yakushima activities

There are plenty of Yakushima activities to occupy a week or more on the island.  It’s an ‘outdoor person’s’ paradise.  If you’re a nature lover then you’re spoilt for choice!


For such a small island there are an abundance of trails running in all directions across the island.  Some of them are well-trodden, but others require some very vigilant navigation.  Winter conditions can also pose some difficult challenges for the serious trekker.  Yakushima has a long tradition of pilgrimages up to the mountains to request good harvests and health from the gods.  Many of the smaller mountains close to the coast have these old pilgrimage routes.  Many hikers on Yakushima are unaware that many of the trails they walk upon have been used by pilgrims for centuries.  When up on the mountains then please respect these places as areas of local spiritual value.  Should you wish to gain a good insight into the area you are traversing then consider a YES Tour as being a way of getting the most out of your visit to the island as the YES guides explain not only botanical aspects of the island, but also historical and cultural.

Water Activities

Once on the island you will quickly realize that there is an abundance of water.  The rivers provide great leisure areas and the clarity of the water is quite amazing.  Yakushima activities upon the rivers include river kayak, SUP and shower climbing.  The sea also plays its part in providing things to do: scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming and fishing (both shore and boat fishing).  YES can arrange a great days out on either the river or sea – check out the water activity booking section or contact YES for more details.


Museums are always good for a rainy day or a half day should you arrive late in the day or depart early afternoon.  Even when it rains there are a good range of museums to keep you occupied. 

Hot Springs

Certainly among favorite Yakushima activities are trips to the hot springs (onsen).  There are some indoor hot springs as well as a few outdoor hot springs by (or in the case of Hirauchi hot spring in the sea!). 


Like many areas of natural beauty, Yakushima attracts a high proportion of artisans inspired by their natural surroundings.  You can usually visit these artists and watch them at work.  Some places operate workshops and allow you to make your own artifact with the craftsperson by your side.