Daydream #2: Shiratani Unsuikyo Forest

The I-wish-I-was-on-holiday itch. It’s a feeling I regularly experience, especially when I find myself working long hours. The best way to cure this itch is to either book a holiday or pretend to book a holiday, which is option that my calendar and bank balance prefer. This week’s pretend holiday research has been on the national parks of Japan, which is how I stumbled across the incredible Shiratani Unsuikyo Forest.

Shiratani Unsuikyo Forest

Walking through ancient trees. Literally.

Located on the relatively remote island of Yakushima, the Shiratani Unsuikyo Forest has some of the highest rainfall levels in Japan, which explains the bright green moss that coats every stone, walkway and tree trunk. While the forest looks like it could be inhabited by the characters from Lord Of The Rings, it’s actually home to deer, monkeys, and ancient cedar trees – some are over 2000 years old. Unfortunately, some of these giant cedars have been chopped down, but thankfully all logging has long finished and the remaining stumps have been overtaken by moss or younger trees and plants.

What gets me most excited about this destination is that it offers a number of hiking trails, ranging from 30 minutes to several days, plus you can take them without needing a tour guide. Even better, the Shiratani Unsuikyo forest is just one of the natural wonders on the island. When you’re over moss and trees, you can check out the Oko-no-taki Falls, Senpironotaki Falls or just chill out in the onsens, which are natural hot springs that Japan is famous for. For such a small island, Yakushima sure does pack a punch.

Damn it, I think I can already feel that holiday itch starting again.


Oko-no-taki Falls