Most people come to Yakushima to see the cedar forests; however, there are a lot of things to see and do on the island besides hiking. There are a number of other outdoor attractions as well, including nature watching, snorkeling, scuba diving, waterfalls, museums and onsen.

One of the best ways to see the island is to take a drive around its perimeter. The mountainous slopes and cliffs along parts of the coast offer some excellent scenery, especially along the western coast where the UNESCO world heritage site extends to the sea and the roads are too narrow and winding for the buses to run.

Whether hiking or driving, you are likely to encounter Yakushima deer and monkeys, locally referred to as Yakushika and Yakuzaru. As in all national parks, do not feed or approach the wild animals.

In June and July sea turtles come ashore on the northwest and southwest beaches of Yakushima to lay their eggs. Special precautions are required to see them, and guided tours are available.

There are also a few hot springs around the island. Of interest are the coastal baths of Hirauchi Kaichu Onsen in the south near Yudomari. Its baths are notable as they are usually underwater except for a few hours before and after low tide.

Some attractions around Yakushima

  • Yakusugi Museum (Yakusugi Shizenkan)
    5 minutes by car from Anbo Port
    Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
    Closed: 1st Tuesday of every month, December 29 to January 1
    Admission: 600 yen
  • Environmental Culture Village Center
    5 minute walk from Miyanoura Port
    Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
    Closed: Mondays (or the next day if Monday is a national holiday), December 28 to January 1. Open every day during Golden Week and from mid July through August.
    Admission: 530 yen
  • Okonotaki Waterfall
    Just off the main road
  • Senpironotaki Waterfall
    10 minute drive from the main road

Getting there and around