red Data Book of Russia (a government record of rare plants). An ecological trail has been built across the island, along which boards with information about local endemic species have been placed.

Post by: Rinna James