How to visit Yakushima without a guide Day 2 – Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine hike
- Terrain: Woodland,forest
- Duration:4-5 hours
- Difficulty: medium
The second day in Yakushima was again a sunny day! We could hardly believe our luck in Yakushima. Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine is a valley located at the north part of the island. It has three trekking routes varying in difficulty and length. We decided to do a combination of Bugyosugi Cedar course (the orange route) and Yaoisugi Cedar course(the red route). The combination would take around 4-5 hours.
The hike begins from a rocky area with a beautiful stream. Soon the wooden path recedes to a mud path with huge tree roots crawling onto the path. The valley is much more humid than Yakusugi land, hence the forests and moss are thicker and greener. The cedar trees are not as old as Yakusugi land but more picturesque. When admiring a group of trees wrapping and growing over several huge rocks, some passing Japanese ladies told us, that this scene is related to Princess Monoroke. Some meters away we can see Yaku monkeys resting on the trees. They are such cute animals, much smaller than normal monkeys. At this point we came to the conclusion that the animals are generally smaller here. The monkeys are not aggressive at all; just mind their own business and not pay much attention to people around. It is generally discouraged to feed them.
At halfway point we reached Taikoiwa Rock, a rock platform where one can have a panorama view over the valley. Having only walked in thick forest from yesterday, the view was refreshing and breathtaking.
With the fading daylight we descended towards the crossing point of the red routes(Yaoisugi Cedar course). It is an hour-long detour, which would put us in darkness on the way out. We marched into the red route, hoping that we could walk quicker. This part of the route turned out to be the most beautiful part of the hike. The route quickly descends to a moist valley full of moss covered fallen branches and rocks over a scream. In the diminishing daylight the branches and rocks looked almost alive. We lowered our voice and walk quietly, to not to disturb them. We arrived at the car park in complete darkness, quite content with our experience. Dinner is again Sashimi set, fish, vegetable and rice from Acoop, as our host had kindly lent us a rice cooker (can always count on finding a rice cooker in Japan!)