Dokdo Island is one of the most beautiful places in Korea. It is well-known for its natural environment and stunning views. Each year, over 130,000 people visit the island to enjoy its beauty. For hundreds of years, the island has been a Korean pride and national identity symbol. It is also a place of historical significance, as it was the site of a famous battle during the Korean War.
Dokdo is an island in the Sea of Japan between Korea and Japan, mostly made up of boulders and pebbles. Its surrounding sea is full of fish resources, as it is part of Korea’s easternmost territory.
Where Does the Island Get Its Name?
Dokdo is a group of volcanic and rocky islands off the Korean east coast. The island was formerly known as Usando or Gajido. Residents who resided on Ulleungdo, the closest island to Dokdo, named it Dokdo in 1882 because they noticed the area’s majority of rocks. The name “Dokdo” is taken from the term “dol” or “dok” in the local dialect, which means rock and the term “do,” which is a translation of Chinese characters from the word “seom,” which indicates island.
History of the Island
This tiny island, a political hotspot with a sordid backstory dating back to 512 A.D., has an exciting and contentious history. Since time immemorial, Korean and Japanese fishers have utilized the adjacent seas as a fishing ground. Since the 6th century, references to a possible Korean island called Dokdo have been found in historical texts.
For years, Korea and Japan have been squabbling over the island, with each country claiming it as its own. In 1905, Japan declared it a terra nullius (uninhabited land) and annexed it into its territory. Korea was a Japanese colony at the time, and had no authority to protest.
After World War II, the San Francisco Peace Treaty of 1952 gave Korea control over Jeju, Ulleungdo and Geommun-do. Dokdo was left out of the agreement and has been under Korean control. Japan still claims sovereignty over the islands, a major issue in Japanese-Korean relations.
Until Japan’s Shimane prefecture announced a “Takeshima Day” to inflame the already tense situation, visitors could not access it. On March 24, 2005, the Korean government opened Takeshima up to tourists.
Life and Habitat at Dokdo Island
While the islands are tiny, Dokdo is recognized for its bountiful fishing grounds and diverse sea life that inhabit them; including various types of seaweed and kelp and squid, Alaskan pollock, codfish, and octopus. Dokdo was a popular place for sea lions until the 1950s. The ecological diversity on the island has become well-known for its biodiversity. Scientists have noticed this, and Dokdo is considered a hotspot for biodiversity. The islets of Dokdo are volcanic rocks that formed long ago. The rocks are covered in a thin layer of soil and moss. Dokdo islets have various plant life, including eighty species of plants. There are also over twenty-two species of birds and thirty-seven types of insects living there.
There are a total of 45 people living on Dokdo. This includes one civilian resident, two government officials, six lighthouse managers, and forty coast guard members. Out of these people, over 3000 are Korean citizens who have listed Dokdo as their place of family registration. The last permanent resident is a woman named Byun Sin-yeol, who has resided there since 1991.
How to get there?
To get to Dokdo, you need to go to Ulleungdo. The only way to get to Dokdo is by ferry. The ferry makes two trips a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The trip takes about three hours each way.
The best time to visit Dokdo is from late May to early October when the weather is mild and there are few typhoons.
What to See on the Dokdo Island?
There are several things to see on Dokdo. The first is the Haenam Observation Deck. You can see all of Ulleungdo and an uninhabited island called Jukdo. You can also see a variety of birds and other wildlife.
The second thing to see is the Dokdo Museum. The museum has a variety of exhibits about the history, culture, and ecology of Dokdo.
The third thing to see is the Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1902 and is the oldest in Korea. It is also the only one that is still in use.
The small island is mainly made of volcanic rock, with some areas of lush grass. The warm and cool currents converge near the island, making it a great place for fish to thrive. Dokdo is also home to many different types of birds. The island was closed off to the public to protect its natural ecology.
Dokdo is a beautiful but disputed island. Despite its disputed status, Dokdo is definitely worth a visit! Whether you’re interested in its history, culture, or ecology, there’s something for everyone on this small island. So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head to Dokdo!
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