Thursday, 8 May 2014


It seems like just last week, but it's now over a month since I visited Yakushima. On a long weekend at the end of March (a really good time to go), four other ALTs and I took the hydrofoil ferry from Kagoshima Port to the mist-shrouded island that inspired the magical anime film Princess Mononoke.

The views were breathtaking on every side. Little grey monkeys gathered at the sides of the twisty road.

Our first 'hike' was an easy couple of hours over boardwalks and dirt pathways, at Yakusugi Land, yakusugi meaning the ancient cedars that are dotted across the island.

It felt good to get out of breath in the cool, clean air.
At dinner, the drinks categories were "Love", "Lupin", "Star Wars" and "Strong", naturally. Our waiter lowered my "Red Lightsaber" to the table with the bvhoom-bvhoom sound-effects of the real thing.

The next day we chose the more challenging but still pleasant hike of Shiratani-unsuikyo-tozanguchi

There were plenty yakusugi to admire, and the often invisible path was subtly marked by ribbons tied to branches: just noticeable enough to feel you were still having an adventure, without getting lost.

The weather was crisp and dry and our surroundings luscious.

Hey there lil buddy

The last part of the climb was rather steep and crowded.
But the view was worth it! 

Freaked out by the tree demon
Our climb down was interrupted by only one instance of falling in the river. Poor Annica! She recovered admirably with the help of spare clothes and Jo's iPhone saving skills.

Evening sun

Luke really did very well putting up with us

In the evenings we headed to a great locals' spot, Onoaida Onsen, to soak our tired bones and feet and warm up.  
Sushi, beer and silly games of "Would you rather..." in the hostel followed. It was a wonderful start to the end of term break with four of my favourite people.

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