Wŏnsan is a port city and naval base in southeastern North Korea. It is the capital of Kangwŏn Province. The population of the city is estimated to have been 331,000 in 2000. Notable people from Wŏnsan include Kim Ki Nam, diplomat and Secretary of the Workers' Party. Wonsan opened as a trade port in 1880. Its original name was Wŏnsanjin , but it was also known by the Russian name of Port Lazarev (Lazaref). Under Japanese rule (1910-45) it was called Gensan. In 1914 the Pyongwon Line and Gyeongwon Line railways were opened, connecting the city to Pyongyang (then known as Heijo) and Seoul (then Kyongsong). Thus, the city gradually developed into the eastern product distribution center. Under the Japanese occupation, the city was heavily industrialized and served as an import point in the distribution of trade between Korea and mainland Japan.
Most of North Korea, including Wonsan, is not accessible to foreign tourists. However, nearby Songdowon is a famous sea bathing destination for North Koreans, as the water there is exceptionally clear. Pine trees are abundant in the surrounding area, and it has been designated a national sightseeing point. Songdowon International Children's Union Camp was built beside Songdowon, and it still receives teenagers and youth for cultural exchange between North Korea and various foreign countries. Famous scenic sites near Wŏnsan: Myongsasimni, Lake Sijung, Chongsokjon and Mt. Kumgang. Temples in the area include the Sogwangsa and Anbyon Pohyonsa Buddhist temples. German Church is the former church of Tokwon abbey, now used by Wonsan University of Agriculture.