Is Tsushima Island a Real Place? Facts & Fictions

Is Tsushima Island a real place? Why does this question arise, actually?

Let’s know it first.

Ghost of Tsushima is an adventure and action based game of 2020 by Suker Punch Productions.

This game follows a fictional storyline, but surprisingly its setting is almost similar to a real island named Tsushima.

People, who have an immense interest in this topic search it on the internet: Is Tsushima a real island?

When they find out that a place named Tsushima really exists, they become curious to know whether the game represents this real place or not.

Well, don’t worry if you are one of those people.

Today, I am here to answer all your questions regarding this topic.

Just keep going through. Hopefully, all your confusion will disappear in the air.

Is Tsushima Island a Real Place

Though this place is widely known as Tsushima Island, it is actually an archipelago made up of more than 100 smaller islands.

But the question is, where is Tsushima located?

It is situated halfway between Kyushu and the Korean Peninsula.

Tsushima Island is the closest region to the Korean Peninsula. In fact, it is closer to Korea’s Busan than to Japan’s mainland.

However, unfortunately, Tsushima’s past is plagued by historical conflict.

Tsushima has gone through many turbulent events throughout history, starting with the Mongol invasion of Japan in the Edo era and, most recently, South Korea’s claim to the island.

At present, this Tsushima Island is a part of Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan.

Nowadays, it has become a widespread holiday destination among South Korean tourists. They come here to explore the lush flora and fauna of the island.

Now that we have known about the island, it’s time to learn about the game.

Ghost of Tsushima: Reality or Fabrication?

As I have said earlier, Ghost of Tsushima is a 2020 action and adventure-based game of Suker Punch Productions.

Though the game centers around some actual historical events, most of the characters and plot are entirely fictional.

The plot of the Ghost of Tsushima is based on thirteenth-century feudal Japan.

It follows the adventures of the last samurai on Tsushima, Jin Sakai. Here he needs to protect the island from Mongolian invaders while saving his uncle Lord Shimura and befriending other associates that he encounters throughout his journey.

See also  How Many Islands Make up Japan? : Find Your Answer

Apart from presenting the island’s history and side quests, this game also displays some of Tsushima’s mind-blowing sights through its fight sequences and visual cutaways.

Players have to explore the new areas and find collectibles for 100% completion of the game.

For instance, this includes visiting all of the hot springs and shrines found in the Ghost of Tsushima’s world.

So, from what I have discussed till now, we can be sure of the existence of Tsushima Island.

Some questions may arise in your mind at this moment.

Is Ghost of Tsushima based on a true story, or is it historically accurate?

Well, you can say on the one hand it is not entirely true, and on the other hand, it is not completely fictitious either.

How Does the Game Story Differ from the Original History?

Here I will discuss the three facts of the Ghost of Tsushima that are different from the real-life incidents.

1. Samurai Didn’t Use Swords or Armor in the 13th-Century

Though samurai are widely known to be experts in wielding swords in popular culture, they didn’t prefer swords at that time.

Many samurai used to fight with a bow and arrow while on horseback before using any kind of blade.

Bow and Arrow

Besides, the plush shogun armor that comes into your imagination with the word samurai wasn’t used at that time either.

Mongolians also preferred a bow and arrow to combat, but Ghost of Tsushima takes a lot of freedoms in terms of weapons.

2. No Single Person Stopped the Mongolian Invasion

In Ghost of Tsushima, Jin stands against the Mongolians and will likely find a way to repulse them by the end of the game.

However, in real life, no human similar to Jin exists.

Well after conquering Tsushima, the real Mongolian Army was defeated in Kyushu, Japan, by a hurricane in 1274. Another hurricane destroyed the attempt of their second invasion in 1281 too.

Jin is actually the personification of that hurricane, which was later mentioned as kamikaze, meaning Divine Wind.

Since then, kamikaze has been written mostly as a myth, though some modern scientists believe it really happened.

Giving rise to the controversy, director Nate Fox commented that the hero was not a hurricane; he was a man, and they truly acknowledged that change with his sword.

3. Ghost of Tsushima Characters Never Existed in History

At the initial battle for Tsushima, there was no one named Jin Sakai and his uncle, Lord Shimura. Both of the game characters are totally fictional.

See also  Must-visit Japanese Ghost Towns For A Spine-Chilling Experience 

Though the Sakai samurai clan had existed in real life for generations, it wasn’t established until the 14th century.

And the Sakai clan had never been directed by a man named Jin.

Also, there was no existence of the Shimura Clan in Japan.

In reality, Kublai Khan led the Mongol Empire during the First Mongol Invasion of Japan.

