Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk: Wikis


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Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (English)
Южно-Сахалинск (Russian)
—  Inhabited locality  —
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk overview.jpg
View over a residential area of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is located in Russia
Location of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk on the map of Russia
Coordinates: 46°58′N 142°44′E / 46.967°N 142.733°E / 46.967; 142.733Coordinates: 46°58′N 142°44′E / 46.967°N 142.733°E / 46.967; 142.733
Coat of Arms of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.png
Coat of arms
Administrative status
Country Russia
Federal subject Sakhalin Oblast
In administrative jurisdiction of Sakhalin Oblast
Administrative center of Sakhalin Oblast
Municipal status
Municipal Status Urban district
Head (mayor) Andrey Lobkin
Representative body City Duma
Population (2002 Census) 173,600 inhabitants[1]
Founded 1882
Postal code(s) 693000
Dialing code(s) +7 4242
Official website http://yuzhno.sakh.ru/

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (Russian: Ю́жно-Сахали́нск) is a city on Sakhalin Island, Russia, administrative center of Sakhalin Oblast (which includes the whole island and the Kurils). The city was formerly called Vladimirovka between 1882-1905, then Toyohara (豊原) between 1905-1946. Population: 175,085 (2002 Census); 187,000 (2000 est.).

Central part of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk



Early days of Vladimirovka

The city began as a small Russian settlement called Vladimirovka, founded by convicts in 1882. The Treaty of Portsmouth in 1905, which brought an end to the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–1905, awarded the southern half of Sakhalin Island to Japan. Vladimirovka was renamed to Toyohara (meaning "Valley of the fecundity"), and was the prefect capital of Japanese Karafuto.

After the end of World War II, the Japanese portion of Sakhalin island was occupied by Soviet troops. Ownership of the city transferred back to Russia (then the RSFSR) and it was renamed Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, meaning Southern Sakhalin City in Russian.

This Japanese D51 steam locomotive stands outside the Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Railway Station

Economy and infrastructure

Due to significant investment from oil companies like ExxonMobil and Shell, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk has experienced substantial economic growth. Although this growth has primarily occurred in the northern part of the island, both companies maintain headquarters and residential complexes in the city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk itself. The demand for natural resources by the Japanese, Chinese, and South Koreans has ensured continued prosperity in the foreseeable future for the entire island.

There has been significant criticism, including from PolPred Kamil Iskhakov, that Sakhalin is not caring for its citizens. Despite sizable gas deposits and incoming investments from gas companies, the regional administration does not yet have plans for the installation of gas services on the island. The oblast also continues to have the highest rate of juvenile crime in all of Russia, and more than 40% of its businesses are unprofitable.[2]

Yuzhno Sakhalinsk museum in Japanese days
Yuzhno Sakhalinsk museum today (2008)

Out of very few remaining Japanese buildings in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, one now functions as the local museum.


It is served by Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport. The city is also the hub for the island's narrow gauge railway network, built under the Japanese administration in the early 20th century.


Institutes of higher education in the city include Sakhalin State University and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk institute of economics, law and informatics. Also there are some branches of other high schools:

  • Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk institute (branch) of Russian State trade-economics university
  • Branch of Far East State university of railways
  • Branch of Modern Academy of the humanities
  • Branch of The Pacific State ecomnomics university
  • Branch of Russian economics academy named after G.V. Plekhanov
  • Branch of Far East law institute

Geography and climate

The city is located on the Susuya River (also called the Black River), at 46°58′N 142°44′E / 46.967°N 142.733°E / 46.967; 142.733. It is the largest city on the island of Sakhalin, and the only city with more than 100,000 inhabitants. The straight-line distance to Moscow is 10,417 km.

Due to restrictions, foreigners wishing to leave Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in order to travel to any other part of the Sakhalin Oblast and its internal and territorial waters are required to seek permission from the Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Border Guard. Scuba diving and recreating on the seacoast is permitted only in places defined by the Border Guard.[3]

The climate is humid continental (Köppen Dfb) with mild summers and very cold winters. The annual precipitation is much higher than in interior Russia and summers are distinctly cooler than in Khabarovsk or Irkutsk. There is frequently fog during this season, which serves to reduce the amount of sunshine.

