Explore Yakushima Island: Japan’s Nature Oasis

Embark on a virtual journey to Yakushima Island, a pristine natural wonder and UNESCO World Heritage site nestled in the heart of Japan. Immerse yourself in the lush greenery of ancient cedar forests, witness breathtaking landscapes, and explore the unique biodiversity that makes Yakushima a global treasure. Uncover the secrets of this enchanting island, known for its ecological significance and timeless beauty. Discover why Yakushima is celebrated as a World Natural Heritage site, inviting travelers and nature enthusiasts to experience the magic of this Japanese paradise.

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Yakushima

A few words about Yakushima

Yakushima Island is a small island with an area of ​​501 km2 located off the southern coast of Kagoshima district, Kyushu province. This island has a strange pentagonal shape, separated from Tanegashima by the Vincennes Strait with the island’s highest mountain Myanoura. Miyianoura mountain rises into the blue sky with a height of 1,935m, higher than any mountain on Kyushu island. In addition, the beautiful island also has more than 30 mountains with a height of more than 1,000m. This place is a unique temperate forest, and is Japan’s first world natural heritage. The subtropical climate and annual rainfall from 4,000 to 10,000 mm have given Yakushima the richest diversity of flora and fauna in Japan, especially cedar trees .

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Yakushima Island has rich biodiversity, especially plants

The Yakusugi forest consists of countless densely growing cedar trees. The cedar trees on the island are one of the oldest living trees in the country of cherry blossoms, with a lifespan of 3,000-3,500 years. Among them, there is a tree named Jomon Sugi with a measured circumference of 16.4m. According to botanists, the Jomon tree is estimated to have lived up to 3,000 years but according to local legend, this tree is 7,200 years old. This thousand-year-old cedar tree is located in the central area of ​​the forest, and to observe and admire it, tourists have to go quite deep into the forest, through many small trails.

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Jomon Sugi
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In Japan, the Jomon period ran from about 12,000 BC to the third century BC. Long-lived plants and trees on Yakushima Island are a valuable resource for botany and ecological research. In addition to plants, on the island there are also many rare birds that are threatened with extinction in the world, such as the Ryukyu robin or the Izu thrush .

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Besides, in the flora on Yakushima Island there are also many types of ficus trees such as Gajumaru or Ako at an altitude of about 200m above sea level. In areas with altitudes from 200-800 meters above sea level, there are trees such as Tabu, Chinquapin or green oaks all year round. At altitudes up to 1,600m is where the famous Yakusugi cedar lives. Not only that, the forest’s flora also records hundreds of flower species, including dozens of flower species that only exist in this forest. Moss growing in the forest is also extremely special. There are few places in the world where moss is as diverse as on Yakushima Island. There are hundreds of different species of moss thickly covering tree trunks and rocky outcrops.

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Yakushima’s excellent and clean ecological conditions are probably the reason why its people have one of the highest life expectancies in Japan.

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The flora on this island is extremely rich, because the rainfall here is quite large, it rains almost every day.

Coming to Yakushima Island, you will only see green, the top is full of green trees, the bottom is also covered with moss and low growing plants. Yakushima Island also has a very beautiful waterfall, Toriki Waterfall , this waterfall falls directly into the sea, on both sides of the waterfall are steep cliffs, water pouring from the waterfall into the sea creates an extremely impressive scene.

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Yakushima Island is recognized by Unesco as a Natural Heritage according to criteria (vii), (ix)

Criterion (vii): Yakhushima Island is a small island with a strange shape and is an ideal home for many tree species to grow, especially cedar – an ancient tree species in Japan.

Criterion (ix): Yakushima Island provides important data for research on biology, vegetation and interactions in lowland areas.

The entire island of Yakhushima is covered in green. This is a place that provides an important source of data for biological and botanical research, especially ancient plants that are thousands of years old.

Wildlife Wonders: Encounters on Yakushima Island

Yakushima is not only a haven for plant life but also a sanctuary for wildlife, including the island’s iconic inhabitants, the Yakushima monkeys. These monkeys, known locally as Yakuzaru, exhibit fascinating behaviors and are unafraid of human presence. Observing their social interactions and natural antics provides a rare glimpse into the interconnectedness of Yakushima’s ecosystems.

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For bird enthusiasts, Yakushima offers a paradise of avian treasures. The island is home to various species, including the Yakushimazuru, a unique sub-species of the Eurasian wren. The melodious songs and vibrant plumage of these birds enhance the sensory experience, making every birdwatching venture a memorable one.

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Coastal Serenity: Idyllic Retreats on Yakushima

Yakushima’s coastline unfolds as a picturesque canvas of nature’s artistry, offering idyllic retreats that beckon seekers of tranquility. Accessible through winding trails and enveloped in the lush embrace of the island’s flora, these coastal havens provide a serene escape for those yearning for a connection with both land and sea.

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Secluded beaches, framed by weathered cliffs and pristine sands, unveil themselves along the island’s perimeter. Their isolation adds an element of adventure, enticing visitors to embark on a journey to discover these hidden gems. The rhythmic lull of waves, accompanied by the symphony of birdsong, creates a soundtrack for relaxation, inviting moments of contemplation and introspection.

One such coastal retreat is Nagata Inakahama, a pristine beach renowned for its scenic beauty. Enclosed by rocky outcrops and shaded by verdant trees, it offers a secluded haven for those seeking solitude. The soft, golden sands invite leisurely strolls and provide a perfect setting for beachside picnics while the gentle waves lapping the shore create a soothing melody.

For those seeking a more immersive experience beneath the azure surface, the coastal waters of Yakushima reveal a world of marine marvels. Snorkeling and diving enthusiasts can explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful marine life. The underwater ballet of fish, coral formations, and marine flora enhances the enchanting allure of Yakushima’s coastal environment.

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Yakushima’s coastal retreats aren’t just destinations; they’re gateways to a deeper connection with nature. As the sun dips below the horizon, casting a warm glow over the landscape, visitors can revel in the beauty of the moment. These idyllic retreats, bathed in coastal serenity, offer a respite for the soul, making Yakushima an unforgettable destination for those who yearn to be cradled by the tranquility of the sea.

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Gloloy

I am not simply a nature lover but also a creator, conveying emotions and messages through writing and photography. Each of my works is an attempt to bring understanding and respect to the world around us.

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