Photo:Σ64 on Wikimedia Commons

10 Best Things to See and Eat in Yakushima, a World Heritage Site

The island of Yakushima is said to have been the inspiration for the setting of the movie Princess Mononoke, one of the best-known works of Studio Ghibli. The island, a designated World Heritage site, is full of beautiful natural landscapes. It's also popular as a 'power spot' believed to give strength and rejuvenation to those who visit.

Here are 10 of Yakushima's top things to see, do, and eat.




Jomon-sugi, an old growth cryptomeria tree, tops the list of must-watch locations on Yakushima Island. The shortest access route to this renowned tree is Arakawa trail with a round trip of about 10 hours. The 10 long hours is made worthwhile by exquisite scenes. Reaching Jomon-sugi is said to bring tears of joy states a common word-of-mouth.

Route with splendid view – Shirotani Unsuikyo

Shirotani Unsuikyo is the area that inspired the forest depicted in the Princess Mononoke. The river flowing over and between moss-covered rocks really is a must-see.


Taikoiwa Rock


The panoramic-view of the forest in Yakushima from Taikoiwa Rock is amazing. One can have an extraordinary lunch here!

Photo by Hajime NAKANO on Flickr.

Kubiore Saba (Broken-necked Mackerel)

Kubiore Saba is a must-eat once you are in Yakushima Island. The dish is prepared after draining the blood of mackerel as soon as they are caught from the sea surrounding Yakushima Island. Soon after the necl of the mackerel is broken to retain freshness. The flesh of Kubiore Saba is firm and chewy. The sashimi prepared will be retained by your taste-buds long after you have returned from the island.

Photo by veroyama on Flickr.

Kame-no-te (Japanese goose barnacle)

Their shapes may be surprising for some. But it is a type of shellfish resembling the hands (forelimbs) of a turtle. Kame-no-te can be eaten boiled or can be used as the base of the broth for soup. The flavor of this strange shellfish resembles rich shrimp and you will get hooked to it once you have tasted it.

Photo by sota on Flickr.

Nagata Inaka-hama Beach

Nagata Inaka-hama Beach is one of most beautiful beaches in Yakushima Island. The beach is home to sea turtles and is famous as the biggest breeding ground for sea turtles. You may be able to witness the real-time breeding of sea turtles.




This Yaku-sugi said to be 3,000 years old and is visible from the roadside. It is the one of the oldest existing Yaku-sugi, at a 20-minute drive from Yaku-sugi Land.


Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen


This unique hot spring, where the bathtubs appear from the sea for about 2 hours during low tide. The vast expanse of sea spreads out before you, making this onsen truly a memorable experience. Be aware that Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen is mixed-bathing.


Sankara Hotel & Spa Yakushima


Sankara Hotel & Spa, Yakushima is an auberge-style resort hotel on Yakushima Island. It is recommended to stay at this resort hotel having tropical atmosphere in abundance to pamper you after a close excursion with Mother Nature. This being the only resort hotel on the island will provide you with an invaluable experience for a lifetime.


Yokko-keikoku Valley


At Yokko-keikoku Valley, you can enjoy outdoor activities including shower climbing and canyoning in the clear emerald waters of the river. Enjoy the thrilling natural experience along the beautiful river flowing through the island also designated as a World Heritage site.

Visit Yakushima Island and experience a memorable encounter with nature at its best!

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