Sakhalin Island is located in the east of Russia, to the north of and quite near Japan. It is comparable in size to the European countries of Austria, Switzerland or Ireland. Nature reserves, protected by the state, comprise 11.8% of the region's area. Tourists will be enchanted by the solemn cliffs, descending steeply to the waves, the waterfalls and numerous bird colonies inhabiting the area around the island’s small rocky islets, the remnants of the Japanese paths that criss-cross the whole island, and the legends about the island’s history. Travelling along the island, visitors find themselves in different climatic zones, passing from the wilderness of the taiga to subtropical forests, from the mossy tundra to the jungles of giant plants. A considerable part of the territory is covered with mountains.