Visit the famous Moss Forest, climb up to the lookout at Taiko Iwa, and/or hike the meandering forest trail over streams, rocks, and roots to visit the old tree called "Bugyo Sugi." We'll take a full day to explore the park
|Time: 6~7 Hours|
|Includes: Boxed bento-lunch with a hot beverage|
|Strength & Technicality||⚠⚠⚠▵▵|
|Weather Cancellations||⚠⚠⚠⚠▵ (Severe rain, flooding, etc.)|
Price per hiker:
|1 hiker: ¥15000 + ¥500 park donation|
|2 hikers: ¥12000 + ¥500 park donation|
|3+ hikers: ¥8500 + ¥500 park donation|
|*When hiking with others, please stay with the group.|
- Accident insurance
- Free hotel pick-up/drop-off>
What to Pack
- At least big enough to stash your rain gear and your water bottle. You'll want your hands free. A rain-cover is also nice, but please don't rely on it to keep your things dry! Alternatively, you can keep your things inside a plastic bag inside your backpack.
- Rain Gear*
- Including pants a jacket. It may be sunny in town, but cold and rainy in the mountains. A cheap poncho is NOT okay!
- Appropriate Clothes
- Quick drying synthetic materials are advised. No jean pants, please. Warm layered clothes especially in fall and winter.
- Hiking Shoes or Boots*
- Sneakers are okay only if you don't mind getting them muddy and slipping on rocks.
- Water Bottle
- A 500mL plastic PET bottle is fine. There's plenty of natural, potable water along the trail.
- Gloves, towel, personal items and medications, snacks for the trail, folding umbrella for eating or taking photos.
- You probably won't need sunscreen unless you are very sensitive. Bugs don't tend to be enough of a problem to warrant bug repellent, but please don't wear perfume. There are no bears in Yakushima.
About this hike:
Shiratani-Unsuikyo (Literally: White Valley of Clouds and Water) is a natural recreation forest in an area that receives nearly 10 meters of annual precipitation. Shiratani Unsuikyo Park is a great area for beginning hikers, but seasoned hikers will also enjoy the astounding natural beauty and root-covered trails. Signs of the force of water are everywhere, but on a typical day we can enjoy the brooks and mist. In clear weather, hike up past the famous Moss Forest (said to be the inspiration behind the scenery of the movie, Princess Mononoke) to the Taiko Iwa Lookout (a large rock at an elevation over 1000 m) for the most popular view of Yakushima's interior. On misty days, choose the "Bugyou Sugi Course" that passes from valley to valley and winds its way across streams and among some of the most beautiful forests of the island. If the weather is good we may choose to hike both of these trails.
This area was heavily logged in Edo times, but new trees have grown atop the old stumps, creating an intricately mingling system of trees and roots. We'll also pass by an old mountain hut and several ancient Yakusugi trees. A rich variety of plants flourish in the mist in the high-humidity, often growing on top of rocks or stumps or even each other. Deer and monkeys are sometimes spotted.
The path near the park entrance consists of a stone sidewalk, a large bolder, and suspension bridges. From there, the path follows an old path of rocks used by Edo-period loggers. This is not an evenly laid path. There are slippery roots, stones, and a water-crossing, and the last 10-minute climb to Taiko Iwa is quite steep, but we will walk at a leisurely pace. The trail down the "Bugyou Sugi Course" is even less refined, and you may feel that you have left the world of people and entered the world of deer.
Although there is a lot of up&down and we may hike ~6km down valleys, over streams, and over ridges, this is a very refreshing course if you are physically fit. And if you're a bit out of shape, or you prefer a slow pace for enjoying the moss, we can cover less distance and still enjoy beautiful scenery. Drink from cool brooks and listen to the birdsong. Take photos of the moss. Allow me to describe the flora and the geological history of the area as you like, and on warm days, if we get back early, we can dip our feet in the river at the end of the hike.
In the case of bad weather
This hike will be canceled if a severe weather warning is issued, or if conditions are conducive to flooding.
Alternative hikes may include Taiko Iwa or hikes in Yakusugiland.