"Ghost of Tsushima" is receiving a lot of well-deserved attention for its keen eye for detail, luscious graphics, and a cohesive gaming experience gripping enough for gaming comic Famitsu to award it a rare perfect score of 40/40. In the game, you play as samurai warrior Jin Sakai, one of the samurai tasked with protecting Tsushima from an incoming Mongol invasion. The game is set in the 13th century and features aching amounts of detail, especially in its gorgeously rendered island landscapes.
The Nagasaki Prefecture Convention and Tourism Convention have joined forces with the Tsushima Local Promotion Association and the "Ghost of Tsushima" staff to present a special tourism website patterned after the real-life locales you can find mirrored in the game. With this as a template, fans will be able to cross the boundaries of history and fiction to experience some of the stunning in-game sights for themselves; and the website throws in some basic facts and history about the island, too.
In the historical section of the website, the tourism board explains that Tsushima did come under Mongol invasion twice in the Kamakura period (between 1185 and 1333), and it’s these invasions that formed the inspiration for Jin’s counter-offensive journey. The website outlines the historical context, namely that the Mongolian army was eager to conquer Japan after a successful invasion of China and sent emissaries to demand their cooperation. When they didn’t receive a favorable response, the Mongol army stormed Tsushima’s Komoda Beach to gain a foothold.
▼ The first place the website recommends is Komoda Beach.
Though the site of the initial invasion, the beach now stands as a picturesque scenic spot complete with a shrine dedicated to the fallen.
The next spot is Mt Shiratake, which seems to have inspired the winding mountain shrine in the game. Revered as a sacred mountain since olden times, it’s now a popular trekking spot. There’s also an abundance of continental flora here in addition to the Japanese native verdure, so plant-spotters will definitely want to take a trip here.
▼ Gameplay footage of the Mountain Winding Shrine
The lineup of other attractions includes the breathtaking Watatsumi Shrine, where two of the shrine’s Torii gates are swallowed up by the sea as the tide rolls in each day; the ruins of Kaneda Fortress which date back to 1,350 years ago and have largely been reclaimed by nature; and the mystical Banshouin Temple, with its lantern-lined entrance stairway of 132 steps.
This site doesn’t just pick out travel spots, though; it supplies you with plenty of unique, fun things to keep an eye out for on your travels through Tsushima. Tourists are encouraged to visit in the period of mid-March to early April to enjoy the island’s characteristic flower, the Rhododendron mucronulatum ciliatum, go trekking up to the mountain shrine or kayaking at high tide.
And don’t forget the cuisine! There are some mouthwatering traditional meals spotlighted on the website, so if you are planning a trip to Tsushima’s idyllic shores you’ll have no shortage of tasty cuisine to enjoy during your stay.
▼ Iriyaki nabe, a hotpot that uses roasted chicken and fresh local fish.
▼ Conger eels or anago, which are said to be especially fat and flavorful on Tsushima’s shores.
▼ Kasumaki, a sweet bean roll cake served when feudal lords returned to their families. They make great souvenirs, too.
This certainly isn’t the first time a popular media property has boosted tourism, and it won’t be the last. We hope if you do take a trip to Tsushima once the option is available, you’ll get to enjoy all your favorite spots from the game…and discover even more hidden gems as well.
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