Sometimes, Yakushima is called as the alps on the ocean. Yakushima has a circular coastline and remarkable higher mountains located the central point of the island, which are over 1800 meters height. These mountains inner land is named Okudake That means hidden mountains. And several trials go up the Okudake area. The radially out trails are derived the tradition Okudake-mairi that each habit had own route climbing to the own peak of Okudake area. But recently these routes are very rare to use, Only two routes are selected for mountaineering purpose now.
First route is Okabu-hodo course which starts at Arakawa-rindo (forest road) and leads the Mt.Miyanouradake which sits the northern tip of the higher mountains. Another is the upper part of the Onoaida-hodo, usually which called Yodogawa-goya route and begins at the side of Anbo-rindo. After passing through the Yodogawagoya hut, the Trail climbing up to the Hananoego marsh and then reaches the summit area.
Both trail head can be approached with the road that starts at anbo located east side of the island. Some scheduled bus services are operated in tourism season for each.
Could you know the gidebooks for the mountaineering of the island ?
Hiking in Japan, Lonely Planet Publications, 2001,396-402p. However it was out of print now.
It must be prepared the newer edition.Lonely Planet Hiking in Japan by Richard Ryall will be released on 2009, although I cann't know that whether or not the book concerns about the Yakushima. Another guidebook is Hiking in Japan: An Adventurer's Guide to the Mountain Trails by Paul Hunt, published in 1988.It has the part for Yakushima on page 56 to 59.
|Also you can buy them from the Amazon.co.jp. Hiking in Japan,2001 Newer edition Paul Hunt's Hiking in Japan
| Most precise topographical maps are printed by a section of government Kokudo-chiri-in (Geographical survey Institute) with 1/25000 scale.
Yakushima island is covered with seven pices of prints. You should mind that you can buy these maps at only small number of bookstores almost in large cities.
It's better to buy before departing from Tokyo. Although,it may find out the book store in Kagoshima city that sells topographical maps.
Now, online version of the map is provided as you have seen the map attached on my pages.
Web:Geographical survey Institute (Price and Order System)
A map sold by a commercial publisher Shobunsya is wonderful. It updates yearly and printed on a water resistant synthetic paper with the course times of the trails. However it has no english description. You can buy the map from Amazon.co.jp or many bookshops in Japan. Also you may find out it at the shop somewhere in the island.
A representative of Yakushima has been attracted many Japanese since it was been finding out at 1966. The tree is known as the biggest also oldest cedar in the island with estimated age 7200 years.
You should mind that seeing the tree is a bit difficult thing. It needs all-day walking through the long trail which requires 10 hours roundtrip.
The first big tree met on the trail. The age of the tree was estimated as 2000 years old. The word Okina means old man. The old man wears sevral kind of plnts during the long life at there.
A big stump will be appeared suddenly in front of you, while the trail will be around 1000 meters sealevel. It's believed that a big cedar had cut down 400 years ago. The stump of the tree has been remained with his sons who has grown to taller cedars stood around him. Sometimes, It is told with a biggest tree appeared in the old record around that time, although it can't specify that exactly the sump is the trace of the tree written. Since there is no such a big stump has been found untill now, this assumption is likely to be valid.
The name of stump after an american botanist Dr.Wilson with an occasion on his travel of Yakushim in 1914. He had stayed in this stump to escape the rain started without notice that he had been in a stump since it so big. Later he introduced Yakushima in his writing which gave the chance that the island become knowing from outside the Japan.
An upright cedar tree had known as the biggset tree of Yakushima before the Johmon-sugi was found. The tree has 11 meters around chest, Although the stem of the tree is empity.
When I visted here for the first time, the trail run just beside the roots of the tree. But with setting the boardwalk, position of the trail shifted to lower side. The picture putting below was taken in the trip of 1992 with looking up from the old trail.
Meoto-sugi is appeared next to the Diohsugi. Two cedars had been connected together with a branch. This name means man and wife in Japanese. It may be married over hundred years age. The bigger husband has 11 meters chest which is comparable to the Daioh-sugi. But 23 meters height is shorter than even comparing his wife.