The Kuril Islands or Kurile Islands in Russia's Sakhalin Oblast region, is a volcanic archipelago that stretches approximately 1,300 km (700 miles) northeast from Hokkaido, Japan, to Kamchatka, Russia, separating the Sea of Okhotsk from the North Pacific Ocean. There are 56 islands in total and many more minor rocks.
Most of the islands are densely vegetated where the terrain allows — in higher areas the vegetation is tundra-like or absent. Flora comprises broadleaf forest, dark coniferous forests, open woodland, grassland and the alpine tundra zone. Vegetation becomes more luxuriant and taller from north to south as the climate becomes milder, eventually allowing the growth of dense stands of Kuril Bamboo on Urup. On all of the islands vegetation type is strongly affected by the vertical relief as well as the islands geographical position within the Kuril chain. Typical Kuril flora includes species such as Alder, Siberian pine, Spruce, and broad leaf forests of Yew, Mulberry, Japanese Stone pine, and Oak.
Things to See & Do
* Northern Fur Seals
* Bird watching
Cruise Season – Jan - Dec
Currency – Ruble (RUB)
Language – Russian
Population – 20,500 approx
Land Area – 15,600 km2
Electricity – 2 perpendicular flat pins USA style or with a round pin below
Time - GMT plus hours nine hours
International Country Telephone Code – +7
Port Location – Visitors to the Kuril Islands leave from the Port of Korsakov.
Travel Links – The largest nearby Russian cities with airports are Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk to the west on the island of Sakhalin, and Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky to the north. The former's airport has flights on domestic carriers to Yuzhno-Kurilsk and Kurilsk.
Travelers going to the Kuril Islands arrive most quickly via plane from Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, but it is also possible to take a slower ferry from Sakhalin to Kunashir and on to Iturup.