First group of Japanese tourists visits Kuril Islands
Japanese tourists for the first time have visited the Kurils, an island chain that disputed between Tokyo and Moscow for over 70 years, Sakhalin.info reported.
President Vladimir Putin and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe have met many times, most recently in September. The pair have discussed joint economic activity in the region and Russia’s tourism agency said this year it was hoping to attract Japanese tourists to the islands.
The group of 44 people arrived Wednesday for a four-day visit, including trips to a Japanese cemetery and a local history museum, Russian regional authorities said. The mostly elderly tourists were set to see two of the four islands in the Sea of Japan, which Russia calls the southern Kuril Islands.
Some Japanese people have visited the islands to see their ancestors’ graves earlier but there been no organized tourism. The group bought the tours in Hokkaido and arrived by ship, with each paying around $3,000.