Fun Things to Do in Yakushima | Travel Guide (2024) | Best Places to Visit
Welcome to Yakushima! Nestled in the southernmost part of the country, this enchanting island is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Known for its lush green forests, Yakushima is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a paradise for nature lovers. The island is home to ancient cedar trees, some of which are over 1,000 years old, creating a mystical atmosphere that transports visitors to a different time. With its diverse wildlife, stunning waterfalls, and pristine beaches, Yakushima offers a unique and unforgettable experience for those seeking tranquility and natural beauty. Whether you're hiking through the dense forests, relaxing on the sandy shores, or immersing yourself in the local culture, Yakushima is sure to leave a lasting impression on your travel memories.
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Things To Do In Yakushima
Yakushima is a beautiful island located in the southern part of Japan. It is known for its lush forests, stunning waterfalls, and diverse wildlife. Here are some things to do in Yakushima:
1. Hike through the ancient forests: Yakushima is home to some of the oldest trees in the world, including the famous Jomon Sugi, a cedar tree estimated to be over 2,000 years old. Explore the various hiking trails that lead you through these enchanting forests and marvel at the towering trees and vibrant greenery.
2. Visit Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine: This picturesque ravine served as the inspiration for the forest scenes in the movie "Princess Mononoke." Take a leisurely stroll along the well-maintained paths, cross the charming wooden bridges, and admire the moss-covered rocks and crystal-clear streams.
3. Bathe in the natural hot springs: Yakushima is blessed with numerous hot springs, known as onsens, which are perfect for relaxing and rejuvenating. Indulge in a traditional Japanese onsen experience and soak in the warm mineral-rich waters while enjoying the serene surroundings.
4. Explore the coastline: Yakushima boasts a rugged coastline with stunning cliffs, hidden coves, and pristine beaches. Take a coastal drive or go on a boat tour to discover the island's natural beauty from a different perspective. Snap some breathtaking photos of the dramatic cliffs and sparkling turquoise waters.
5. Go snorkeling or diving: The waters surrounding Yakushima are teeming with marine life, making it a paradise for snorkelers and divers. Dive into the crystal-clear waters and explore the vibrant coral reefs, encounter colorful fish, and if you're lucky, you might even spot sea turtles or dolphins.
6. Visit Yakusugi Land: This nature park is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the island's ancient cedar trees. Take a guided tour or wander through the park's well-marked trails to witness the majestic beauty of these ancient giants up close.
7. Experience sea kayaking: Paddle along the calm waters surrounding Yakushima and enjoy the tranquility of the sea.
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Best Time To Visit Yakushima
The best time to visit Yakushima is during the spring and autumn seasons. In spring, which is from March to May, the island is adorned with beautiful cherry blossoms and lush greenery. The temperatures during this time are mild, ranging from 15 to 20 degrees Celsius. Autumn, from September to November, is another ideal time to visit Yakushima. The island is transformed into a colorful paradise with vibrant foliage. The temperatures during this season are also pleasant, ranging from 15 to 25 degrees Celsius. Summer in Yakushima, from June to August, can be quite hot and humid, with temperatures reaching 30 degrees Celsius. Winter, from December to February, is the coldest time to visit, with temperatures dropping to around 5 degrees Celsius. However, if you are a fan of snow-covered landscapes, this could be a great time to visit. Overall, the best time to visit Yakushima is during the spring and autumn seasons when the weather is mild and the island is at its most beautiful.
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Best Areas To Stay In Yakushima
Yakushima offers several great areas for accommodation.
1. Miyanoura: Miyanoura is the main port town of Yakushima and is a popular choice for accommodation due to its convenient location. It offers a range of hotels, guesthouses, and ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) that cater to different budgets. Miyanoura is also home to various restaurants, shops, and amenities, making it a convenient base for exploring the island.
2. Anbo: Anbo is another popular area for accommodation in Yakushima. It is located on the eastern coast of the island and offers a tranquil setting surrounded by lush forests and mountains. Anbo has a few hotels and guesthouses that provide a peaceful retreat for nature lovers. The area is known for its beautiful hiking trails and proximity to attractions like Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine and Jomon Sugi, a famous ancient cedar tree.
3. Onoaida: Onoaida is a small hot spring village located on the southern coast of Yakushima. It is known for its therapeutic hot springs and offers a unique accommodation experience. Visitors can find ryokans and minshukus (family-run guesthouses) that provide traditional Japanese hospitality and access to rejuvenating hot baths. Onoaida is a great choice for those seeking relaxation and a chance to immerse themselves in the island's natural beauty.
4. Kurio: Kurio is a coastal area in Yakushima that offers a more secluded and remote accommodation experience. It is surrounded by stunning beaches and offers a peaceful atmosphere away from the busier tourist areas. Kurio has a few guesthouses and vacation rentals that provide a tranquil retreat for those looking to unwind and enjoy the island's pristine coastline.
Overall, Yakushima offers a range of accommodation options in different areas, allowing visitors to choose the one that best suits their preferences and interests. Whether you prefer a convenient location, a tranquil nature retreat, a hot spring experience, or a secluded coastal getaway, Yakushima has something to offer for everyone.
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Transportation To Yakushima
There are several transportation options to Yakushima.
1. By Air: The most convenient way to reach Yakushima is by flying to Yakushima Airport (KUM) from major cities in Japan such as Tokyo, Osaka, or Fukuoka. There are daily flights operated by Japan Airlines and ANA.
2. By Ferry: Another option is to take a ferry from Kagoshima Port to Miyanoura Port in Yakushima. The ferry ride takes approximately 2-3 hours and there are multiple departures per day.
3. By Bus: If you are already in Japan, you can also take a bus from major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, or Fukuoka to Kagoshima, and then transfer to a ferry or a domestic flight to Yakushima.
Once you arrive in Yakushima, there are local buses and taxis available for transportation within the island.
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Nearby Destinantion From Yakushima
1. Miyanoura: The largest village on Yakushima, known for its beautiful harbor and access to hiking trails.
2. Anbo: A charming coastal town with a bustling fish market and stunning views of the ocean.
3. Koseda: A small village surrounded by lush forests, perfect for nature lovers and hikers.
4. Hirauchi: Famous for its natural hot springs and picturesque beach, offering a relaxing getaway.
5. Kurio: A quaint village known for its traditional thatched-roof houses and tranquil atmosphere.
6. Onoaida: Home to the famous "Hell's Valley" hot spring, where visitors can witness volcanic activity up close.
7. Yudomari: A coastal village with crystal-clear waters, ideal for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.
8. Nagata: Surrounded by stunning mountains, this village offers breathtaking views and opportunities for outdoor activities.
9. Koshima: Known for its population of wild monkeys, visitors can observe these fascinating creatures in their natural habitat.
10. Yoshida: A peaceful village with a rich cultural heritage, featuring traditional festivals and historic sites.