Yakushima, Japan

After spending five days on this dynamic Island, I know it is a place I will endeavor to re-visit again and again. The depth of the natural beauty in the Islands three distinct climates was incredible to see. 

The development seen on neighboring southern Japanese Islands such as Tanegashima (home of the Japanese Space program) is not present at Yakushima with the Island favoring small scale economies of fishing, forestry (the Yakashima Cedar is a prized woodworking tree) and domestic tourism.

The Islands forests have been responsibly managed for hundreds of years (an 10,000 annual rainfall would certainly help quick regrowth) and today more than three quarters of the Islands surface remains forested (with 21% being a World Heritage Site). Within the Heritage site are the revered Yakusugi trees (or Yakushima Cedar), which have evolved to resist rot- an essential survival mechanism due to the incredible precipitation rates. A result of this is a slow growth rate-but also an increased life span. The oldest Cedar on the Island dates at an estimated 3000 years. 

Many of these images were taken on the famous shiratani unsuikyo hike, a day walk in the warm temperate region of the central mountain ranges. A number of others were taken on road sides and coastal strips. These photographs are by no means a comprehensive account of Yakushima's diversity- instead they offer a small glimpse of the pure verdance which overwhelmed us on an hourly basis.

Hopefully I can one day return to add to this small collection.