Follow rail road tracks and a steep but well-maintained mountain trail for this popular 22-km round-trip hike to Jomon Sugi, the largest tree on the island.
to Book This Hike!
|Time: 9~11 Hours|
|Includes: Boxed bento-lunch with a hot beverage|
|Strength & Technicality||⚠⚠▵▵▵|
|Weather Cancellations||⚠▵▵▵▵ (Extreme rains, etc.)|
Price per hiker:
|1 hiker: ¥17000 + ¥1000*park donation + ¥1380*bus ticket|
|2 hikers: ¥14000 + ¥1000*park donation + ¥1380*bus ticket|
|3+ hikers: ¥12000 + ¥1000*park donation + ¥1380*bus ticket|
|*Park donation is recommended from March, 2017, and may be included with bus ticket purchase.|
|*Bus tickets required from March through November.|
|*When hiking with others, please stay with the group.|
- Accident insurance
- Free hotel pick-up/drop-off
- Japanese boxed bento breakfast and lunch
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. Durability of the soles is important.
- 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, camera with ziploc bag, 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:
Come share in the story of Jomon Sugi!
This is not a technically difficult hike, and people of all ages can be found hiking this route. However, it is a long 22-km which can feel even longer in rain and near-100% humidity conditions. Most people only hike this trail if they have a special interest in seeing the famous Jomon Sugi tree. However, I think there is a lesson to be learned on this hike, as hikers start in a forest replanted about 40 years ago, continue on towards forests that have had 300 years to recover since Edo-period logging, and hike up towards an area still rich with thousand-year-old trees. The full-day hike covers net 700m altitude change (and a lot more up&down as the trail winds over streams and ridges) and lasts 9~10 hours. Beginning hikers are welcome so long as they exercise regularly.
We'll pass by quite a few thousand-year old trees, as well as giant stumps that have lasted since the Edo period and the site of an abandoned logging village. Wilson's stump--named for a famous plant collector--is another popular site before reaching Jomon Sugi, a cryptomeria tree that could be as old as 7,000 years by some estimates.. Hikers are usually greeted by deer and sometimes monkeys along the way.
From March through November, traffic to the trail head is restricted to buses and taxies. The bus ride from Anbo takes about 35 minutes to go over a ridge of 900m eleveation before passing the Odate Dam where the Yakushima Energy Co. gets almost all of its power and heading down to the Arakawa Trail Head at 600m elevation.
From here, trekkers follow 8.5 km of railroad tracks first laid by loggers nearly one hundred years ago. These pass through the site of the Kosugidani logging village, which was abandoned in 1970, on to the Okabu Trail. Here, the route takes a steep turn into the mountains. This trail is heavily-used, so most areas have been re-enforced with wood platforms and staircases. There are also many slippery roots and rocks, and the descent can be rough on the knees, but the route is easy to follow and we will break several times, including a stop for lunch on the way to the Natural World Heritage Site and Jomon Sugi. On the way, we will pass by quite a few thousand-year old trees, as well as giant stumps that have lasted since the Edo period, including Wilson's stump--named for the famous plant collector--which is estimated to have been 3,000 years old when it was felled. It is big enough for several people to enter to see the small shrine and spring inside.
The destination of this hike is Jomon Sugi. This Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) has a circumference-at-chest-height of 16.4m. Until recently was thought to have the largest girth of any Japanese cedar. (It turns out, there is a Japanese cedar in Niigata that is fatter around.) Since the tree is hollow, no one knows its true age. The most famous (but probably wildly inaccurate) estimate based on its size yeilds an age of 7,200 years old. However, carbon-dating can only verify 2,170 years, and most knowledgeable people believe the tree to be between two and five thousand years old. The mystery continues. . .
In the case of bad weather
This hike will be canceled if a severe weather warning is issued. When clients are obviously unprepared for sustained heavy rains, I sometimes cancel and substitute with a shorter hike around Yakusugiland.