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January 3, 2020 - Yakushima Drive - Kagoshima
For my third and last day on Yakushima, I decided to circumnavigate the main road around the entire island. It's roughly 130 kilometers long and can get quite windy on the West coast - but I was also hoping to see some fauna.
Traveling anticlockwise from Miyanoura, my first stop for the day was the Banyan Park located in Kumage. This site costs 240 yen to enter and consists of a few large Banyans right next to the ocean.
One thing to consider is how slow the drive is around the island - with the above picture showing you about as good as the road gets. I will say that views on occasion can be breathtaking though.
Towards the North West of the island - Yakushima has a beach where the largest number of turtles come to lay their eggs in Japan. Signs in English and Japanese stated that it is illegal to hunt and take turtle eggs.
Probably my favorite part of Yakushima was my drive around the West Coast where deer and monkeys can be seen on the road either sunbathing or eating food. Note that this side of the island has a very windy mostly single lane road.
This trip is best completed by experienced drivers - specifically if you are good at driving backwards. It's not fun seeing a bus come in the opposite direction and you have to reverse along blind turns. On a positive note - I'm more confident with my backing up now.
Another common problem in winter is the large number of monkeys who lay across the road and don't want to move. These monkeys moved - but don't look too happy about it......
My second stop was Okho waterfall which is literally a 50 meter walk from the main road.
One of the unexpected highlights of the day was the Yakushima Fruit Garden - which seems to be the pet project of an old man who runs short tours of the garden followed up with a fruit plate for 500 yen.
The man who takes you around the garden speak a small amount of English and points out the different fruit trees. Above is a small Jackfruit which will take a couple more months to fully grow.
Even though it is fun - note that the walkways are not what you would call extremely safe. If you watch where you are walking - then it should not be a problem. I could also see problems with mosquitoes in summer as well due to the large amount of water around.
One of the larger falls on the island is Ryujinno-taki. which seems to only be viewable from the main road. It was quite a steep distance to the bottom.
Senpirono Falls is located just a few kilometers from the previous falls - but this one is known as being one of the "Top 100 Falls in Japan". It's a relatively easy few hundred meter walk to the viewing platform.
The drive around Yakushima is really relaxing and is great if it's a slightly wet day since it rains so often on the island. Driving around the West coast when it's busy would be scary though. The above picture is from Senpirono Falls and shows an entrance to one of the more serious hikes on the island. For tomorrow - I'll be catching a flight back to Kagoshima and then seeing what the city has to offer.
Environmental Centre Village Centre (http://www.yakushima.or.jp/en/village.html)
Ohko no Taki (http://www.town.yakushima.kagoshima.jp/cust-facility/1441/)
Yakushima Fruit Garden (http://www.kagoshima-kankou.com/guide/10708/)
Nakama Banyan (http://www.pref.kagoshima.jp/suisui/pc/area/shima/2897/)
Onoma Hot Springs (https://en.unknownjapan.net/cards/2016/9/14/yakushima-onoaida-onsen)
Senpirono Falls (http://www.pref.kagoshima.jp/suisui/pc/area/shima/2886/)