Off to Yakushima, A World Heritage Site

Experiencing the force of Nature of Yakushima

  • Off to Yakushima, A World Heritage Site
  • Off to Yakushima, A World Heritage Site
  • Off to Yakushima, A World Heritage Site
  • Off to Yakushima, A World Heritage Site

Yakushima is a round-shaped island with a 130km circumference, located about 60km south-west of Cape Sata, forming part of the Ōsumi Islands, along with Tanegashima and Kuchinoerabu-jima. With an area of 500km², it is the seventh largest island in Japan. You can drive around Yakushima in about 2 hours. Despite being very small, Yakushima has as many as 46 mountains over1,000m-high, called the Offshore Alps. With 7,200-year-old cedars and a rich flora, Yakushima was registered as a World Heritage Site in 1993. 90% of the island is covered in approximately 1,500 plant species that make up 70% of the indigenous species in Japan. For its extraordinary biodiversity, Yakushima is known as “the Asian Galapagos”.
“It rains 35 days a month in Yakushima”. The saying was supposedly penned by author Fumiko Hayashi while doing research for her novel Floating Clouds, and clearly describes how rainy it can be in Yakushima. The steam rises from the warm Kuroshio Current over the mountains and forms clouds, causing heavy rainfalls from March to June. Even when the island is not struck by a typhoon, rain falls to different degrees at least once every other day in summer and autumn.
Yakushima’s typical fauna includes the deer and the monkey, which are slightly smaller than common Japanese species, with an estimate of 3,000 deer specimens, and 2,000-3,000 monkey specimens. You can also see dolphins and large sea turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs from March to August.
Trekking, climbing, waterfall explorations and photo tours are a few of the many activities you can do in Yakushima. If you are looking for something different and unique, you can take a tour, which includes a night walk in the woods and turtle watching, a mystical experience with Nature as a soundtrack. If you are lucky, you may see turtles coming ashore to nest and turtle eggs hatching.
Every day there are five flights from Kagoshima Airport to Yakushima. It takes about 40 minutes by plane. There are also high-speed boats connecting Kagoshima and Yakushima in about 2.5 hours. Finally, there are also ferries which take about 3h45m.
There are many specialities that you can have in Yakushima exclusively, like the flying fish, served both cooked and raw, or miso soup with shellfish and crustaceans. A popular ingredient, kibinago is a small fish of the herring family. Other delicacies include frog crab, broken-neck mackerel and deer. In addition to the local cuisine, a number of French and Italian restaurants, gelato shops and fancy cafés are available.
In order to preserve the environment pristine, there are no large-size hotels and resorts. Guesthouses get the lion’s share. Notwithstanding its small size, Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima offers the amenities of a modern resort with spa. On the Yakushima Tourist Association website you can find information about guided tours and accommodation-Yakushima Tourist Association

Author : The Slowear Journal


Yakushima  | Kagoshima  | World Heritage Site  |

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