Weather data for Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) -8
Daily mean °C (°F) -13
Average low °C (°F) -18
Precipitation mm (inches) 48.3
Sunshine hours 133.9 142.3 186.0 194.4 200.9 208.3 171.1 156.2 187.2 163.7 115.2 100.8 1,960
Source: [4] 2009-11-08


Most residents are ethnic Russians, but there also exists a sizable population of Koreans. Of the 43,000 Sakhalin Koreans, half are estimated to live in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, comprising roughly 12% of the city's population. Also smaller numbers of indigenous minorities, such as Ainu, Nivkhs, and Oroks can be found.

International relations

Twin towns — Sister cities

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is twinned with:

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Russia : Russian Far East : Sakhalin : Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk (Russian: Ю́жно-Сахали́нск) [1], also spelled Uzno-Sakhalinsk and previously known in Japanese as Toyohara (豊原), is the largest city and capital of Sakhalin Oblast, in the Russian Far East, with a population of around 173.000. And a booming oil town.


The city was founded in 1882, as the village Vladimirovka, but was transferred to Japanese control after the end of the Russo-Japanese war. The Japanese renamed the city as Toyohara, and made it the capital of the Japanese prefecture Karafuto occuping the southern half of the island. After the end of of World War II, soviet troops occupied the Japanese part of Sakhalin, and the city was renamed Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk when ownership of the city was transferred back to Russia. Apart from a very limited number of Japanese buildings, including the impressive old goverment building, now a regional museum. The main heritage of the Japanese ownership of the city, is a sizable number of Sakhalin-Koreans, deported here by the Japanese in the 1930s, and denied repatriation until the mid 1980s, many have decided to stay on Sakhalin, and around 20.000 reside in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

Further information available

See also the itinerary Russia to Japan via Sakhalin for more information on the northern connection between the Trans Siberian railway and Japan

Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Airport (IATA: UUS, ICAO: UHSS) fields flights from major Russian cities as well as several asian cities. Sakhalins own carrier; SAT Airlines [2], has its main hub here and operates several domestic routes, as well as flights to Korea, Japan and China.

  • Russia: Aeroflot and Transaero operate flights to and from Moscow, while SAT Airlines and S7 Airlines have useful connections to the major far eastern cities of Khabarovsk and Vladivostok.
  • Korea: Asiana operates flights to Seoul-Incheon several times a week.
  • Japan: SAT has frequent flights to Sapporo as well as less frequent ones to Hakodate and Vladivostok Air has charter flights from Tokyo, though they are not shown on the timetable on its website.
  • China: SAT services Beijing and Harbin airports.
The station in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, is the main transportation hub for the entire island
The station in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, is the main transportation hub for the entire island

For towns close to Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, it's often an easier and more convenient choice to jump on a bus, while the trains is main mode of transportation to destinations on the northern part of the island. It's a good idea to confirm these times as train schedules apparently change fairly frequent.

  • Korsakov: Various trains departs daily at 05:30,13:45 and 19:44 except on public holidays.
  • Okha: Daily train 1, departs at 6.50 in the morning, and runs across most of the length of the island to Nogilki in the north, from where there is a connecting bus to Okha.
  • Alexandrovsk-Sakhalinsky: To get here, catch the train 1 above, and change to a connecting bus in Tymovsk.

By bus

The parking lot outside the train station doubles as a bus terminal, where both scheduled.- and - leave when full - minibuses regularly departs for other parts of the island. The minibus is often the best choice, as the public buses are often slow, uncomfortable, and worn out.

  • Kholmsk: Bus 516 and 518 departs on top of the hour, every hour between 8.00 and 21.00, the latter continuing onwards to Nevelsk for access to Moneron. While the mini bus takes around an hour and costs 400 Rubles.
  • Korsakov: Bus 115 shuttles between Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk and Korsakov every 30 minuttes between 7.00 and 22.00 and takes around 90 minutes, and costs around 100 RUB. Double the price and you can catch a minibus that takes half the time.

