Yakushima

Yakushima "The island of life"

On Yakushima, located about 60 kilometers southwest of Kyushu, it is said to rain 35 days a month. This might explain the extreme annual rainfall of 4,000mm. Trees here, simply put, are huge thanks to the rain. It is a must-see for those wanting to experience a side of Japan that can be seen nowhere else in the country.

In 1993, approximately one fifth of the island was designated by UNESCO as a World National Heritage Site. That recognition puts Yakushima in the same bracket as other World National Heritage Sites such as Himeji Castle, Horyu Temple, and the Shirakami Mountains.

The extreme rise in elevation, from sea level to almost 2000 meters at its highest point, combined with the dramatic volume of rain created an eco-system on Yakushima whereby the lowlands resemble a jungle and the highest points have snow. It challenges one’s imagination, walking through the snow-covered peaks of the mountains that Yakushima is actually a subtropical island. Descend down below and you are surrounded by Yakusugi (cedar), ferns, moss, and fungi.

I make a special point of mentioning the Yakusugi because the cedar trees here on Yakushima defy reason. Take the Jomon Sugi. The age of this cedar is estimated to be anywhere between 2,600 to 7,200 years old. It’s huge. Really huge. It makes me want to speak the language of trees and ask what it has seen and heard.

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Yakushima (JAPANESE)

Forest of Yakushima / Trees in Yakushima

Jomon Sugi

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Jomon Sugi

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Wilson’s stump

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wilson’s stump

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Hana no e go(花之江河(はなのえごう))

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Ko-hana no e go(小花之江河(こはなのえごう))

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The highlands of Yakushima cool down in the morning and the evening despite it being a subtropical island freezing the water in ponds and streams.

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Waterfalls in Yakushima

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Senpiro falls (千尋(せんぴろ)の滝)

The Senpiro Falls

The 50-minute drive from the Miyanoura district, or the 25-minute drive from the Anbo district is well worth it. The Senpiro Falls flow from a huge monolith of granite of about 200 meters in width. The 60-meter drop will take your breath away. Life here is simply spectacular.

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Oko falls(大川(おおこ)の滝)

The Oko Falls

Chosen as one of Japan’s Top 100 waterfalls, the 88-meter drop can be seen by foot. Walk from the parking lot to the basin of the falls. It’s worth the stop.

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Ryujin no taki falls (竜神の滝)

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Miyanouradake (Mount Miyanoura)

Miyanouradake is known for being the highest peak in Kyushu. It is one of “Nihon hyakumeizan (100 mountains in Japan).”

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Miyanoura-dake (1,936m)

Main mountain climbing routes of the Miyanouradake

  • Yodogawa route  Kigensugi(紀元杉) – Yodogawagoya(淀川小屋) – Hananogo(花之江河) – Miyanouradake(宮之浦岳)
  • Jomonsugi route  Arakawa tozanguchi(荒川登山口) – Wilsonkabu(ウィルソン株) – Jomonsugi(縄文杉) – Shintakatsukagoya(新高塚小屋) – Miyanouradake(宮之浦岳)
  • Kusugawahodo route  Kusugawahodo(楠川歩道) Kusugawa (楠川) – Shiratani Unsuikyo(白谷雲水峡) – Jomonsugi(縄文杉) – Miyanouradake(宮之浦岳)
  • Anbohodo(安房歩道) Yakusugiland(クスギランド) – Ishizukagoya(石塚小屋) – Hananogo(花之江河) – Miyanouradake(宮之浦岳)
  • Nagatahodo(永田歩道) Nagata(永田) – Shikanosawagoya(鹿之沢小屋) – Nagatadake(永田岳) – Miyanouradake(宮之浦岳)
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Animals on the island

Yakuzaru and Yakushika, monkeys and deer, are the indigenous species that live only in Yakushima. Generally smaller than monkeys and deer living in the mainland, there is now a growing concern of the depletion of their population on the island thought to be caused by the disappearing endangered plants on Yakushima.

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Yakuzaru (yakushimazaru)

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Yakushika (yakushimashika,yakujika)

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Onsen in Yakushima

Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen

True to its name, this hot spring appears only at ebb tide. The springs are available, for obvious reasons, for bathing for only four hours each day. With no changing rooms or swimsuits allowed, how to take advantage of these waters adds to the allure and challenge for those willing to accept. If you want to soak in sulfurous springs that are said to help women with reproductive issues and those with rheumatism, neuralgia, here is a spot by which you can watch the ocean around you and enjoy yourselves.

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Hirauchi kaichu(undersea) onsen

Tide level table of Yakushima Island and Tanegashima area (Japan Meteorological Agency) 1

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Sanbonashisugi (三本足杉)

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Sanbonyarisugi (三本槍杉)

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Ships

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Jetfoil “Toppi”

Jetfoil “Toppi” of Kagoshima Syosen will make five round trips per day to the Port of Kagoshima, Yakushima Island the Port of Miyanoura or “the Port of Anbo.

Click here for fares, timetable, vacancies and reservations.








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