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Yakushima Tour

Forest Elders, High Peaks, and Friendly Deer


During the long weekend from Oct 8th to the 10th we headed off to one of my most favorite places in Japan to do a trek that a few of us have been wanting to do for some time. We headed to the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site of Yakushima. Click here to read more on Yakushima from the UNESCO homepage .

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I’ve been there a number of times and done a fair amount of hiking on the island but one hike I’ve been really wanting to do is the traverse from the Yodogawa trailhead up and over Mt. Miyanoura, (the tallest mountain in Southern Japan) down past the Jomon Cedar (one of the oldest living trees in the world) and then exiting from the Shiratani Unsuikyo Trailhead.

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On this trip as we would be exiting from a different trailhead we left the truck on Kyushu and took the Jetfoil over to Yakushima where we met up with a very nice and knowledgeable taxi driver who drove us up to the Yodogawa Trailhead and the start of our adventure.

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It was just quick jaunt until we hit the Yodogawa hut where we had originally planned to stay but because it was only 40 minutes up the trail we decided to push on and camped up at the “Hananoeigo” highland marsh, another one of Yakushima’s many treasures with deer and families of Monkeys all around.

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Once camp was setup and our tummy’s were full we sat around thinking of what we should do next and then a great idea came along…..NIGHT HIKE!!!

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Near our campsite is Mt. Kuromi, one of Kyushu’s top 100 mountains and from the top an outstanding view of the island and with the clear skies the sunset and the stars that followed were just beautiful. Not many people think about hiking at night but it is a TON of fun!!

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The next day was our longest hump so we woke up at 430 to get a good jump on the day and easily make it to the next campsite well before nightfall. We made such good time that after resting at the top of Kyushu for a while we decided to hike up the next tallest mountain, Mt. Nakata, a little further along the trail.

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From the top you could look all the way down and see Nakatahama, or Nakata beach which is the largest breeding beach in the North Pacific for the endangered Loggerhead Sea Turtle. The surrounding rock formations reminded us a lot of the Okue area of Miyazaki with the huge vertical slabs of granite.

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After working our way down we hiked back into the characteristic Yakushima forest and along with that came cloudy skies and the mist which makes the whole scene magical. Luckily it didn’t rain as is typical for the wettest place in Japan and we reached the Shintakatsuka Hut around 4pm, just in time to utilize the remaining daylight to setup our sleeping bags and get dinner on with friends we made along the way.

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The next day, once again started at around 4:00 with the inside of the hut coming alive with the sounds of hikers getting ready for the next adventure. We took our time and had a relaxing morning as we headed off towards Jomon at around 6:00. We reached to Monolithic tree a little over an hour later.

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Usually the tree is surrounded with picture taking hoards of people all jostling to get the perfect shot but because we got there first thing in the morning we could take as many pictures from whatever angle we wanted as apart from our team there were only 3 other visitors.

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After Jomon we worked our way down to Wilsons stump, the huge hollowed out cedar stump which when looked at from just the right angle you are rewarded with a heart-shaped surprise. After stopping for pictures we continued on our way first to the “Toroko Michi” or the small rail line which is also the lower half of the trail to Jomon.

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We followed this down about half way before heading up one last time, this time it was to Tsuji pass to link up with the Shiratani Unsuikyo trail going past the Princess Mononoke forest and down through some of the most beautiful forests you could ever think of and finally reaching the trailhead with our cab driver waiting with delicious Guava for us, picked for his own backyard!
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Like I said earlier, I have been to Yakushima many times but this was probably the best time so far. I have really wanted to do this traverse for a long time and to finally get to do it was a real treat!!

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Why not join us on our next trip there? It’ll be a trip you’ll never forget!!!


2011.10.18 | Comments(2) | Trackback(0) | ツアーレポート



2011-10-19 水 22:05:14 | URL | mie #- [ 編集]



2011-10-20 木 00:46:17 | URL | John #- [ 編集]



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