Sakhalin Island, Russia
Pretty close to Japan on a map, and seven time zones from Moscow, this Austrian-sized island in the heart of the Sakhalinskaya Oblast has been Russian-run since WWII. Tenacious travelers will be rewarded, as most of Sakhalin is a wild forest full of bears, 5,000ft mountain tops, epic fishing rivers, islands teeming with seals, and untouched slopes.
Distance to the US: 4,417mi to San Francisco, CA
How to get there: You could access it from its Japanese neighbor, or you could be adventurous and start in Moscow, then take the Trans-Siberian Railway across the continent to Khabarovsk, a ferry to Komsomolsk, another train to Vanino, another ferry to Sakhalin, and THEN a minibus to your hotel.