"The closest European City to Japan!!!" Top 5 Page for this destination Vladivostok by RoseAmano

Vladivostok Travel Guide: 230 reviews and 536 photos

We finally made it here!

Since around 1998, I was fascinated by this mysterious city which is so close to Japan yet seems so European in character based on what I read. As I also read about high crimes rate and mafia activities, we hesitated visiting till now, but once actually arriving there, found that such trouble was easy for the tourist to avoid, and had not one problem with "price gouging" or unwanted attention as tourists or the like at all. We rode random old buses to random locations, and really wanted to ride a train to a local destination!!!

Though we saw Chinese tour groups and buses, there is very little tourist infrastructure for the solo traveller at this time, so if you don't speak Russian you should visit with a survival Russian phrasebook or take some Russian Language Lessons. The alphabet is easily learned within a few days, and will help a great deal for finding places.
(In the meantime, if you would like to quickly learn Russian alphabet and phrases, please refer to this brilliant site: http://langintro.com/
There are nifty interactive lessons and reviews to test yourself how accurate you have learned!! I found this one week too late for this journey, but will prepare again for my next visit to Russia!)

We fell in love with this city and country, and can't wait to return again soon to see more far east cities and ride trains!!

Roots of the city meaning "Conquerer of the East"

Until the end of 19th century this area was a part of the Manchurian Dynasty, and in accordance with the Peking Treaty was established by the Russian empire from 1860 as a naval base subsequently having been steadily fortified as a strategic port location which provides a gateway to the Pacific Ocean via the Sea of Japan. In 1904, though there was disruption in sea trade routes due to the effects of the Russo-Japanese war, Vladivostok began to serve as the easternmost terminal of the Trans-Siberian Railway which also was completed near this time, thus having established valuable links to Moscow and Harbin. By 1912 even an international train route linked by ferry crossing between Vladivostok and Japan was established, which provided in those days the gateway for Japanese to travel to Europe. In Autumn 1922 the city administration was changed from the Far East Republic to Soviet rule, and as part of the Soviet naval military strategy from 1958 to 1991 the city was essentially closed to foreigners and non-residents.

Today, the population is about 600,000 people and the major economy is based upon shipping, shipbuilding, naval port operations and fisheries (majority of the cold water seafood consumed in Japan are imported by its northerly neighbour).

The easternmost terminal station..

..of the Tran-Siberian Railways ends in Vladivostok. The several trans-Siberian train routes include those going to Moscow, and others going to Harbin, etc. There are also seasonal ferry services between several ports in Japan.

We will one day return to journey through more of Siberia...

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Closest European city to Japan, Mighty potential as a major city with great location in Asia
  • Cons:Planes and Hotels relatively costly, Spend your extra time beforehand to learn Travellers' Russian!
  • Last visit to Vladivostok: Aug 2004
  • Intro Updated Mar 9, 2009
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