Shiratani Unsuikyo & Jomon Sugi 2 Day Tour

Rather than rush to see this big old tree on a day-return hike, the Shiratani Unsuikyo & Jomon Sugi 2 Day 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.

Jomon sugi is famed as Japan’s oldest tree and it also ranks as one of the oldest trees in the world.  However, estimates range from 2200 – 7200 years old which leads to all kinds of speculation over its actual age. 

Jomon sugi was ‘re-discovered’ in 1966 by a local civil servant.  It’s discovery, along with other factors at the time, helped bring about the cessation of the logging industry in the Arakawa area of the island in 1970.

Shiratani Unsuikyo

Image 1 of 27

The Shiratani Unsuikyo & Jomon Sugi 2 Day 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.  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 features along the old railway line that was built 100 years ago to transport lumber down to Anbo.  The line is still in use and occasionally a train passes by. 

Although there are certainly things to see along the 8km railway line, it’s not until leaving the railtrack and entering the forest that the second half of the day comes into its element.  Within 30 minutes there is the recently fallen Okina sugi (a 2000 year old cryptomeria that fell in 2010) and nearby is 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 withstanding 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: Diao sugi being the most impressive.  Gone are the days when you could hug Jomon sugi and so instead observers have to be content with viewing it from a few platforms about 15m from the tree.  There will be 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.

At the end of the first day we shall set-up camp at the Takatsu Hut.  This hut was refurbished recently and is perhaps the best of all the mountain huts on the island.  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. 

Side trips include the short climb to Taiko Iwa where you can enjoy the view looking out over to the central mountains. 

The other obvious benefit of the overnight hike is that if the weather is not good on the first day then there is a chance it could be better on the second day!

Please be sure to read the Yakushima Hiking Equipment Check List. for the 2 day / 1 night trek.  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.

Tour Information

There are plenty of places to re-fill the water containers on this trail.

Level: 4/5  |  Distance: 12km a day  Duration: 8 hours a day Altitude: 600 1300m

 Guide rate per person

1 person: 95,000円

2 people: 50,000円

3 people: 40,000円

4 or more: 35,000円

BOOK THIS TOUR or ask YES for more details.

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) / 1st day breakfast

In the event of heavy rain then we may be forced to change the entry or / and exit of this tour and use the Arakawa Trail entry point.  This alternative route will mean that there will be an extra expense of 700 yen per person if the obligatory bus is used.  There would also be additional taxi fares.

Cancellation Policy

A cancellation charge will be waivered only if adverse weather prevents the guest from arriving to Yakushima, or adverse weather forces us to cancel the tour.  Under all other circumstances if a the guest cancels a tour then cancellation charges apply.

Cancellation Charges

7 days in advance Free
64 days in advance 30
3 – 2 days in advance 50
1 day or on the day 100