18 February 2011

Yakushima 一日

Rule number one for Yakushima is: rent a car.

With our time on the island shortened due to the ferry cancellations we had exactly one day to visit the major sights, and this would have been impossible without a car. It was also fortunate that the hostel owner directed us to a place where we could rent hiking boots. As it turns out car rental places and outdoor supply rental stores are abundant.

View Yakushima, Kagoshima-ken, Japan in a larger map

We started our morning with a short hike at Shirtani Unsui Ravine where you can see some very old Japanese Cedar trees. And as mentioned before you can experience the atmosphere of Princess Mononoke. We weren't planning on the longest hike that would take us up to the oldest tree because we didn't have the time, and the longer parts of the trails were closed anyway because of the snow. Despite the shorter trail you'll have to bear with a lot of pictures of fantastic peaceful greenery and wonderful trees.

Next we visited some more lava fields which were different from the ones on Sakurajima. Again, I'm no geologist, but the different colours and formations were really interesting.

For lunch we just pulled off the road at a place which has that run-down appearance you get in the Japanese countryside. But we didn't have to worry because the food turned out to be great and the people were very nice. I also figured that the reason many establishments keep the bottle with the 三 for their regular customers is because it's the popular local drink. I happened to have drunk some of it the night before. Local food and drink points!

After lunch we went for another mini-hike, this time around Yakisugi Land, again a place dedicated to wonderful trees and information on them.

As the clouds parted and we could enjoy some of the afternoon sunlight we visited Ōko waterfall 大川の滝. Not the highest one, but according to my friend who visited before, you can see this one much more closely than the other one.

We then continued our trip around the island, now that we were in the protected forest area. We spotted some wildlife and got some great Totoro leaf pictures.

Finally the Banyan tree place was closed when we arrived there but we sneaked one picture as a memento.

For dinner we opted for yakiniku, including more local food points because we had sausages and cuts from the famous local black pig 黒豚. The citrus sorbet for dessert was also delicious!

After our smoky dinner we were happy to discover the hostel's lovely bathing facilities before we rested for our return trip the next day.

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