Yakushima Island's climate ranges from subtropical to cool temperate, which has created a rare combination of vegetation: subtropical trees near the coastline, and chinquapin and laurel dominating higher elevations. Yakusugi—cryptomeria trees over 1,000 years old—are unique to the area.

The park's forests shelter many endemic creatures, such as Yaku shika (a subspecies of the sika deer) and Yakushima zaru (a subspecies of the Japanese macaque). Yakushima Island is also an invaluable nesting ground for loggerhead turtles.

The island of Kuchinoerabujima is home to many rare creatures, including the Erabu flying fox and Erabu black-banded sea krait.

Plants

Yakushima Rindo

Yakushima rindo (Gentiana yakushimensis) is a perennial plant native to Yakushima Island. It grows on rocky slopes at high elevations and produces bluish-violet flowers from August to September.

Yakushima rindo

Yakusugi

Yakusugi are large, old-growth cryptomeria trees on Yakushima Island, estimated to be somewhere between 2,000 and 7,500 years old. The largest of these trees is named the Jomonsugi. Yakusugi get their distinctive shape from long exposure to typhoons and strong winds. You'll find many of them in Yakusugi Land, a forest located at an altitude between 1,000 and 1,300 meters. 

Yakusugi

Animals

Loggerhead Turtle

Loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta) are found around the world. They have powerful jaws and feed primarily on shellfish. They lay eggs between May and July on Nagata Beach, which is their main nesting site in the North Pacific.

Loggerhead turtles

Erabu Flying Fox

The Erabu flying fox (P. d. dasymallus) is a fruit bat. It has a wingspan of about 80 centimeters, and feeds mainly on fruits and flowers. This creature is only found on Kuchinoerabujima Island and the Tokara Islands.

Erabu flying fox

More Plants & Animals