Shiratani Unsuikyo – Jomon Sugi Overnight Tour

The Shiratani Unsuikyo – Jomon Sugi Overnight Tour allows guests plenty of time to enjoy the surroundings deep in the forest.  There is also the added bonus of being with the big, majestic tree when it`s quiet and the day-return hikers have all gone. This is a great overnight hiking experience for beginners or those who enjoy a less intense overnight expedition experience.

Jomon sugi is famed as Japan’s oldest tree and it also ranks as one of the oldest trees in the world.  Reasonable estimates range from 4,500 – 5,000 years old.

The Shiratani Unsuikyo – Jomon Sugi Overnight Tour begins from Shiratani Unsuikyo early in the morning and the first few hours of the tour go through this wonderful forest.  Great photo opportunities abound in the Shiratani Unsuikyo forest.  It is a peaceful experience to be hiking through this forest before the day-trippers arrive. Unbelievably quiet by the moss-covered forest that gave inspiration to the Ghibli Studio animators when creating Princess Mononoke. The route steadily ascends to about 1,000 meters and then drops down into the next valley to join the Arakawa Trail and the railway track.

There are some interesting historical places along the old railway line that was built 100 years ago to transport trees down to Anbo.  A tall Californian redwood stands by the railway line as a gift to the island from the US Government in 1968.

After about 90 minutes along the railway line we enter the forest trail.  Within 30 minutes we approach the Wilson Stump.  This enormous stump is the remains of a tree probably cut down in the 1580’s under the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.  After more than 400 years of exposed to very wet conditions, the stump still remains and it is so large that walking around inside the stump is one of the highlights of this tour.

Approaching Jomon Sugi there are a few gigantic trees along the way: the 3,000 year old Diao sugi being the most impressive.  Finally we come to the ancient master of the forest – Jomon Sugi. Unlike the day-hikers there is plenty of time to soak in the view of Jomon Sugi as the Takatsu Hut is only a 10 minute walk away from the tree. This tree has over a 16 meter circumference and the contours of the lower section read like a map Time.

At the end of the first day we shall set-up camp at the Takatsu Hut.  The guide will prepare a well-deserved evening meal.  You may wish to visit Jomon Sugi again for sunset.

The next morning there is another chance to see Jomon Sugi in a tranquil setting, before returning along the same route towards Shiratani Unsuikyo.  Going back in the opposite direction often gives you an opportunity to see the things you missed the previous day – and there are many things missed on the first day!

There are many water access points along this hike.

Please be sure to read the Yakushima hiking gear list (PDF) for necessary equipment.  At 1,300 meters even the summer nights can be cold, so make sure you are well-prepared for this hike.  Good rain wear is essential as if you get wet on the first day then it will make for a very uncomfortable night in the hut.

Level: 4/5  |  Distance: 12km per day | Time: 8 hours per day | Altitude: 600 ~ 1,300m

Guide Rate (per person)

1person: 119,000円

2  people: 63,000円

3 people: 50,000円

4 or more: 44,000円

included in the price: 1st day lunch bento / evening meal / 2nd day breakfast & lunch / transportation

not included in the price: equipment rental & environment maintenance fee (2,000 yen per person) / taxi fare / bus fare (including the guide`s fare) / 1st day breakfast

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