In ancient times, the land lay covered in forests, where, from ages long past, dwelt the spirits of the gods. Back then, man and beast lived in harmony, but as time went by, most of the great forests were destroyed.
🌲🌲 From Princess Mononoke
An island of mossy forests, and wild deer and monkeys; Yakushima is supposedly the inspiration for the beautiful scenes of the Anime movie, Princess Mononoke. A story of humans vs nature, right and wrong, and the balance of the life and death of creatures that share this planet, I fell in love with this movie, and knew I had to visit Yakushima and see it for myself.
From stepping off the ferry, you can see endless hills and mountains covered in thick forest, surrounded by bright blue ocean and rivers. The population and development of towns is extremely minimal here, and large areas of forest are protected.
Hiking through the thick, mossy forest was incredible. The scenery was stunning, and made me think so much of Princess Mononoke, that I could imagine the deer god just stepping out in front of my eyes.
Wild deer and monkeys can be seen in the forest and along roads leading up the mountains. On Yakushima, the deer and monkey are known to work together to get food high in the trees, where monkeys climb on top of deer to reach the fruit, and the deer can then eat the fruit that is dropped.
Yakushima is also home to the Yakusugi trees; massive Cedar trees that are thousands of years old. They can be seen throughout Yakushima, and many are within the Yakusugi land protected area.
Here, you can do half and whole days of hiking, as well as overnight hikes up the bigger mountains in the centre of the island, staying in huts.
Don't bother forking out for expensive accomodation, because the camping is beautiful! Even in summer, you will get a cool breeze in the evenings if you find a nice spot by the coast.
The cheapest, and most adventurous, way to get to Yakushima is on the overnight cargo ferry! Locals and backpackers alike sleep on mats on a carpeted floor while the ferry makes its way south to Yakushima, from Kagoshima.
Would you come to Yakushima and go trekking with the deer and monkeys? Can you imagine the deer god and all the enchanted animals of Princess Mononoke in these forests? Leave a comment below, and if you enjoyed my story, please follow or upvote 💜🌲