A magical ancient forest which was the inspiration for the landscape of Princess Mononoke (もののけ姫) by Hayao Miyazaki. This is another must-see location in Yakushima (屋久島) in Kagoshima Prefecture.
From Kagoshima Port, you can choose to travel by high speed jetfoil boats or slower ferryboats. A high speed jetfoil boat costs 9100 yen for one way and 16700 yen for round trip (Round trip ticket is valid for 7 days). This will take you to either Miyanoura Port or Anbo Port in 2 to 3 hours. A slower ferryboat costs 4800 yen for one way and round trip ticket price varies according to peak seasons. Round trip ticket is 8300 yen for off-peak season, 9600 yen for peak season (valid for 1 month). This will take you to Yakushima in about 4 hours. The downside of this cheaper transport is that they only have one trip a day.
I recommend staying in Miyanoura Portside Youth Hostel in Yakushima for the night. If you arrive during the day, you can take a stroll around the port and nearby areas. During our strolls, my friend and I came across this beautiful landscape of the ocean and tetrapods (called 消波ブロック in Japanese). Here are some photos I’ve taken around the area.
Another interesting part of Yakushima is that they have loud speakers on the streets which allow the local people to announce something or communicate with others. At night, it’s dark as there are only a few street lights so you may want to consider bringing a flashlight with you.
Buses going to Shiratani-Unsuikyo will stop by a bus stop near Miyanoura Portside Youth Hostel. It’s a 30-minute ride that costs 530 yen for one way.
The weather was sunny at the base of the mountain but when the bus reached the entrance of Shiratani-Unsuikyo hiking trail, it rained. It continued to rain throughout the hike. The people who came to hike were from all ages, one of them even had a baby strapped to her while she climbed.
Here is some information on Yakushima island provided by Japan National Tourism Organization. It includes a PDF document detailing on how to get there and around the island.
Here is the information on cheap and clean accommodation, Miyanoura Portside Youth Hostel in Yakushima. It includes bus timetables to popular hiking spots in the area.
There’s also English-speaking guide for your hiking trip for Yakushima, too.