Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine

Mossy rocks, ancient cedars, and great hiking trails that served as an anime setting

Yakushima Island, located in Kagoshima-ken, japan, is known for its beautiful and unspoiled nature. One of the must-visit attractions on the island is Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine, a nature park that is home to several ancient cedar trees and offers great hiking trails. This ravine is not only a paradise for nature lovers but also holds a special place in the world of animation, as it served as an inspiration for the famous anime film Princess Mononoke.

Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine is a place where time seems to stand still. The park is filled with moss-covered rocks and towering ancient cedar trees that have been standing for centuries. These ancient cedars, including Nidaio Sugi, Kuguri Sugi, and Yayoi Sugi, are not only magnificent in size but also hold great cultural and historical significance. Some of the hiking trails in the ravine date back to the Edo period, adding a sense of history and authenticity to the experience.

The beauty of Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine has captured the imagination of many, including Kazuo Oga, the lead artist of Princess Mononoke. Oga used the forests of this ravine as inspiration for the film, and it is truly remarkable to see how closely the artwork resembles the actual landscapes found here. Watching the movie before visiting the ravine adds another layer of appreciation for the natural beauty and atmosphere of this place.

To get to Yakushima Island, there are several options available. You can choose to take a high-speed boat, a car ferry, or even a plane. High-speed ferries run from Kagoshima or Ibusuki to the island, while planes fly from Kagoshima, Osaka, and Fukuoka. If you prefer to bring your car, there is also a car ferry that operates between Kagoshima and the island. Once you arrive on Yakushima, Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine is easily accessible from Miyanoura Port. It is a short drive south of the port, and you can reach the ravine by bus or car. The journey from the port to the ravine takes approximately 30 minutes by car, and public transport in the form of infrequent buses is also available.

When you enter Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine, you will be greeted by a network of well-maintained hiking trails. These trails vary in length and difficulty, offering options for both casual hikers and more experienced adventurers. The shortest trail takes about an hour to walk, while some trails can take up to five hours to complete. The condition of the trails varies, ranging from old logging tracks to more recently developed paved paths. Throughout the ravine, you will find English and Japanese signs that make navigation easy. If you want to plan your hike in advance, you can get a trail map at the entrance to the trails.

One of the highlights of exploring Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine is reaching Taiko Iwa, a large rocky outcrop located along one of the trails. This outcrop offers a vantage point with panoramic views across Yakushima’s interior mountains. The trail to Taiko Iwa is best suited for those with a reasonable level of fitness, as there are several steep sections on the way to the top. However, the effort is well worth it once you reach the top and take in the breathtaking scenery.

For those seeking an even more adventurous experience, there is a trail that leads to Tsuji Toge Pass, where you can find the fabled Jomon Sugi. Jomon Sugi is Yakushima’s largest cedar tree and is estimated to be anywhere between 2,000 and 7,000 years old. The trip to Jomon Sugi takes approximately five to six hours one way, so it is recommended for experienced hikers who are prepared for a long and challenging journey.

Visiting Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine is not only a chance to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature but also an opportunity to connect with the rich history and culture of Yakushima Island. The ancient cedar trees and moss-covered rocks are a testament to the island’s long-standing relationship with nature. As you wander through the ravine, you can’t help but feel a sense of awe and reverence for the natural wonders that surround you.

In conclusion, Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine is a nature park that offers a unique and enchanting experience for visitors. From the ancient cedar trees to the mossy rocks, every corner of this ravine exudes a sense of tranquility and beauty. Whether you are a nature enthusiast, a hiking enthusiast, or a fan of anime, this place has something to offer. Make sure to take the time to explore the hiking trails, admire the ancient cedars, and soak in the peaceful atmosphere of Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine. It is a destination that will leave a lasting impression and create memories that will stay with you long after your visit.

Address And Maps Location:

Miyanoura, Yakushima Island, Kagoshima-ken

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