Forest of Princess Mononoke: Vising the Jomon Sugi Tree on Yakushima, Kagoshima
Jomon Sugi, a Cryptomeria tree on Yakushima is something every Japanese wishes to see at least once with his or her own eyes. This time I am delivering a report on my trip to visit it.
Where is the Jomon Sugi?
To start with, do you know where Yakushima is? Let’s find it on the map.
Yakushima is an island located 60 kilometers southwest of Kyushu in Kagoshima Prefecture, and Jomon Sugi is one of the largest Yakusugi cedar trees native of the island. Its circumference is 16 meters, the height is 31 meters, and the tree is estimated to be at least 3,000 years old. In order to see such a divine Yakusugi cedar tree, visitors have to go through harsh mountain-climbing first.
Access to the Island of Yakushima
A non-stop flight from Itami Airport in Osaka or Fukuoka Airport is most convenient.
If you are coming from Kagoshima Prefecture, you have three options of a plane (30 minutes), a fast boat (2 hours) or a ferry (4 hours).
I took a flight from Fukuoka Airport to visit the island, but on the way back it became windy and rained a little, and my flight was unfortunately cancelled. I recommend making decisions on your trip after a thorough research including the weather forecast.
Let’s Start Now before Daybreak!
Now let me explain the way I traveled until I reached the Jomon Sugi.
Waking up at wee hours of 3 o’clock in the morning, we started moving to the trail road by a dedicated bus. It was before dawn and totally dark like this. Please don’t forget to buy a lunch pack at this point.
Trolley Road That Continues Forever
This kind of trolley road for trucking continued like forever in the darkness. It was very hard to walk because we had to adjust the stride to walk on it smoothly. We needed to keep watching our steps carefully lest we should fall down. Come to think of it, wasn’t there a similar scene in “The Walking Dead”? I wondered where the road was going…
We came to several bridges like this along the way. When I looked down, I saw a river and my feet were about to freeze. We crossed the bridges carefully and nervously one person at a time. Be careful and don’t you fall!
Our Eyes Catch Mother Nature and Wild Animals
There were the trolley roads that were hard to walk on and scary bridges to petrify us, but that was not all for the trail, rest assured. When I raised my head I found beautiful views of nature including flourishing moss growth shown in this photo. I was impressed at the scenery created by Mother Nature even though I was busy paying attention to my steps.
We continued on while concentrating on walking, and before we knew it the night had faded away and the morning arrived. On the day I climbed, I was blessed with great weather. But the trolley road still continues on and on and on…
While we were climbing along the road, we bumped into this cute deer. It made me forget about my tired body for a while. The deer was very friendly and didn’t run away even though I pointed my camera from such a short distance.
Little by Little We Are Getting Closer to the Destination
As we continued on we started seeing huge trees that had individual names.
This photo shows a part of them and this cedar is called “Niohsugi”. These trees were truly gigantic, and it is a shame that photos do not convey the size very well.
Getting inspired by seeing these trees in addition to Jomon Sugi is also a high point of this mountain climbing on the island of Yakushima.
This photo shows “Wilson Kabu” and when you look up at the sky through the trunk, the sky looks heart-shaped. It’s a cute spot, isn’t it?
It was pretty spacious inside the trunk and I stopped and couldn’t help wondering how big this tree was.
Unless you get the best angle, the sky won’t look in the pretty shape of a heart. Please look for the best position yourself.
Finally Arrived at Jomon Sugi!
We continued on further after passing Wilson Kabu. As the road got steeper, we kept paying attention to our steps.
And at last we came to face Jomon Sugi! It was cordoned off by rope and we could look at it only from a certain distance away. But still its presence was overwhelming!
I had come all the way overcoming the steep and endless road, but I felt rewarded and deeply moved. I was walloped by my sentiment for a while and lost track of time.
I sat on a bench close by and ate my lunch while resting, and I had all my objectives of this trip achieved. With my stomach filled and my energy restored, I kept walking on the way back, too!