Yakushima Island | HIKES IN JAPAN

Yakushima Island

Yakushima is a nearly circularly island that is about 130 km around and located some 50 km south-southwest of Kagoshima Prefecture.

Around 90% of the island is covered in forests and nearly the entire island is mountainous. It has even earned the nickname “the Alps on the Sea” for its range of 1000-meter-class mountains. The tallest of these mountains is 1936-meter-tall Mt. Miyanoura (Miyanoura-dake). The climate on Yakushima ranges from subtropical near sea level to subarctic at high altitude. This precious natural scenery unique to Yakushima is the reason it became Japan’s first (UNESCO) World Natural Heritage Site in 1993.

Yakushima is known for having some of the heaviest rainfall in Japan. Visitors can enjoy unique scenery such as the mountaintop granite pagodas formed by erosion, mountainside gorges and waterfalls formed through erosion by the steep slopes and abundant rainfall, and dense virgin forests of Yakushima cedar and other trees.

The major hiking destinations include mountains such as Mt. Miyanoura, Mt. Nagata (Nagata-dake), and Mt. Kuromi (Kuromi-dake). It is also possible to take a traverse hike that connects multiple points of interest such as the Jomon-sugi cedar, Japan’s largest cedar tree, Shiratani Unsuikyo, known for its clear streams, moss-covered forest floor, and vast virgin forest as well as Hananoego, Japan’s southernmost alpine marshland.

There are also many points of interest around the feet of the mountains. This includes several large waterfalls including Oko Falls (Ohkono Taki) and Senpiro Falls (Senpirono Taki), and the forests of massive trees such as Yakusugi Land, Kigen-sugi, and the Shitogo Banyan Park. Yet another point of interest is the Seibu Rindo, which is home to a wide variety of wildlife including Yakushima Sika deer (also called Yakushika) and Yakushima macaques (also called Yakuzaru). Moreover, there is Nagata Inaka-hama Beach, which is famous for being a sea turtle nesting ground.


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