Yakushima, Kagoshima

Oct 24, 2011 19:14 댓글 없음


Yakushima’s Deep Forests

“Where’s the concrete?” was my first thought as the breathtaking river valley view lay below me. I had come to believe that Japan was a land of man-made concrete drainage ditches, but in Yakushima the water caught by towering green mountains tumbles over boulders and sheer rock faces in spectacular fashion. Rising out of the ocean, some 130 kms south of Kagoshima, this sleepy island, designated a UN World Heritage site is a haven for hikers and eco-tourists alike. Any trip to the island would not be complete without a visit to the ancient cedar tree, Jomon Sugi, believed to be 7,200 years old. There are two ways up to see the tree and both require roundtrip hikes of 10 hours as you ascend to 1300 meters. Along the way there are plenty of interesting sights to break your journey and you will probably be greeted by one of the many deer that roam the mountains. A less demanding but equally rewarding day trip is to Shiratani Unsuikyo, to walk amongst the scenery that inspired the famous cartoon film ‘Mono no ke hime’. The lush forest landscape shrouded in a thick green carpet of moss gives it an enchanting feel. Other things to do include trips to waterfalls, great beaches and out-door springs. For the more adventurous a number of eco-tours are on offer, including nature walks, sea kayaking, river-walking, snorkeling and diving. If your time is limited, renting a car will allow you to explore the whole island at leisure. There is a good selection of accommodation, often run by very friendly families and a ‘must eat’ is the local ramen, brimming with smoked mackerel fish. So, if you have had enough of the concrete jungle that is urban life in Japan, take a trip to Yakushima to relieve your eyes and refresh your spirit – you will not regret it!

Photos & text by Richard Lyle

Yakushima (Kagoshima Pref)
Yakushima Tourist Info: 0997-49-4010

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