neighbouring islands

Yakushima’s neighbouring islands of Tanegashima and Kuchinoerabujima lie close by and are ideal for a day trip or overnight stay.  Read on for more information.

urata tanegashima

Tanegashima (種子島)

Just 20 km away from Yakushima, this long, low-lying island is a short ferry or hydrofoil journey away.  Measuring about 57 km long, but only 12 km wide, Tanegashima’s flat coastline has a circumference of about 186 km and its highest point is 282m.  The population of approx. 31,000 is divided into three main areas (one city and two towns), Nishinoomote city(西之表市) in the north (ferry terminal), Nakatane town (中種子) in the centre and Minamitane town (南種子) in the south.

The climate is temperate and sub-tropical.

Tanegashima Space StationTanegashima is known as a good surfing location and the home to Japan’s space programme. Tanegashima Space Center is said to have the most beautiful launch site in the world!  The coast on the East China sea side has many sandy beaches.  From the North going southwards there is Urata (浦田), Yokino (能野) and Nagahama (長浜) beach. The Nagahama coastline boasts 12 km of sandy beaches.  Marine sports such as surfing, sea kayaking and scuba diving are very popular.


Getting to Tanegashima

Toppy Jet Foil

An early morning Toppy Jet Foil departs from Anbo (安房) at 07:00.  The Toppy Jet Foil departs Miyanoura (宮之浦) at 10:00 & 16:20.  The journey takes 45 mins.

A return Toppy Jet Foil departs Tanegashima at 09:20 and arrives at Miyanoura.  The 12:10 & 17:40 departures arrive at Anbo.


The Hibiscus departs Miyanorua at 08:20 and arrives at Tanegashima at 10:10.  The Hibiscus departs Tanegashima at 05:10 and arrives at Miyanoura at 07:00.


KuchinoerabujimaKuchinoerabujima (口永良部島)

This small island – nicknamed the ‘sleeping gorilla’  (see photo!) – is located about 12km to the west of YakushimaThe island is gourd-shaped, measuring roughly 12 km long and 5 km wide.  It is home to an active volcano that has a 200m wide crater and has erupted several times since records began in 1841.  The most recent eruption was May 2015.  The island is inhabited with a population of around 150 people

Kuchinoerabujima VolcanoDue to its volcanic nature there are plenty of hot springs on the island.  It is also a popular fishing destination.  Motomura (本村) is the harbor district and the center of the island.  The majority of the island’s population is concentrated in Motomura and this is where shops, schools, gas stations, etc. are located.

There are daily ferries to Motomura from Miyanoura in Yakushima, but once upon the island there is no public transport.

Getting to Kuchinoerabujima

Ferry Taiyou (フェリー太陽)

The ferry leaves Miyanoura (宮之浦) at 08:10 and 13:00.  The journey takes 90 minutes.  The ferry returns to Miyanoura at 10:30 and 15:20.