Excursion to Yakushima: At the heart of Princess Mononoke Island

Tale of an off-the-beaten-track adventure in Japan!

Many visitors to Japan share the same desire when visiting the country: to "get off the beaten track". 
While the classics of Tokyo, Kyoto and Hiroshima are still the stuff of dreams and must-sees, many people want to discover a more rural Japan, and immerse themselves in the heart of Japanese culture. For a privileged encounter with a more intimate Japan, to meet the locals and experience Japanese life, excursions are an excellent way to travel!

Find out more about our Yakushima excursion!

"It's 7.45am in Kagoshima, the starting town for this tour, and I catch the first speedboat to Yakushima. The trip is pretty quick, only 2 hours, and time flies once you're on board. With the splendid weather, I settle in close to the windows, where the view is sumptuous. The boat passes many lush islands, and you wonder on which one our adventure will begin! "

At 12.30 pm, the boat finally docks in Yakushima.

Freshly landed on the island, I stop for lunch at one of the local restaurants near the port. I opt for a Yakushima specialty: flying fish ! Served freshly caught and cooked in a delicious bento, I'm in for a treat. 

Petit bateau sur une côte de Yakushima

Small boat on a Yakushima coastline

©Guillaume SUDRE for Japan Expérience

A horde of monkeys

On the way, we pass a number of magnificent beaches, which I recommend for a swim or sunbathing break, weather permitting. In late November, I choose to enjoy the scenery from the car, even though the weather is still mild. I quickly leave the main road for a more winding path, climbing a little higher into the mountains, and some companions soon join me. On the road, hordes of monkeys block the way. The sight is quite impressive, and I suddenly feel as if I've been transported to a fantasy world. Animals are very present on this densely wooded island, and I soon realize that it's not uncommon to come across Japanese macaques or deer on the side of the road. However friendly they may seem, they are wild animals. We therefore advise you not to go hunting for Ouisticrams to fill your Pokédex!

Singe sur la route sur l'île de Yakushima

Scary Japanese macaque blocking the road on Yakushima island

©Guillaume SUDRE for Japan Expérience

Reaching the water's edge, I discover the sanctuary sunken into the damp cave, condensation dripping down the walls and moss taking over. With the sound of waves crashing on the rocks in the distance, I'm thrown straight into an imaginary world, straight out of a Japanese fantasy isekai. I can't help but take time to contemplate the magical beauty of this place and how lucky I am to be here.

In November, the sun sets early, and I choose to continue on my way to the Isso lighthouse to regain some height, before heading back to the town of Yoshida. There's a magnificent observation point where you can enjoy the sunset over the ocean.

Coeur de la forêt de Yakushima

In the heart of the Yakushima forest

©Guillaume SUDRE for Japan Expérience

In the afternoon, I visit the Banyan Trees, tall trees whose long branches fall to the ground like curtains of vegetation, often filled with insects and large spiders (for those who like them!). Then I decide to spend some quality time at a brand-new experience, a natural open-air onsen by the sea. These onsens are linked to the tide and therefore only accessible for a handful of hours during the day, but the wait is well worth it! Set right on the rocks, the boiling water relaxes numb bodies in a breathtaking panorama!


Day 3: In the heart of the Yakushima forest


This third day of discovery is reserved entirely for what is surely the island's most popular attraction, the Yakushima wooded mountain hike. I meet Maxime, my Japan Experience guide for the day, who will lead me on this 8-hour must-do tour. Maxime is an incredible person, who left everything behind to settle on Yakushima Island ten years ago, and now knows the area like the back of his hand.

Arbre massif de la forêt de Yakushima

©Guillaume SUDRE for Japan Expérience

Discover our other available excursions in Japan!

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Our activities in Yakushima

  • Duration : 8 hour
  • Location : Yakushima
  • Duration : 8 hour
  • Location : Yakushima
Discover all our activities in Yakushima (169)