From the ports of Kholmsk and Korsakov, it is possible to catch a ferry to Vanino on the mainland, or Wakkanai in Japan respectively. Check Bi-timo listed below to purchase tickets.

Tour & Travel Agencies

While frequently visited by workers in the oil industry, Sakhalin has a very undeveloped tourism sector, if you don't speak Russian and don't have an abundance of time, enlisting the help of travel agency to see the sights you want to see, is probably necessary for all but the most adventurous travellers.

  • Bi-tomo (Би-томо), 1-1 Sakhalinskaya Street, +7 (4242) 72-68-89 (, fax: +7-50985-61217). Is a local travel agency specializing in Japan, and selling tickets to the Korsakov -Wakkanai crossing (note that Sakhalin-Fantastic, who used to sell tickets no longer seems to be in business)  edit
  • Mishka Tour (Мишка тур), Khabarovskaya st 29-B, +7 (4242) 461770 (), [3]. One of very few agencies which arranges tours to the Vaida caves, which should only be visited with a guide and the necessary safety equipment. Can also help with fishing trips to the lake Tunaycha region.  edit
  • Omega Plus (Омега-Плюс), Kommunistichesky Pr. 86, +7 (4242) 723410 (), [4]. Are the most frequent operator of tours to the Kuril Islands, and probably your best bet for ferry tickets there as well.  edit

Get around

Intracity transportation is provided by a network of a few public busses, running along the main avenues. And large number of minibusses running in set routes, but with no particular schedule

Buses 63 and 68 provides connections to and from the Airport


The drab rows of Soviet style concrete blocks that makes up much of the islands capital is really not that interesting for travellers, especially not the ones who have been adventurous enough to come here in the first place. On the other hand there should be enough to entertain you for a day while you get your bearings, and organize things to venture out into Sakhalins great outdoors - and you really owe it to yourself to get out there if you have come this far. If you're short on time and only here to catch a ferry, skip these sights and hike up Chekov Peak - the trail head is a muddy dirt road just behind the Santa resort, the whole hike takes around 6 hours if you're in reasonable shape.

Sakhalin regional museum
Sakhalin regional museum
  • Chekhov Literary and Art Museum (Городской литературно-художественный музей книги А.П.Чехова), 42 Kurilskaya St, +7 8 (4242) 42-3349, [5]. Tu-Sa 10-18. Housed in 1954 building somewhat reminiscent of Chekhov's house, there are some items from the everyday life of Anton Chekhov and his family as well as a collection of some of his artworks, and naturally copies of Chekhov's book "Sakhalin Island" in various languages from all over the world, as well as a Facsimile edition from 1895 20 rubles.  edit
  • Sakhalin Regional Art Museum (Сахалинский областной художественный музей), 137 Lenin St, +7 (4242) 72-3643. Tu-Su 10-18. opened in 1989 in the building of the former Japanese bank "Hokkaido Takuseku" from the 1930s. The three permanent expositions include: "Copies of Ancient Russian Frescos", "Art of Japan", and "Art of Korea". Foreigners 15 rubles.  edit
  • Sakhalin Regional Museum (Сахалинский государственный областной краеведческий музей), Kommunistichesky Pr. 29, +7 (4242) 72-7555 (), [6]. M-F 11-18 exept Tu 11-17. (pictured) Housed in the the former Japanese regional goverment building dating back to 1937, the museum hosts exhibitions about the islands natural and climatic features, as well as the history of Sakhalin and a quite good ethnographic collection of the islands indigenous peoples. Foreigners 60 rubles.  edit
  • Sakhalin Zoo (Сахалинский зооботанический парк), Detskaya St 4A, +7 (4242) 72-4509, [7]. Daily: 11-17.30. Russian zoo's are depressing, and this one founded in 1993 is no exception, though they seem to be genuinely interested in improving conditions, limited funds have thus far prevented any major improvements. They have 145 species up for display, mainly fauna related to Sakhalin like wolves and brown bears. 80 rubles.  edit
  • Chekhov International Theatre Center (Сахалинский театральный центр Чехова), Kommunistichesky Pr 35, +7 (4242) 42-5262, [8]. Really not that much "International" about it, this theatre in a - for a frontier region - rather unusual art nouveau building has roots back to the 30'ties, it sometimes have musicals and concerts on the repertoire, if sitting through 2 hours of incomprehensible Russian is not your thing.  edit
  • Gagarin Park (Парк им. Ю.А. Гагарина). Scrappy but loved, the 220-acre Gagarin Park is a nice place for a stroll, supposedly the largest in the far east and something of a leisure center for the local population. The park features athletic facilities, adventure playgrounds, a lake with small boats, a miniature railroad for kids, a zoo and a run down amusement park. On the eastern corner of the park there is a trail head leading up the hill for a nice view over the city.  edit
  • Gorny Vozdukh Ski center (горнолыжный комплекс 'Горный Воздух'), Gorkogo 7/1, +7 (4242) 742416 (), [9]. 12AM-22PM. is a alpine complex located within Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk city proper. It has nine runs (1 black, 5 Reds & 3 Greens) and three lifts, including a spanking new 2.5 km gondola lift. There is also a bit of English information on the local snowboarding federations website [10]. From 100 RUB for 1 ride, to 750 RUB for 6 hours or more.  edit
  • Sakhalin Diving (Сахалин Дайвинг), 77/71 Chekhova St, +7 (4242) 429738 (). This PADI dive shop can help with tours to Moneron island, listed in the Sakhalin guide. There is also a diving club on Kommunistichesky Pr. 19 (DKS@sakhalin.ru/42-26-91)  edit
  • Sakhalin Regional Puppet Theatre (Сахалинский областной театр), Karla Marksa St 24, +7 (4242) 42-3498 (), [11]. While mostly geared towards children, some of their show are actually quite extraordinary, so it might be an option for a rainy day, even if you don't have kids. They are quite renowned within Russia and even booked abroad occationally.  edit
Market street in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk
Market street in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk

