The remote island of Yakushima became one of Japan’s first Natural World Heritage Sites in 1993. The mountainous island is 135 kilometers south of Kyushu, off the coast of Kagoshima Prefecture, and is a veritable hiker’s paradise. Many people take the Arakawa Trailhead to visit the Jomon-sugi, a massive cedar tree deep in the mountains thought to be over 2,000 years old. The journey is relatively flat and takes about 10 hours one way, and along the way you can see lush forests full of other impressive yaku cedar trees, and remnants of civilization like old railway tracks (which you follow for most of the hike) and former settlements. While on Yakushima, be sure to try some of its local specialties, like flying fish, boxed lunches wrapped in banana leaves, and local shochu.
Duration 1day / 9hours
Highest Point 1,292m
Elevation Gain 700m
Horizontal Distance 19.4km
* Duration is an estimate and may vary depending on route and pace.
Reference: Jomon Sugi Round Trip from the Arakawa Trailhead
From Kagoshima Port Minami-futo Wharf, take a two-hour ferry to Yakushima's main ferry terminal Miyanoura Port. From there, take the shuttle bus to Yakusugi Museum. From the museum, take a 35-minute bus ride to the Arakawa Trailhead.
Yakushima is home to Yakusugi cedar trees over 1,000 years old, pristine beaches, and Japan's best sea turtle nesting site
Japan’s mightiest, most ancient tree awaits you in the heart of Yakushima
Mossy rocks, ancient cedars, and great hiking trails that served as an anime setting