Yakushima, a designated World Heritage Site off the southern coast of Kyushu, is an island of extremes – starting with extreme beauty. A picture of contradictions, boasting a balmy coast, winter’s snow-capped mountains, and wet interiors, it appeals to nature lovers through its numerous natural bounties. A visit to Yakushima can be immensely satisfying, and very rewarding.
Perhaps the best features of the island are its cedar forests that hold some of Japan’s oldest trees, some of which are over 7,000 years old. The cedars give it the name “the island of ancient forest and water.” You could hike through the forests to enjoy the trees, but make sure you are armed with a good map and strong gear. People visit this island especially for its immense hiking opportunities.
There are various trekking routes you may take, for different levels of skill. The most popular runs through the cedar forest with a crystal clear river cutting through it. The view from the bridge is breath-taking, placing you in a surreal atmosphere. The trail is safe for children too.
Another trail follows the Shiratani Unsui-kyo Gorge, offering splendid views through its ascent to an altitude of about 900m. The high humidity results in beautiful waterfalls that capture your attention and refresh your path. You can see the forests of Yakushima spread out like a thick green carpet below you as you look down from the top of the trail.
This subtropical island has a mountainous interior, with some peaks that reach up to almost 2000m. Miyanoura-dake is one of Japan’s One Hundred Mountains, and is covered with snow in the winter. The mountains claim the rain clouds, bringing a lot of rain especially to the interiors. The dampness nourishes a rampant moss that creates a soft, green covering on almost every surface. Yakushima boasts over 600 species of moss. The mossy forests capture a sense of enchantment, and if you can put up with some rain, the almost eerie beauty of your surroundings will definitely hold you spellbound.
Away from the interiors, the coasts charm you with their own brand of beauty. Discover the secrets of the warm, coastal waters, the plentiful onsen, the tropical fish and attractive corals. You’ll also find the endangered loggerhead turtles on the beaches in summer.
Yakushima is a nature lovers paradise. So pack your trekking gear, camera with macro lens, and beach baubles and prepare for the adventure of a lifetime in movie-like surroundings that will bewitch you, mesmerise you, and keep you coming back for more.
If you are planning a trip to Yakushima in Japan, do not hesitate to contact your luxury travel designer Mr. Isao Numano.