There is a sizable market at the corners of Lenina & Sakhalinskaya, where you can stock up with fresh fruits and vegetables, an outfit for your next 80'ties party, or cheap Chinese goods. A bit more useful is the electronics stalls for new batteries and the like.

  • Black Cat (Черные кошки), 34A Chekhov Street (Just off Popovicha street hidden away in an alley, look for a sign with a black cat), +7 (4242) 420263. Dishes out Russian and European meals, in a pleasant atmosphere with Jazz music on the stereo. 250 - 400 Rubles.  edit
  • Domino Café, 65 Popovich Street, +7 (4242) 423431. is the place to go for a cup of cappuccino or espresso. Has a reasonably priced menu, and a playground for kids outside.  edit
  • Pacific Cafe, 32 Kommunistichesky Avenue (inside the Sakalhin center), +7 (4242) 727008. Daily: 8AM-8PM. Is an expat hangout, with reputedly the burgers in town, and some European dishes on the menu. Meals from 300 Rubles, Espresso from 50 Rubles.  edit
  • Slavyanka (The Russian Kitchen), 45 Sakhalinskaya Street,, +7 (4242) 429667. noon-10PM. Serves up Russian and Ukrainian Cuisine, and is a good place for local dishes, not to forget mentioning that it has an English menu. For something this remote, it's interresting to note that this restaurant was actually reviewed and praised in Time magazine [12]. From 600 RUB.  edit
  • Taj Mahal, 38 Antona Buyukly st., +7 (4242) 499488, [13]. M-Th 11.AM-11.30PM,F-Sa 11.30AM-0.30PM,Su 11:30AM-10PM. Something as odd as an Indian cuisine from a Japanese franchise. which offers the usual popular Indian dishes, in Russia! To further add to the oddness it's also the sole outlet of the only Sakhalin guidebook "Sakhalin Unplugged".  edit
  • Toyohara, 246A Lenina St., +7 (4242) 741486. Daily: noon-10PM. A nice place if you fancy some Asian cuisine. Good Chinese-style stir fry and a mainly Japanese menu.  edit


Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk is a rather youthful town, so the nightlife is rather happening considering it's size. If the weather is nice, an alternative to the bars listed here, is hanging out with the locals in the beer tents dotted around Gagarin park.

