35 days of rain a month & the Princess Mononoke forrest - A trip down to Yakushima, Japan / by Eren Sarigul

After spending ten days in the hustle and bustle of sprawling cities it was time for a change of scenery. It was time to visit the sub-tropical island of Yakushima

1.jpg

Before heading over to the Island I stopped off at Kagoshima for he night. The seaside city was by far the quietest city I have visited in Japan. I get the impression that could be down to the fact it is nearby an active volcano called Sakurajima - that regularly erupts. The city does boast stunning views of the volcano.

The next morning I was up at 5am ahead of a boat trip to Yakushima but a huge thunderstorm had me thinking twice about making the journey! Especially after the rocky ride from Busan to Fukuoka. Undeterred I made my way down to the port under heavy rain and hopped on the boat for a three hour bumpy ride to Yakushima.

DSCF5651.jpg

The locals say it rains 35 days a month .. yes 35 … on Yakushima and true to form it was absolutely pouring down. To make matters worse I had travelled to the wrong port with no transport links to the trekking paths!

I made my way to the carpark and the gods were smiling down on me. There was a taxi waiting and the driver smiled and opened the door, I hopped in and told him to head to the port on the other side of the Island.

It was only as we were going I realised I had mistakenly got into somebody elses cab! I was pressed for time nor did I have the language skills to explain so on we went.

4.jpg

Luck was definitely on my side in Yakushima, I made the the last bus heading up to the trekking train by seconds! The bus ride up to the trail was quite incredible, with views of mountains covered in mist and monkeys jumping around in the trees.

I had around two hours to complete a three hour trail once I got to the top. To make matters worse the heavens opened up! I knew this was going to be a tough task. I felt like Bear Grylls trekking though thick forrest along a barely visible trail, navigating past small streams, rivers and crossing over waterfalls.

DSCF5447.jpg

The highlight of the trail is the Shiratani Unsui-kyo, which is part of the forest which served as the inspiration for the Stugio Ghibli animated film Princess Mononoke, which is one of my all time favourite’s.

285162-fantasy_art-anime-forest-Princess_Mononoke-Studio_Ghibli.jpg

The departure was as eventful as my arrival. I made a fast sprint back to the bus stop, fortunately making the last bus back to the port and as luck would have it just in time for the final boat back to Yakushima to cap off an action packed day in Japan’s subtropical island Yakushima!

3.jpg