Tsushima samurai were directed by the island’s actual leaders, the So daimyo family, in the real world.

So, we have seen that some certain aspects of history have been bent for the sake of story-making in the game.

Right now, I am going to present the similarities and dissimilarities between the appearance of real Tsushima Island and the one that the Ghost of Tsushima displays.

Well, considering the overall appearance, you will find a notable difference.

When scrolling through images of Tsushima, I found out that it is not as colorful in real life as in the game.

Ghost of Tsushima represents the islands using all sorts of shades of red, green, yellow, and more, giving precise detail to the foliage.

However, the real island is immensely green and lush.

Well, it is understandable that the game wants to give players an aesthetically pleasing experience.

And that’s why they concentrate on colorizing the place as much as possible.

So, it seems that Ghost of Tsushima’s portraiture of the island of Tsushima is accurate to a great extent.

Okay, now be noted that some other places in the Ghost of Tsushima game, such as the golden forest or Mount Jogaku, don’t exist in real life.

They are just two places that are present only in the game.

Can you go to Tsushima Island?

You can go to Tsushima island to visit. There are lots interesting activities in Tsushima to do as well. You can check out the Eboshidake Observatory, Miuda Beach,  Kaneda Castle Ruins, Watatsumi Shrine,Tsushima Wildlife Conservation Center to name a few. To get to Tsushima island you can either take flight from Fukuoka airport or Nagasaki airport. There are also two ferries available from Hakata Ferry Terminal to Tsushima. 

How to reach Tsushima Island?

You can either take a flight or ferry to reach Tsushima island depending on where you are. There are flights available to Tsushima island from Fukuoka airport and Nagasaki airport. It takes about 35 minutes. Alternatively, you can also take the ferry from Hakata Ferry Terminal in Fukuoka. There are two ferry rides from here you can choose from. If you’re in South Korea you can take the ferry from Busan to reach Tsushima island. 

What To Do In Tsushima Island?

Komoda Beach

Komoda Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Japan, has been a famous tourist attraction of Tsushima Island.

See also  How Many Islands Make up Japan? : Find Your Answer

Komoda was the first site where the initial invasion took place in real life.

And similarly, the game also starts at this historic location. Komoda Beach sets the thrilling battle sequence for the Battle of Komoda Beach in Ghost of Tsushima.

Now you will find a memorial here that is dedicated to those lost souls in the battle while defending Tsushima island.

Shrines and Mt Shirataki

Multiple shrines are scattered throughout Tsushima Island. Like real life, you will also find a number of shrines in the game that can be visited.

The renowned online news portal, Japan Today, states that Mt Shirataki of Tsushima has likely inspired visiting mountain shrines in Ghost of Tsushima.

If you love hiking, you can consider going there as this spot has become a popular tourist destination, particularly among hikers.

Despite the steep slopes on the trail, it will reward you with wonderful views.

This area has a unique ecosystem, where both continental and Japanese fauna coexists. In addition to that, it is also a designated natural monument.

Kaneda Fortress

After the defeat in the Silla–Tang alliance in 663, the Japanese nation had constructed a castle on Tsushima Island as the front line of defense.

This ancient castle was built on a mountain crest known as Mt. Joyama in 667.

Russian artillery defending Port Arthur during Russo-Japanese War

More than 1,000 years later, the castle was rebuilt into a fortress, and huge gun emplacements were mounted on the eve of the Russo-Japanese War.

The ancient mountain fortress built by Japanese defenders and the modern fortress constructed just a century ago by the former Japanese Army, together are a designated special national historic site, where their extraordinary history unfolds.

You will also find Castle Kaneda in the Ghost of Tsushima, which is inspired by the real-life Kaneda Fortress.

Now you will only see the ruins of the fortress overtaken by greenery.

Tsushima Wildlife Conservation Center

The Saozaki Park-based Tsushima Wildlife Conservation Center was established to safeguard the critically endangered Tsushima leopard cat. These wildcats have reduced in numbers over the years because of habitat degradation and diseases. The purpose of the center is to keep the cats alive and prevent their extinction.

At the moment, the centre is breeding these cats in captivity. You can see these leopard cats  playing and eating in their enclosures. 

Open hours: Monday to Sunday; 10AM – 4:30PM 

Address: 2956-5 Kamiagatamachi Sago, Tsushima, Nagasaki 817-1603, Japan



All this time, I have answered your question about whether Tsushima Island is a real place or not.

I also discussed the similarities and dissimilarities.

So, I hope this write-up will help you clear all the confusion regarding this topic.

Thanks for reading this article.
/* */