Deep into the forests of Yakushima and walk among giant cedars.
If dramatic landscapes inspire dramatic stories, then the island of Yakushima is surely the backdrop for many epic tales. Indeed, this fantastical island seventy miles (113 km) south of Kagoshima has inspired storytellers throughout the ages, from ancient myths to modern animated films. Step inside this fairytale world to encounter misty forests, friendly animals, and cedar trees that are thousands of years old.
Start your trip in Kagoshima and discover the iconic volcano of Sakurajima that towers over the city. Spend the day with a local volcanologist to learn how every aspect of life in the area is affected by this powerful natural force, from the local topography to the foods grown and harvested here. A relaxing night at your hotel allows you to prepare for the adventure to come.
In the morning, set off for the island of Yakushima, thrusting up from the ocean to heights of over 6,000 feet (approx. 1,830 meters). Yakushima’s steeply sloping hills are covered in thick forest canopies concealing the beautiful and slightly mysterious landscapes beneath. After meeting your local guide, trek into the Shiratani Unsui Valley, famed as the visual inspiration for the beloved Studio Ghibli film Princess Mononoke.
Rejoin your guide for a full day of touring the island, from winding forest roads to towering waterfalls. However, the day’s main attraction is an off-train hike deep into the heart of the forest to discover an abandoned WWII encampment untouched for over 70 years. If you’re lucky, you may even encounter some of the island’s native ‘residents’- sika deer and Japanese macaques.
After exploring this remarkable landscape, return to Kagoshima to board a flight or train to your next destination.
Kagoshima: 1 night at Shiroyama Hotel Kagoshima
Located on a leafy hilltop, Shiroyama Hotel Kagoshima offers comfortable accommodation with commanding views of Kagoshima Bay and the iconic Sakurajima volcano. With its central location near restaurants, shopping centers, and museums, this is the perfect place to begin your adventure in Kagoshima.
Yakushima: 2 nights at Sankara Hotel & Spa
After a day spent hiking through the dreamlike landscapes of Yakushima, there is no better place to relax and rest some muscles than at Sankara Hotel & Spa. It offers world-class luxury spa services, tastefully appointed suites, and more, all within a spectacular setting.
Transportation to the meeting point (Kagoshima Airport)
The meeting points are Tsuruoka Station and Shonai Airport.