This route is, along with Yakusugi Land, the most popular in Yakushima, since it also allows to appreciate huge and ancient cedars next to the path, with a difficulty that can be overcome for most users. However, although the beauty of the trees on both routes is comparable, the forest is greener and fuller of life here than anywhere else on the island, this area being the inspiration for the film Princess Mononoke, having spent one of its main cartoonists here many hours.

It is accessed from Miyanoura. In private vehicle or public transport (550 ¥ one way) it takes about 30 minutes (for more details see TRANSPORTATION IN YAKUSHIMA).

Always open, suggested donation 300 ¥. At the entrance a pamphlet is given in which the suggested routes and their difficulty are listed:

Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 1, Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
The entrance to Shiratani Unsuikyo and the official pamphlet, map included
  • Yayoisugi course: easy; in about 20 minutes you reach the great Yayoisugi. The full route requires approximately one hour.
  • Bugyosugi course: although it is not particularly difficult, it takes approximately 3 hours; there are at least 6 relevant yakusugis. In case of heavy rain some sections can be cut by streams.
  • The last part is an extension of the second course to reach Taikoiwa Rock, a viewpoint. It is therefore the steepest area.
Official Shuratani Unsuikyo map, from the official website of Kagoshima ( Marked points do not correspond to those on the map given at the entrance

Shuratani Unsuikyo was the first part of my two-day trek, continuing to Jomonsugi and Mount Miyanoura summit.

First, I hiked the course to Yayoisugi, one of the largest and oldest trees on the island, 3,000 years old.

Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 2. Yayoisugi, Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
Main cedars are indicated by informative panel in Japanese and English
Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 3. Yayoisugi, Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.

I continued on the red route until I reached point 4, the bridge, so I skipped points 2 and 3. I kept going on the yellow route. The first great cedar is the Nidai-ohsugi (5), whose base is immense, if it is not the largest in diameter of the island I do not know which one can be. It is partially covered by other trees and moss and is one of my favorites.

Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 4. Nidaiohsugi, Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime. (2)
The massive trunk of Nidaiohsugi
Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 4. Nidaiohsugi, Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
Another tourist next to the huge trunk of Nidaiohsugi

We continue through a beautiful forest, probably the greenest on the island, passing under stumps of dead trees until we reach the Sanbon-ashisugi (6), another cedar held on 3 legs after having disappeared the tree stump on which it grew.

Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 5. Sanbonashisugi, Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
Under the three legs of Sanbon-ashisugi

Its neighbor Sanbon-yarisugi (7) is the opposite, on a very inclined main trunk three secondary trunks have grown.

Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 8. Sanboyarisugi, Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
With Sanbon-yarisugi

Then we will arrive at Bugyosugi (8), a cedar important enough to give name to this part of the route. Its surface is practically covered by moss and other trees.

Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 9. Bugyosugi, Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 10. Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
An old wooden bench devoured by nature

Further on there is a cedar with no name that is one of my favorites, because, although it is very low, it is held on 4 legs.

Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 11. Nidaiohsugi, Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
4 leg cedar

The path continues along dirt tracks that alternate planks completely reincorporated into nature, and it is not surprising that this part was the main inspiration for the forest of Princess Mononoke. We will pass under 3 beautiful cedars that are supported on two legs, very different from each other. The first one has no name, although it is my favorite because it is so slender, the following are the Nidaikugurisugi (9), where we probably have to bend down to pass, and finally, already starting the route number 3, is the largest and imposing, the Kugurisugi (11), which has the same name as the last great cedar of Yakusugi Land.

Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 12. Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
A section of the forest
Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 0. Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
The path going under the slender cedar
Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 13. Kugurisugi, Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
And then going under the vigorous Kugurisugi
Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 17. Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
Another part of the extraordinary rain forest

Immediately afterwards, there are toilets and drinking water. The road continues through the magnificent forest passing by another huge cedar, the Nanahonsugi (12); its name means “7 trees”, since the main trunk disappeared and from its stump 7 secondary grew so straight and together that from a distance they look like one, although currently only 5 of them survive.

Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 14. Nanahonsugi, Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
Nanahonsugi next to the trail

The final point is a viewpoint, called Taikoiwa Rock (15), from which you get good views of the mountains of the island on a clear day.

Yakushima Shiratani Unsuikyo 16. Taikoiwa rock, Miyanoura, Japon. Japan. Momonoke Hime.
View from Taikoiwa Rock

∇ Destinos / ∇ Asia / ∇ Japón∇ Kyushu / ∇ Kagoshima / ∇ Yakushima


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