  • 777, 71 Chekov st., +7 (4242) 429462. Is a large club on Chekov Street. two stories with a mix of local and international tunes. There are usually a few expats around, and there is a decent chance of finding the odd english speaking locals here.  edit
  • Jump, 56A Mira Avenue, +7 (4242) 726054. Is a night club with a young crowd.  edit
  • Mishka Pub, 45 Chekov st., +7 (4242) 422811. noon-midnight (weekends til 1am). located in the basement of the same building as Rubin hotel, this is a local expat hangout, mainly people from the oil industry. British style pub with the usual range of alcohol and pubfood. Staff speaks English.  edit


Due to the large amount of visitors connected to the booming oil industry on the island, there are are substantial number of good hotels in the city. Room rates however are very expensive, even by international standards, expect to pay at least 4000 RUB at single room at western style hotels.

  • Pacific Plaza, 172 Mira Prospekt, +7 (4242) 450-000, [14]. (Previously Ramada Plaza) A central 4 star business hotel, which opened in 2006. Rooms have Satellite TV, and separate bath and shower. WiFi via scratch cards purchased at the reception. Also has 2 restaurants, a couple of bars and business centre, all with English speaking staff.  edit
  • Rubin Hotel, 96 Popovich St., +7 (4242) 42-22-12. checkin: 2PM; checkout: 12AM. Reputedly one of the best hotels in town, has a decent British style pub downstairs. Singles from 4700 RUB.  edit
  • Mega Palace, 4 Detskaya Street, +7 (4242) 450-450, [15]. Is a massive, spanking new, 10 storey luxury hotel located just north of the city center. From 6500 RUB.  edit
  • Monoron, 86 Kommunistichesky Avenue, +7 (4242) 72-34-53. Seems to be the town's only budget accommodation. And is conveniently located next to the railway station. Singles from 550 RUB.  edit
  • Sakhalin-Sapporo Hotel, 181 Lenina Street, +7 (4242) 72-15-60. One of the longer running hotels in town, centrally located. Looks soviet on the outside but has been upgraded to Japanese standard on the inside. from 5000 RUB.  edit
  • Santa Resort Hotel, Venskaya str., 3, +7-4242-499177, [16]. checkout: 12 pm. Nice hotel located outside of Yuzhno in a beautiful and peaceful landscape. Very close to Gagarin Park. Has two overpriced restaurants with good European and Japanese cuisine though. Wi-Fi internet for additional cost and free Hotel-City-Hotel shuttle service. 200$.  edit
  • Japanese Consulate General (Генеральное Консульство Японии в Южно-Сахалинске), 234 Lenin Street, 5th floor, +7(4242)72-60-55 (, fax: +7(4242)72-55-31), [17]. Monday-Friday 10.00 - 11.30 except Thursdays 15.00 - 17.00.  edit
  • International SOS Medical Clinic, Kommunisticheskyi Pr 32, +7 (4242) 46-2900 (), [18]. M-F 9-16,Sa 9-noon. Professional outfit with emergency room and a wide range of English speaking specialists  edit
  • Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk Mud Vulcano This sight, a 90 minute drive outside Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, only appeared in 1959, and consists of several cones within a 15-acre (6 hectares) site of volcanic mud which erupt periodically. In many places you can see fumaroles bubbling through the mud. You can hike here, if you can find a local to act as guide, or you can hire some wheels, or arrange with a tour operator, to take you up the small dirt track leading to the site.
  • Lake Tunaycha The Lake Tunaycha area is a string of shallow lakes, including the islands largest fresh water lake, which runs along Sakhalin's western coast line.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:




Proper noun


  1. A city on the Sakhalin Island in the far East of Russia, administrative centre of Sakhalin oblast.



  • Vladimirovka (Владимировка, between 1882-1905)
  • Toyohara (豊原, between 1905-1946)

See also

  • Sakhalin (Сахалин)
  • Karafuto-chō (樺太, historical Japanese prefecture occupying south of Sakhalin island, an alternative Japanese name for Sakhalin)

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