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A Fulfilling

Journey

生命が満たされる旅

The mysterious island, where ancient nature is alive, and is full of diverse ecosystems and unique cultures: Yakushima. This island, which was declared a World Heritage Site in 1993, is a "treasure of mankind," and travelers who visit this island get a taste of the dynamics of Yakushima’s mysterious lifestyles, and the peculiar sensations that may arise in the experiencer’s own life.

Documentaryドキュメンタリー

10min

Promotionプロモーション

60sec

Commercialコマーシャル

30sec

Experience

Water Cycles

Yakushima is an island that gets struck by the warm current "kuroshio"iconic to Japan.The warm and moist air carried by the kuroshio runs up the mountains ataltitudes 1,000 - 2,000 meters (0.6 - 1.3 miles) high, forms rainclouds, and cause a lot of rain to fall on the island.The large amounts of rain in Yakushima, which is joked to have "35 days ofrain a month," form countless streams, dampens forests, forms rivers andfloods villages, flows out to sea, and gets cycled through again.Everything on this island including the mysterious forests, diverseecosystems, and village lifestyles all exist vis-a-vis these "water cycles."

Exceptional

Nature

Approximately 90% of Yakushima's land mass is occupied by treacherousmountains and mysterious forests, which have in turn created a uniquenatural environment with rich water resources built up due to the watercycles. This island, which spans a mere 30km (19 miles) in diameter, appears to function as a "microcosm of Earth", with its features like the millenia-old cedar trees Yakusugi, the 78 species of endemic plants found only on the island of Yakushima and nowhere else in the world, 100 famous spots of clear water streams, the abundant maritime life provided by the Kuroshio current (which boasts the most sought-after fish species in Japan), and diverse nature and ecosystems acting as nesting grounds for some of the largest populations of sea turtles in the world.

Mountain

Worship

Yakushima is also called "Yojoh no Arupusu" or "The Alps of the sea",as it is lined with mountains with altitudes that exceed 1,000 meters (1,100yards), and includes Mount Miyanoura (1,936 meters or 2,120 yards,the highest peak in Kyushu), Mount Nagata, Mount Kuromi, and Mount Anbo,and in each village exists a culture of worshipping the gods of the mountainscalled "Take mairi" ('mountain visits').During Take mairi, rice, salt, sake, and sand collected from the beach areoffered to the mountain gods, and flowers that bloom in the mountainsare brought back to the village and offered to shrines as souvenirs fromthe visits to the mountains.It is a symbiotic culture for the people of Yakushima, who live with natureby being nourished by the majestic mountains, by respecting the gods,by purifiying their bodies in the waters, and by living out their days havingfaith in blessings from the sea.

Traditional

Practice

Yakushima has a population of about 12,000, with 24 settlementsalong the coast, and each of the villages that are partitioned by deep valleys and rivers comes with its own history and culture. Within the individual Yakushima villages, expressions of culture range from "tobiuo maneki ('flying fish invitation')", at which Yakushima women dance to songs in hopes of big yields in flying fish, to "nagare bune ('flowing boat')", where you can let the boat flow with the river's current while enjoying a relaxed meal, to the 'Hirauchi kaichu onsen ('Hirauchi underwater hot springs')" that usually only surface a couple hours before and after the low tide before sinking back into the sea; but the real pleasure of traveling here is in the discovery and the experience.

Local Food

Within sealocked Yakushima exists a food culture that makes use of itsabundant seafood.The yields of flying fish boast the highest in Japan, and flying fish productsin forms such as tsuke-age ('tempura-fried'), smoked fish and into ago dashi('flying fish broth') are popular, along with sashimi ('raw fish') and kara-age('deep-fried').The Kuroshio current's impact and the rapidly deepening undulations of the local seabed allow many hauls of delicious mackerel, grouper and amberjack to be caught. In addition to marine resources, Yakushima is also characterized by the fact that one may enjoy many beverages that take advantage of the richness of the forests and water, with products such as fresh juices made from the citrus fruits abundant here like ponkan and tankan, Yakushima teas, sweet potato shochu liquors, and craft beers.

