Yakusugiland, naked blokes, and disgusting beer!!

Another day of hiking today, but a much shorter one than most.

After picking up some lunch packs we drove up to the port of Anbo, first of all visiting the ‘Pillow-shaped Lava Field’ signposted on the side of the road, before turning inland towards Yakusugiland.

I don’t know about you, but if I was sleeping on a pillow like this then I wouldn’t be getting much sleep! A tourist tarp if ever I saw one, but it was still good to see!

Pillow-shaped lava field near Yakushima airport

Winding up the mountains into the mist was another great experience. Again we passed quite a few deer and macaques while making the ascent. I swear the macaques have a death wish, sitting in the middle of the road around blind corners!!

Yakusugiland was named after the island (Yakushima), the giant cedars (sugi), and for reasons only known to the tourism gurus, particularly given the dearth of western tourists in this place, they decided to add ‘land’ on the end…?

In some ways the environment at Yakusugiland was similar to that at Shiratani Unsuikyo, but in others it was very different.

While Shiratani reeked of age and kept drawing your eyes to the twisted and gnarled tree trunks and branches, Yakusugiland felt younger to me, with a lot more undergrowth and moss, despite the fact that the trees seemed taller and wider than those at Shiratani.

I’ve written some hiking notes here for those that are interested.

Eating lunch halfway into the walk

You really don’t want to slip!!

I also got the feeling that Yakusugiland was subjected to a lot more wear and tear due to the higher prevalence of short walks, resulting in a greater appeal to your average package tourist.

I really enjoyed the two hour walk that we did here, but I can’t help but feel that the religious experience I had at Shiratani was always going to very difficult to live up to, let alone exceed! Despite this, it was a sensational place that, again, I thoroughly recommend to anyone visiting Yakushima.

We slowly made our way back down to civilisation, ecstatic that we’d had the privilege of experiencing another incredible part of the world, but also a little sad knowing that this was our last significant foray into the wilds while travelling through Japan.

In the evening we again made use of the local onsen (peak hour this time, meaning you had a lot more naked dudes standing behind you waiting for you to finish with the wash facilities!).

We then sat down to an amazing BBQ dinner prepared by our hosts. Flying fish, pork, okra, prawns, octopus, chicken skewers, sardines…and a heap of other meats and vegetables, all provided for us to cook on our individual BBQ griddles in the middle of our tables.
So tasty!

Pre-dinner drinks, saved from our stay at Miyajima

Regarding the beers above, a word of advice. If you are ever offered the chance to taste the Miyajima Pale Ale…DON’T DO IT!!! It is rancid. It will make you gag. You will regret it. Forever. I never thought a beer could taste so bad that it was undrinkable…and I’ve drunk Eagle Blue!! As Karen summarised quite well, it’s like someone thought that adding a bottle of perfume to beer was a great idea. I suspect they may have indulged too much in their own product before dreaming up this vile concoction…

Off the bed then,  playing mental games to convince ourselves that there were no spiders in our room, and thinking ahead to our day in transit tomorrow to Tokyo, before heading off to Ishigaki to finish our holiday.