Japan Travel

Yakushima Moments

After two fairly intense hikes in Yakushima during the prior week, we took a day off to explore the perimeter of the island by car, stopping at waterfalls and beaches along the coast.

Senpiro-no-taki Waterfall (千尋の滝)

The strength of the 60m waterfall is such that it has created a massive valley from a wide granite bank. Enormous blocks of rock the size of houses lie at the base of the cliff.

From an observation platform opposite the waterfall, you can get a beautiful view of the mountains rising abruptly out from the edge of the coast.

Chukanhama Beach (中間浜海水浴場)

Heading clockwise around the island, we stopped at a rocky beach to stretch our legs and enjoy the beautiful weather. On the dunes above the beach was an enclosure keeping safe hundreds of turtle eggs waiting to hatch.

Yakushima is an important site for both the endangered loggerhead and green turtles to lay their eggs. Since the late 80’s they have been protected and visitors are not allowed on beaches at certain times of the year.

Ohko-no-taki Waterfall (大川の滝)

Ranked in the Top 100 Best Waterfalls In Japan and the largest in Yakushima, you can walk right up to the plunge pool of the 88m high falls. It was hard to hear yourself speak above to roar of the water.

Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen (平内海中温泉)

Late afternoon we went for a dip at Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen, one of a couple of natural hot springs along the coast which are accessible for a few hours each day at low tide.

Soaking amid the sounds of lapping waves was quite magical and perfect for our aching legs. 

Be aware that it’s a konyoku (混浴) onsen, that is to say, mixed au naturale bathing. There are no changing rooms and swimming costumes aren’t allowed so bring a towel if you’re feeling shy. More importantly, take off your shoes at the allotted spot near the donation box!

Anbo Port (安房港)

At dusk, we drove out to a spur overlooking Anbo Port. As with much of Japan’s fortified coastline, giant concrete tetrapods have been piled high to prevent erosion. They were a strange contrast to all the nature we’d seen that day.

A friendly fisherman told us if we came back at dawn the next day we might be able to see some of the famed sea turtles coming onto the beach.

Iso No Kaori (いその香り)

For dinner, we had some of the freshest sushi and sashimi I’ve ever tasted at Iso No Kaori near Anbo Port. An unexpected first for me was a fried flying fish! Everything was delicious.

Dawn

Three of us managed to drag ourselves out of bed at 4 am the next morning and drove back to the port. Unfortunately, there weren’t any turtles but we did witness a stunning sunrise.

Originally from the UK, David is designer and wanderer currently based in Tokyo. Prior to this, he lived in China and still returns frequently to continue exploring this vast and varied land. He started Randomwire in 2003 to chronicle his travels and occasional musings. Feel free to drop him a line.

2 Comments Add New Comment

  1. Really enjoying your posts on Yakushima. It’s a place I would love to go to sooner or later, not sure if I actually will manage it or not, but your posts are sure making me think about it. And if I never make it there, your posts are a reasonable substitute for the real thing, hehe… so thank you for sharing!

    1. Thanks Ian – Yakushima feels like a lost world of sorts; old-fashioned, sparsely populated and mostly unspoilt. I highly recommend a trip there if you are able to make it.

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