Yakushima is an island located in Kagoshima prefecture and it is known as a unique place which inspired the setting of the popular Japanese animated movie “Princess Mononoke”. Visiting Yakushima might indeed make you feel like you’ve entered Hayao Miyazaki’s (the movie director) world of art. For anyone who loves nature and hiking, it is a treasured place and a home to many different kinds of flowers, as well as the famous “Jōmonsugi” - a thousand years old trees of Japanese cedar.
If you are lucky enough to go to Yakushima by boat from the island of Kyūshū via the Kagoshima harbour, you will be impressed by the scenery of the place that you are slowly approaching to: lush mountain forests that dive straight into the sea and peaks which rise to a height of almost 2,000 meters (Miyanoura peak etc.).
You will be able to find more than 15 different hiking trails for each level of difficulty. Be sure to head out with rain wear since it rains in Yakushima almost every day. However, entering the beautiful forest of cedar trees will protect you from the sudden rainfall.
Most of the hiking trails are located in the center of the island and can be reached by bus. The main road which surrounds Yakushima counts many bus stops which can take you there from 7 am to 7 pm. You can also spend the night in one of the many shelters near the trails.
From Yodagawa trailhead, you can easily reach the trail leading to Kuromi peak (1831m) and Miyanoura peak (1935m). At the beginning of the trail, you will be hike through the lush vegetation along the rivers, where the Japanese “shika” deer come to drink, while admiring the colour contrast of the green moss-covered rocks and the famous pink-red rhododendron flowers of Yakushima. Moreover, many Japanese macaque monkeys populate the forests and can be heard and seen almost everywhere. Approaching the top of the mountain, the vegetation will become increasingly sparse allowing you to have a great view of the valley.
Yakushima island is surrounded by fabulous beaches and on Inakahama beach, you can watch sea turtles coming to play during the night. Eggs laying season is from May to August. During the same period, you might want to try the delicious flying fish (tobiuo), and whether its grilled or in its raw sashimi form, we are sure that you will be delighted!