Outdoor

Activities

On Yakushima, you can enjoy trekking while feeling the rich nature of theancient forests, mountain climbing to brave the mountains, and various otheractivities in nature.One of the characteristics of Yakushima is that you can experience manyecologically friendly activities in nature, from those that allow you to sensethe value these water resources bring along with their cycles (such as SUP[standup paddleboarding], kayaking, diving and snorkeling), to activitiesthat satisfy your mind and body (such as yoga and meditation).

Princess
Mononoke

The rich and mysterious nature of Yakushima is said to have become theinspiration for the forest depicted in the movie Princess Mononoke.

Voice

The People of
Yakushima

Nature Guide
Kenichi Sasagawa
I think it is extremely critical for people to feel comfortable when entering Yakushima's forests. I believe that human beings are just as much a part of nature, and so thespaces that allow the sensation of "living with nature" will be found withinthese forests. Yakushima's entire island has been forged by the blessings ofwater circulation cycles and is thus teeming with a wide variety of wildlife. Hearing its sounds like the wind, rain and bird songs allows us to feel likewe too are invited to participate in the nature.
Moss Ocean House representative
Yuuki Imamura
I was originally a mountain guide. As a mountain guide traversingYakushima's nature, I always recognized the awe-inspiring ability ofYakushima's water cycles, which connect its mountains with forests,rivers, and the sea, to breathe new life back into nature. We opened an innthat offers to recreate such an experience, told through a story aboutYakushima's unique nature, that invokes the sensations felt from themountains even after descending them back to the village. At the inn, weoffer meals using yields from Yakushima's spring, summer, autumn and wintercrops, and we also offer various activities that induce a sense of unity withnature so that one may re-experience such a circulation of mountains,forests, rivers and the sea.
Fisherman's living experience inn: Fuku no Ki
Haruka Nakashima
Yakushima has everything nature can offer, from the highest mountain peaks in Kyushu, to rivers and ocean. Since people live between the mountains and the ocean, we experience nature in our daily lives. All the sensations that are common place to the natives were shocking to me as aformer city resident.Unlike the Yakusugi trees, Fuku no ki ('trees of Fuku') are abundant in the village and so are not particularly unique here. The reasons to stay here on the island lie in my daily life. The people's warmth, their traditions, the culture, and their way of life which may not be convenient but is in concert with nature. I would hope to convey my sentiments of such features.
Tea Farmer / Tea Shop "Hachimanju"
Keita Watanabe
In Yakushima, there are many farms that organically produce teas.In my tea plantation, weeds are used as fertilizer, and the ground issoftened by embedded organism activity, even without manually tilling thesoil. Yakushima Tea, with the distinctly clear aftertaste that you can't put down once you start drinking, is cultivated from pesticide-free, organic tea plantations powered by nature and integrated with the surrounding Japanese cedar forest. I think the reminder to appreciate Yakushima's nature is precisely its charm, and the charm of Yakushima Tea.
Chef
Takuzo Saito
Unlike urban areas, Yakushima's environment doesn't supply a large variety of foods, and so the island's overarching feature may be that we don't "havewhatever, whenever".Though, there are foods that grow here natively, reach us at the righttime of the season, and get into our mouths anyway. Looking at Yakushima's natural scenery, I don't think I see the same scenetwice. We make it our mission to serve dishes that aren't surrounded by artifically-made objects, that take advantage of the seasonal ingredients with finite availability here, to "not just serve, but to offer a humbleYakushima-esque story."
Wood Worker
Yuji Kashima
I started my job as a woodworker after 12 years of cutting down Yakusugi trees that had grown over the span of many years in Yakushima's forests. Having said that, my woodwork does involve using artificially planted cedars called jisugi 'local cedar'. From the viewpoint of resource conservation, the modern-day island of Yakushima can't afford to dessimate the millenia-old Yakusugi trees, and so we use the jisugi. I hope to increase the value of my jisugi-to-jisugi woodwork in order to show my appreciation for Yakushima's forests, and for their forseeablefuture.
Fisherman / Fishing Guide "Sakana no Mori"
Ryunosuke
I usually work as a fisherman, so I am intimately connected to Yakushima's sea. When my friends first fished with me on my boat and remarked "this is fun", I knew then to start my fishing boat business. While Yakushima's sea is rich with natural life, the fish population issteadily decreasing like with other seas. In such an adverse environment, I hope that many people will be moved to connect with the nature and enjoy the sea gifted by Yakushima through its ocean life.

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