Mossy rocks, ancient cedars, and great hiking trails that served as an anime setting
Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine is a stunning nature park located in Yakushima, japan. This beautiful and unspoiled park is known for its mossy rocks, ancient cedar trees, and great hiking trails that have served as a setting for an anime film. With its picturesque landscapes and rich biodiversity, Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine is a must-visit destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
The park is home to several of Yakushima’s ancient cedar trees, including Nidaio Sugi, Kuguri Sugi, and Yayoi Sugi. These majestic trees are not only awe-inspiring in their size and age but also play an important role in the ecosystem of the ravine. The cedar trees provide shelter and food for various species of animals and insects, creating a thriving ecosystem within the park.
One of the most remarkable features of Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine is its connection to the famous anime film, Princess Mononoke. The ravine served as an inspiration for the film’s stunning landscapes and enchanted forests. The lead artist of Princess Mononoke, Kazuo Oga, used the moss-covered stones and ancient trees of Shiratani Unsuikyo as a reference for the film’s artwork. Visiting the park is like stepping into the world of Princess Mononoke, with its ethereal beauty and sense of magic.
To reach Yakushima and Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine, there are several transportation options available. Visitors can take a high-speed boat, car ferry, or airplane to Yakushima. High-speed ferries run from Kagoshima or Ibusuki to the island, and planes operate from Kagoshima, Osaka, and Fukuoka. Additionally, there is a car ferry that runs between Kagoshima and Yakushima. Once on the island, Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine is a short drive south of Miyanoura Port and can be accessed by bus or car. Public transport in the form of infrequent buses is available from the port, and the journey takes approximately 35 minutes.
The forests of Shiratani Unsuikyo are incredibly atmospheric, with their ancient trees and moss-covered stones. It is highly recommended to watch the film Princess Mononoke before visiting the park to fully appreciate the connection between the artwork and the actual landscapes. The resemblance between the two is striking, and it adds an extra layer of magic to the experience.
The park offers a network of well-maintained hiking trails, catering to all levels of fitness and hiking experience. 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, English and Japanese signs are provided, making navigation easy for visitors. At the entrance to the trails, visitors can obtain a trail map to plan their hiking route.
One of the highlights of the park is a large rocky outcrop called Taiko Iwa. This vantage point offers panoramic views across Yakushima’s interior mountains and is definitely worth the hike. However, it is important to note that the trail to Taiko Iwa includes several steep sections, so a reasonable level of fitness is required to reach the top.
For those seeking an even more adventurous experience, there is a trail at the far end of the park that leads to Tsuji Toge Pass. This trail will take you to Jomon Sugi, Yakushima’s largest cedar tree, estimated to be between 2,000 and 7,000 years old. The journey 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 hike. However, the reward of seeing this ancient tree up close is truly worth the effort.
In conclusion, Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine in Yakushima, Japan, is a nature lover’s paradise. With its mossy rocks, ancient cedar trees, and great hiking trails, the park offers a unique and enchanting experience. Whether you are a fan of Princess Mononoke or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, visiting Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine is a must-do when in Yakushima. Immerse yourself in the magical landscapes, breathe in the fresh air, and explore the wonders of this unspoiled natural gem.
Address And Maps Location:
Miyanoura, Yakushima Island, Kagoshima-ken