Pilgrimage-style tourism isn’t just for religious devotees and fans of Game of Thrones anymore: The phenomenon is now available to players of the PlayStation 4’s hottest new open-world game, thanks to the Ghost of Tsushima tourism partnership. The Sucker Punch-developed samurai showcase is based on the real-life Japanese island of Tsushima, and the Mongol invasions that ravaged it in the 13th century. That makes for a prime opportunity to promote local sights and activities, and the Nagasaki Prefectural Government and the Tsushima Local Promotion Association have partnered with the game to encourage people to come and visit.
To that end, they’ve put up an informative little Ghost of Tsushima tourism page highlighting the real spots that are mirrored in the game. Also available in Japanese, the page gives some brief background of the game, and focuses on notable locations. Those locations include places like Komoda Beach (the site of the Mongol landings during the invasion), Mount Shiratake, Watatsumi Shrine, Banshouin Temple, and the ruins of Kaneda Castle. All these locations and more appear in Ghost of Tsushima‘s approximation of the island, and in the case of Kaneda Castle and other historical buildings, are recreated in close detail.
The Ghost of Tsushima tourism site also highlights suggested activities for would-be visitors. Tsushima’s natural landscapes make hiking and outdoor sports like kayaking and diving particularly appealing. The site even notes local cuisine and delicacies like Iriyaki-nabe (a hot pot dish of fish and chicken), Rokube noodles made from sweet potato starch, Anago eels, and Taishu soba, a dish of buckwheat noodles. Taishu soba in particular are interesting, as the site claims that they may be the first version of soba brought to Japan, owing to Tsushima’s status as a close point of trade between Japan and the asian mainland (“Taishu” is an archaic reading of the name “Tsushima”).
All this and more can be found on the site itself. Though international travel and tourism is currently restricted in many countries due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, one can at least make plans, or do some vicarious hiking in Ghost of Tsushima.
Ghost of Tsushima is available on PS4 now. Learn a bit more about the Mongol invasions of Japan here.