Wilson Stump Tour

Wilson StumpThis tour takes in a few areas of interest: Shiratani Unsuikyo, the old railway line that connected the logging village of Kosugidani to the coastal village of Anbo and the final destination – Wilson Stump – the remains of a huge sugi tree cut down over 400 years ago.

The route of this trek follows much of that taken by the famous English botanist Ernest Henry Wilson in February 1914.  Wilson made his name as a “plant-hunter” in southern China during the tumultuous downfall of the Qing Dynasty.

Ernest Henry Wilson 05After his 10 day visit to Yakushima that began his three year project in Japan & Taiwan, Wilson brought the island to recognition in the West as a particularly special place for plant-life when he toured and lectured North America until his death in 1930.

In 1914, Wilson’s journey into the Yakushima forests began from the coast near the Kusugawa village.  However, a few hours are saved by joining the trail at Shiratani Unsuikyo.  The Kusugawa Trail is an old logging trail that was used by the wood-cutters working in the sugi roof-tile trade.  The Shiratani Unsuikyo forest is a particularly beautiful woodland that is an excellent location for photography.  The trail continues up to a pass before descending for an hour through a really tranquil area (probably the quietest area throughout the entire hike) with some amazing boulders along the way.  Eventually the trail joins the railway line along the Arakawa Trail.  This line was built 100 years ago to transport the lumber down to Anbo.  The railway line is still in use (fortunately the line is no longer used for the purpose of transporting lumber to the coast) and occasionally you may see supplies and equipment being transported up and down the railway track.

Shiratani Unsuikyo

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At the end of the railway line, hikers begin walking along the Okabu Trail and within 30 minutes arrive to Wilson’s Stump.  This magnificent stump is the remains of the tallest sugi to have existed in the forests of Yakushima (approximately 44 meters).  It was felled in the 1580’s by order of Hideyoshi Toyotomi to be part of a large temple in Kyoto to celebrate his victory over the Shimzu clan in southern Kyushu at the end of the Sengoku War.  Records indicate that large trees were shipped from the island at this time, but there are no records that indicate which trees they were.  Whether or not these trees actually made it to Kyoto for the construction of the temple is also a debatable issue.  Wilson took a number of photographs of this stump and the surrounding area and only recently were these photographs recovered from the Harvard University archive (USA).  So large is this stump that visitors can walk around inside it – although it can get busy inside during the peak season.

After lunch, the tour returns along the same route and there may be time to climb up to Taiko Iwa and enjoy the view looking out over to the central mountains. 

Heavy rain can force the Shiratani Unsuikyo forest to be closed due to some dangerous river crossings. 

Level 4/5  |  Distance: 16km | Time 9 – 10 hours | Altitude 600 ~ 1100m

Guide Rate (per person)

1person: 35,000円

2  people: 20,000円

3 people: 16,000円

4 or more: 14,000円

Wilson Stump is also included on the Jomon Sugi 2 Day / 1 Night Tour

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