How to visit Yakushima without a guide Day 5- Miyanoura-dake and Hirachi Kaichu Onsen

How to visit Yakushima without a guide Day 5- Miyanoura-dake and Hirachi Kaichu Onsen

Miyanoura-Dake hike itinerary map
Miyanoura-Dake hike itinerary map

Miyanoura-Dake Hike

  • Terrain: Woodland,forest, rocky terrain
  • Duration:10 hours
  • Difficulty: hard

Located in the middle of the island, Miyanoura- dake is the highest peak on Yakushima, as well as the highest mountain in south Japan. We couldn’t believe our luck to wake up with another sunny morning, a perfect start for a long hike. The most common starting point is Yodogawa Mountain trail entrance, though it is possible to access the peak from west Hanayama entrance or even continued from Jyomon-Sugi. At this point we have learned that all the trails here are connected. There are basic huts in the forest, so one can do a multi-day circular trek visiting all the places if equipped with camping gear. 

It supposed to be a 10 to 11 hours hike so we managed to arrive at the trailhead at half past seven. Already there were plenty of cars there. We got almost the last parking spot.

The trail starts in thick forest, going up and down passing rivers, wetland and woodland. At halfway point the rock became steeper and involved a bit scrambling with rope. We were both excited to bring back some of our Via Ferrata skills. From there on it was mainly uphill, and the forest receded to low bushes. We started to have a good view around the valley and see the people ahead lined up to the peak.  

Path through the forest
Climbing section
Todd posing at a halfway viewpoint

Around 12:30pm we reached the peak with unobstructed view all the way to the sea. This is also one of the few places along the trail to sit down on some rocks, so almost everyone took out their bento box and had lunch on the peak.

View at Miyanoura peak

Clouds start to rise while we were having lunch. On the way walking down the peak, the valleys were already covered with thick fog. We felt lucky to have beaten the weather.

View on the train during descend

Hirachi Kaichu tidal Onsen

It was our last night at Yakushima. After another round of mouth watering Wagu beef for dinner, we drove to the tidal onsen Hirachi Kaichu. This onsen is located on the coast, only accessible 2 hours before and after lowest tide, hence 4 hours per day. Thought it must be a popular spot, arriving at the entrance, we were confused to see no car park or any car. Walked to the onsen we only encountered a 200 Yen donation sign, with no guard, no light, no one around. We almost believed we must have missed something and wanted turned around. Then we heard voices coming from the sea.  There seemed to be people on the beach. Walking closer we finally realized it is a completely open-air dark onsen. There were some bags and clothes on the rock. So we got changed and walked into the beach. There were three pools separated by rocks. We plunged into the middle pool and began to enjoy this unique onsen. The water is cooler than Onoaida so we could stay in the water for much longer.  It was very quiet.  The only sound one could hear was the waves and wind. It was a slight pity that the clouds were covering the moon, otherwise it could be more beautiful.

The next morning became rainy and windy. We paid a special visit to our favorite fish shop, loaded ourselves with another tray of Sashimi and flew to Fukuoka for our next Japan stop.

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