Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Yakushima Travel Guide
basic information

Yakushima is a subtropical island off the southern coast of Kyushu and part of Kagoshima Prefecture. It is covered by an extensive cedar forest that contains some of Japan's oldest living trees. Trees more than 1000 years old are affectionately called yakusugi (a combination of Yakushima and the Japanese word for cedar, sugi), the most ancient of which may be over 7000 years old.

The island's cedar forests were logged extensively throughout history. Their most common use was to make cedar shingles during the Edo Period. Today the forests are a national park and some areas were declared a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site in 1993.

Yakushima has become a destination for people who love nature and the outdoors, with lots of hiking, camping and nature watching all around the island. However there are many hotels and restaurants along the island's well developed coast, so you can rough it during the day yet spend your nights in comfort.

As a subtropical island, Yakushima sees lots of rain throughout the year, so much that the locals say it rains "35 days a month". While that may be an exaggeration, it does rain here often although sometimes only lightly or for short periods of time. In the island's mountainous interior, which reaches nearly 2000 m high, the rain can become heavy snow in the winter and hiking during this time is inadvisable.

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