Yakushima is an island off the southeastern coast of Japan. It has been officially recognized by UNESCO and has been inscribed on the World Heritage List since 1993. Yakushima is an unusual travel destination, even referred to as a magic island, where more than seventy-five percent of the place is covered with thick forests and mountains. Snow covers mountain peaks throughout the winter, and the subtropical climate in coastal areas. These mountains receive heavy rain, which makes the climate of Yakushima much richer than other parts of Japan. The word Yakushima means island of medicine and herbalists all over the world have been growing local herbs for various treatments for a long time.
With one main road going around the island, beautiful mountains, paths and waterfalls along the way attract many hikers and nature lovers. Fruit parks and museums are one of the most important tourist attractions that make Yakushima a charming place. The Fruit Park is located on the island's southwestern coast, and offers a relaxing stroll between tropical trees and fruit plants. The museums and visitor centers of Yakushima show the natural wonders of the island. It also provides a journey to know the history of Yakushima Island.
This mountainous region offers a large collection of beautiful landscapes. There are two waterfalls, "Okonotaki" and "Senpironotaki", just off the main road. Beaches are also dotted on the island, the most famous of which is "Nagata-inaka-hama". If you encounter the island between May and August, you may encounter giant sea turtles. They come to the beach to lay eggs late at night (or early in the morning, depending on what you look at), between 1 am and 2 am.
Some buses run between the main destinations within the island, but renting a car in Yakushima is a must in practice. It's a long way from Tokyo and requires a ferry or a trip from Kagoshima, but it's hardship for those of you who are hungry for some adventure.