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Jomon Sugi Round Trip from the Arakawa Trailhead

Trek to One of Japan’s Largest Cedar Trees.
  • Duration
    1Day 9Hours
    Highest Point
    1292m
    Elevation Gain
    700m
  • Skill Level
    Fitness Level
    Gear Level

Yakushima is an isolated island located approximately 135 kilometers south of Kagoshima prefecture. It became Japan’s first (UNESCO) World Natural Heritage Site in 1993.
Nearly the entire area of the island is mountainous, earning it the nickname “the Alps on the Sea.”
The Jomon-sugi cedar is located up in the mountains at a height of approximately 1,300 meters above sea level. Estimated to between 2,150 to 7,200 years old, the 16.4 meter circumference of its trunk is regarded as Japan’s thickest cedar.
Here, we introduce a route starting from the Arakawa Trailhead that walks the relatively flat path of a former rail car track and allows hikers to view a number of large Yakushima cedar trees.

Get off the public bus and start walking from the Arakawa Trailhead.
Of the 11 kilometer-long trail, approximately 9 kilometers will be walked along a rail car track.
Soon after you start walking the trail you will enter a tunnel.
After crossing Anbo-gawa (Anboh-gawa) River via Kosugidani Bridge, you will reach the Ruins of Kosugidani Village in approximately an hour.
Continue to walk the former rail car track until you pass the Kusukawa branch and you come across some toilets.
From here, as you continue to proceed while enjoying views of large Yakushima cedar trees including the 38.4 meter-tall Sandai-sugi cedar and the 22.8 meter-tall Nio-sugi (Nioh-sugi) cedar, you will come to the end of the nearly flat former rail car track and enter the Okabu (Oh-kabu) Footpath. There are toilets installed here as well.
Beyond from the entrance of Okabu Footpath, you will start hiking a proper trail with a large number of steps.
After proceeding approximately 500 meters, you will come across the large Wilson Stump (Wilson kabu). After walking approximately 800 meters from the Wilson Stump, you will arrive at the Meoto-sugi, a “married” pair of cedar trees.
Just past that is the large Daio-sugi (Daioh-sugi) cedar. It stands on a steep slope and you can enjoy a close up view of it.
After proceeding approximately 700 meters from the Daio-sugi cedar, you will finally arrive at the Jomon-sugi. In order to protect the Jomon-sugi, visitors are asked to view it from the observation deck installed a few dozen meters away from the tree.
Take the same path back.

Other Info

You can go inside the Wilson Stump, which has a spring and even a miniature shrine inside it.
The Wilson Stump is a popular photo spot because the sky is heart-shaped when you look up from inside the stump.
Although the Meoto-sugi cedars are around 3 meters apart, they are joined together by a branch and are said to take be nourished by each other’s trunks.

Notes

Yakushima sees a lot of rainfall, so make sure to bring rain gear.
When you are walking inside the tunnel soon after the Arakawa Trailhead, watch out for the railroad ties of the rail car track. Although there is lightning in the tunnel, many hikers start early in the morning, so it is a good idea to take a headlight.

Route Map

Elevation Map

Height (m)
Horizontal Distance (km)

Spec

Duration
1Day 9Hours
Highest Point
1292m
Elevation Gain
700m
Horizontal Distance
19.4Km
Skill Level
Fitness Level
Gear Level

On the Trail

Sleeping
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Eating
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Hot-Springs

Hirauchikaichu Onsen (Hot spring)

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Access

Yakushima is approximately 135 kilometers from Kagoshima in Kyushu, which is to the southwest of Tokyo. Kagoshima Airport is approximately a 2-hour flight from either Narita International Airport or Haneda Airport, approximately a 1.5-hour flight from Chubu Centrair International Airport, and approximately a 75-minute flight from Kansai International Airport. After transferring at Kagoshima Airport, the flight to Yakushima Airport takes approximately 30 minutes. Alternatively, take a public bus from Kagoshima Airport to Kagoshima Honko Port. From there a high-speed ferry ride to Miyanoura Port takes approximately 2 hours.
From Miyanoura Port, transfer to a public bus to the Yakusugi Museum (Approx. 50minutes). Transfer here to another bus to the Arakawa Trailhead (Approx. 35 minutes.)

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