Yakushima - Japan Travel Guide - Japanspecialist


Ancient forest with thousand-year-old trees.

About Yakushima
Yakushima is a southern island whose UNESCO-protected rainforest has some of the oldest trees in the world. The amazing scenery was the inspiration for the beautiful anime film Princess Mononoke by Hayao Miyazaki. The island is easy to reach by ferry or plane from the city of Kagoshima, located on the southern tip of the main island of Kyushu. As the name suggests, the rainforest gets rainy so remember to bring both good footwear as well as raingear.

Hiking through the primaeval forest
Yakushima is a subtropical island with some of the world's oldest cedar trees. Many of the trees are over 1000 years old and some are up to 7000 years old. The island also has mountains that are up to 2km high. The terrain is unspoilt and therefore Yakushima is best experienced using a combination of car and foot. Use the car to get around the island and reach the unique scenery, then put on your hiking shoes and explore. You can spend days wandering around the breath-taking, UNESCO-protected rainforest. The beautiful cedar trees and moss-covered roots create a truly magical world of greenery. In the forests, there are both hiking routes up the mountains for experienced hikers as well as more comfortable routes where everyone can join. There are also springs, waterfalls, mountains and all kinds of exciting flora and fauna. The hiking routes are all marked in English, where the green route is simple with well-prepared paths and does not require much experience. If you do not follow the green line, you can follow the blue or red line, which requires more experience, good shoes, and in extreme cases camping equipment and food from home. If you visit or spend the night on the island's west coast, you will find an unspoilt beach where the island's sea turtles breed. Here you will find simple but fantastic guesthouses, where you can bathe in hot springs on the beach.

Other attractions on Yakushima
We recommend renting a car to get around the island. By car, you can also easily drive to the places you need to go - the beautiful beach, hot springs or extraordinary waterfalls. It is also recommended to take a walk along the whole or some of the island's very beautiful coastline - do so while it is bright because after dark the monkeys will come and take over!

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