Welcome to Go Yakushima

Go Yakushima are a tour guide company based upon the UNESCO island of Yakushima in southern Japan. In 1993, the island was recognized by UNESCO as being the best example of bio-diversity in East Asia. The natural beauty of the island is a great attraction for visitors, but upon one of our tours then the visitors begin to realize that there is more to our island than wonderful areas of untouched nature. Yakushima exemplifies a model relationship between its environment and inhabitants.

Go Yakushima offer a range of tours around our island and can cater tours for a single guest to large groups. We operate tours for families with children of any age and also for guests seeking expertise in flora and fauna of the island.

Go Yakushima are a team of local guides living on the island and we are fluent in English and Japanese. We have years of experience guiding both international and domestic visitors to our island and so travelers are in good hands when they book tours with us. Our guides are qualified in the respective fields from local island and national history to wilderness medical training for overnight expeditions. Our guides are attentive to the requests from guests and we aim to provide informative, fun and memorable tours. We share the knowledge and passion we have for this special island located at the southern tip of Kyushu.

Our website should answer all the questions you may have when considering a Yakushima tour, but if not then feel free to contact us to better your experience of our island.

Go Yakushima Tours

Yakushima tours with Go Yakushima focus upon hikes into the forests and mountains of the island.  Our tours suit all abilities, levels and interests.  From short & easy walks to taxing & challenging hikes up some of Yakushima’s mountains.  Go Yakushima also provide full day island tours that circumvent the coastal route of the island and the focus upon the island`s history & culture as well as some outstanding areas of natural beauty and fun time in the fantastic rivers & sea.  We can cater families with small children as well as elderly who may have walking problems.

A frequent question visitors consider is, “Do I need a guide?”  Our simple reply is that if you have gone to the great effort and expense to get to Yakushima, then the relatively cheaper expense of a guide with local knowledge can turn your Yakushima trip from one of random photos of trees into a very memorable and personal experience.

Go Yakushima offer five types of tours, ranging from a few hours to a full day in the mountains.  Our popular Island Tour is a day filled with local information while visiting many of the sights around the island.  During the summer months there is usually always time for some fun-time in the water.  A day tour in the forest with one of our guides should not be missed as the pace is relaxed and the focus is on the small things that would otherwise be missed by the uninformed hiker.

During the late spring to early summer, we offer night time tours to observe female turtles lay their eggs upon the beach.  Yakushima receives the most number of nesting turtles in Japan.  The experience is unforgettable.

Go Yakushima arrange hiking gear rental if required.  Please indicate what equipment you require and the necessary sizes on the Go Yakushima Booking Form.

Book a Go Yakushima tour

About Yakushima

Yakushima is located in the south of Japan about 60km from Kyushu. It has an area of just over 500km2 and a population of 12,000 inhabitants (as of 2020). The formation of what is now Yakushima began around 60 million years ago, but the island changed dramatically 15 million years ago as granite emerged from a magma reservoir and formed the many mountains of the island. The mountains are still being formed as the granite continues to be elevated. Yakushima has the highest 8 mountains in Kyushu and almost 40 of these mountains are over 1,000 meters.

Yakushima has a sub-tropical climate at sea-level and a sub-alpine climate around the peaks of the mountains just under 2,000 meters. Due to the elevation of the island, it is home to almost 2,000 plants of which nearly 100 are endemic to Yakushima. It was this feature that UNESCO highlighted when recognizing the island in 1993. UNESCO claim that Yakushima has the best example of bio-diversity in East Asia.

There are actually only a handful of mammals on Yakushima of which the endemic deer and macaque are almost unavoidable. Other mammals include a weasel, mouse and shrew. There are around 165 species of birds, but very few of these inhabit the forested areas. Most birds are found around the coastal region on the island. There a great variety of insects which amount to around 1,900 species. again, most insect species are found around the lower regions of the island.

Evidence of humans upon Yakushima date back 17,000 years, but evidence of habitation dates from around 6,000 years. The island is mentioned in the earliest written document of Japan – the shoku nihongi in the early C8th . From the mid-1600s to 1970 the island was heavily de-forested for commercial purposes. Since 1970 forestry restrictions have gradually been implemented and for 50 years the natural environment of Yakushima has slowly returned almost to its pre-logging state. The island now represents Japan`s best example of wilderness.

Tourism is now a major component to the economy of Yakushima. The tourism peak was around 2007 when over 300,000 visitors came to the island. In recent years this figure has dropped to a more manageable 200,000 visitors per year. You will discover that a great number of Japanese tourists will be accompanied by a local guide when out hiking around Yakushima. There is too much to miss if unaccompanied by a local guide. We encourage all tourists to our island to make the most of their visit by booking a Go Yakushima tour.