Experience the mossy forests of Shiratani and the dizzying view from Taiko iwa on your way to the mysterious tree called Jomon Sugi, the largest tree on the island. Time-wise, this is the longest day-hike I advertise; I recommend this route only if you are seriously fit and active!
to Book This Hike!
|Time: 10~12 Hours|
|Includes: Boxed bento-lunch with a hot beverage|
|Strength & Technicality||⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠|
|Weather Cancellations||⚠⚠⚠⚠⚠(Extreme rains, flooding, etc.)|
Price per hiker:
|1 hiker: ¥18000 + ¥1500* park donation|
|2 hikers: ¥16000 + ¥1500* park donation|
|3+ hikers: ¥14000 + ¥1500* park donation|
|*The town of Yakushima recommends a voluntary donation of ¥1500 starting March, 2017.|
|*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.
- 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:
Follow the route of Edo-period loggers to get over the outer mountains into Yakushima's central valley before climbing up to the mysterious Jomon Sugi, a tree estimated to be anywhere from 2,170 to 7,200 years old. Timewise, this is the longest hike I offer, and honestly, I reccommend the route from Arakawa for most non-athletes. But if you run or practice sports several nights a week or exercise daily, this may be the hike to take to get to Jomon Sugi. It's two kilometers shorter than the route from the Arakawa Trail Head, but you have to climb up&down an extra 200 meters to go over a ridge on the way, and again on the way back.
We'll start in Shiratani-Unsuikyo (Literally: White Valley of Clouds and Water) Park and take the Kusukawa Trail to the famous Moss Forest. From there, we continue the ascent to the saddle point called Tsuji Toge, take an hour detour to climb up to the Taiko Iwa Lookout, and then descend to the train tracks that run alongside the Anbo River. The train tracks end in about an hour at the trail head for the Okabu Trail that leads hikers up into the World Heritage Site, and finally to Jomon Sugi. We'll pass by quite a few thousand-year old trees, as well as giant stumps that have lasted since the Edo period. Wilson's stump--named for a famous plant collector--is another popular site before reaching Jomon Sugi. Hikers are usually greeted by deer and sometimes monkeys.
The Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) called Jomon Sugi has a circumference-at-chest-height of 16.4m. Since the tree is hollow, no one knows its true age, but, based on this size, it has been estimated to be 7,200 years old, and until recently was thought to have the largest girth of any Japanese cedar. (There is a Japanese cedary in Niigata that is fatter around.) Howevever, layers of tefla evidencing a powerful volcanic eruption from a caldera near Yakushima 7,300 years ago make it difficult to believe that a tree could have started life in the area 7,200 years ago, and Jomon Sugi can only be carbon-dated back to 2,170 years. The mystery continues. . .
In the case of bad weather
This hike will be canceled if a severe weather warning is issued. If flood conditions seems likely, I may cancel and we can substitute with the course from the Arakawa Trail Head to Jomon Sugi and back. When clients are obviously unprepared for sustained heavy rains, I sometimes cancel and substitute with a shorter hike around Yakusugiland.