Just back from Yakushima, and it was wonderful! Especially coming from Tokyo city centre!
would do the 30 minute trail as our kids are 4 and 2 and the 4 year old is pretty bone-idle(!) but they liked it so much we ended up on the 80 minute trail with them! They were fascinated by all the moss and bracken growing in the dark, damp forest.
These incredibly old pre-historic trees. Unfortunately there were also tons of incredibly pre-historic mozzies too, so I recommend a ton of mozzie guard for anyone thinking about going – we ran out!
The waterfalls were spectacular, and the beaches quite rocky, stony and corally (take jelly-shoes) but with fascinating rock pools and crystal clear warm water.
In the north west of the island are two beautiful sandy beaches, one where turtles come up and lay their eggs, and one for swimming.
Hiring a car is absolutely essential to get around, but driving there is really easy. There are lots of full-blown trekking courses that we were dying to do but just couldn`t with the children.
I was surprised how expensive the supermarkets were – pretty much on a par with Tokyo ones, but I guess it costs that much more to ship all the produce to the island, as most of the island is given over to the cedar wood trade.
We stayed at Morinokokage… (if you’re interested their website is at this URL.
Lovely little log cabins. Pretty basic but very clean and comfortable about 15 minutes drive from the ferry port.
I would recommend it!
FACTS ABOUT YAKUSHIMA ISLAND
Yakushima is particularly famous as a tourist attraction for the Jomon cedar tree of Yakushima that is estimated to be around 2100 years old (height-wise) or alternatively, 7200 years of age (perimeter-wise).
Yakushima’s unique remnant of a warm-temperate ancient forest is a natural World Heritage Site since 1993. The island is covered in dense forest noted especially for old growth Cryptomeria trees known as Sugi in Japan and magnificent Rhododendron.The highest point on the island is Miyanoura-dake at 1,935 metres (6,360 ft).
The centre of Yakushima Island, and parts of the island’s southern and western coastal lowlands were internationally recognised as a Biosphere Reserve under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme in 1980.
It is said to rain “35 days a month” on Yakushima, precipitation there is one of the world’s highest at 4,000 to 10,000 mm.
It is the southernmost place in Japan where there is snow in the mountains, often for months, while the ocean temperature is never below 19°C.
The “pristine” Yakusugi Forest of Manga fame inspired the forest setting in Hayao Miyazaki‘s film Princess Mononoke. The island was also seen in the 1996 movie where Rebirth of MothraMothra Leo laid his cocoons on one of the trees there.