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Tue, Mar. 31, 2015Majestic Yakushima in Winter
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Yakushima is listed as a UNESCO world natural heritage site. Located 60 kilometers off the southernmost tip of Kyushu, the small island has nearly 2,000 meter-high mountains and diverse climate zones from the subtropical to the subalpine resulting in a unique ecosystem. It's home to more than 1,000 year-old Yakusugi—a type of cedar—and also the endangered Yakushima White Pine.
Photographer Peter Skov hikes up to the snow-capped summit of Mt. Miyanoura (1,936 meters), the highest peak in Yaksuhima—and even Kyushu—enjoying magnificent nature along the way. He also meets with people who are behind protecting the island's precious habitat. As Peter treks through deep snow, and primeval forest, he feels the magic of Yakushima.
Phorek
Kenji Koga's eco-tour outfit provides guided mountain tours throughout the year.
TEL/FAX 0997-47-3975
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Yakushima Messenger
Yoshihiro Kikuchi's eco-tour outfit specializes in small groups. He also runs an outdoor goods shop.
TEL 0997-43-5630 FAX 0997-43-5631
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The Yakushima White Pine Survey Committee
Kenji Tezuka's volunteer group collects and exchanges information on the endangered tree in order to protect it.
TEL 0997-44-2965
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Shunsai Tokitei
This restaurant serves local specialties, especially seafood dishes.
TEL 0997-42-1574 Open 11:30~14:00 18:00~23:00 Closed on Mondays
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Suginoya
This shop sells beautiful objects made from Yakusugi wood.
TEL/FAX 0997-43-5441
Access
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From Tokyo's Haneda Airport, flights to Kagoshima take two hours. From there, it's a 35-minute flight to Yakushima. Direct flights are available from Osaka's Itami Airport and Fukuoka Airport.
There are also ferry services from Kagoshima Port to Miyanoura Port. It takes two hours by high-speed jet foil and four hours by regular ferry.
Travel Log

Traveler: Peter Scov > More Info

Nationality:Canada

Occupation:English teacher / photographer / writer

Length of residence in Japan:15 years

Reason of coming to Japan:To learn about the Japanese approach to landscape and nature photography

Traveler's Archives:

> Wonderful Yakushima

During my initial visit to Yakushima in the summer of 2013, I was introduced to many of the island's remarkable natural wonders. However, the photo books of Yakushima in the museum told me there was so much more, especially in winter. Inspired by the icy mountain scenes of this southern island, I wanted to return to climb Mt. Miyanoura in its winter glory. There were also some famous sights that I had missed, such as the Shiratani Unsui Valley and Senpiro Falls.

I knew not to expect the same unusually sunny weather as the last time, but I could not have anticipated that it was going to work out so perfectly. It was as though the weather was part of my schedule, bringing rain to the lush forests before I arrived but stopping once I got there, and preparing the mountaintops with thick frost and snow prior to my ascent but having the clouds clear away as I approached the summit. Seeing the Yakusugi in this frosty and mysterious winter world was spellbinding. Other trees such as the himeshara, a type of camillia, looked even more beautiful as their red trunks stood out from the white landscape and muted green of frozen rhododendron leaves. The ancient Jomon Sugi looked as regal and magnificent as ever.

Just traveling on my own would have brought me some wonderful experiences. However, the people I met on the island gave me an in depth human perspective of the goings on of Yakushima. Mr. Koga guided me through the frozen landscape of the mountains. Mr. Tezuka introduced me to the worrying plight of the Yakushima white pine. And it was great to see Mr. Kikuchi again, who had guided me up the mountains on my previous journey. He was as before a fount of facts about the nature of Yakushima. How many things I would have missed if not for his sharp eye and keen knowledge.

I had the great privilege to enjoy delicious food, breathtaking scenery, and even a dip in a seaside onsen hot spring. And thanks to the island's unique climate, I experienced autumn on the northern part, winter in the mountains, and spring in the southern reaches. By the time I had to leave I felt that I had never enjoyed a more fulfilling trip in my life. Many thanks to all the special people who contributed to my wonderful winter stay on Yakushima!

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