Kagoshima: Yakushima Area
Between 3 to 4 hours from Kagoshima City by high-speed boat or ferry, the island of Yakushima is one of Japan’s most rewarding destinations. At 500km2 in area, it is a reasonably large island but one with a small population of just over 13,000 people residing in villages around the coast. The interior of the island is almost completely undeveloped and covered by old growth forest with many trees over 1000 years old. Sadly, much of the ancient forest was logged during the Edo Period however enough remains today that areas of Yakushima were afforded World Heritage status in 1993.
Today, an estimated 300,000 visitors head to the island each year to explore its beautiful forests. To do so, visitors need to stay on the island. Most accommodation is located nearby the coast with the greatest concentration around the islands two major ports towns, Miyanoura and Anbo Port. Accommodation varies from high-end hotels, basic guesthouses and self-contained options with prices varying by season and being at their highest during ‘Golden Week’ in late-April to early-May and the August summer holidays including ‘Obon Week’. Accommodation is both expensive and often books-out well in advance at those times of year.