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Getting Around Yakushima

  • Yakushima is a small and round-shaped island, only 28km across at its widest point. As most of the island’s interior is untamed natural forest and extremely mountainous, there are only a few small pockets of populated areas along the coast, all of which are connected by Yakushima’s main road which loops around the entire island making a full three-hour circuit around 90km long. A few other winding roads branch off into the rugged interior and lead to popular sightseeing spots, such as Yakusugi Land and Shiratani Unsuikyo, and, on all roads, you’re more likely to run into deer than traffic.

    Getting Around Yakushima

    Getting Around Yakushima

    One local car rental company is Destino, situated close to Miyanoura Port, and they offer a variety of vehicles and a great friendly service. Don’t forget to apply for an international driver’s license before leaving your country. The cheapest cars to rent are the small-engine and low-budget ‘K’ cars (from 5,000 yen per day), but these tend to get booked up fastest. You can also rent electric or hybrid cars and make use of the free charging points around the island - a good way to help the environment and save money at the same time.

    Getting Around Yakushima

    Getting Around Yakushima

    Having your own set of wheels makes exploring Yakushima a real joy and provides more freedom than relying on the fairly infrequent public transport options. If you want to bring your own car from the mainland, it costs around 35,000 yen for a return on the car ferry. If you are staying for five days or less however, it usually works out cheaper to rent a car. Those with a driver’s licence can also rent a scooter, and this is another good way to get around (for around 4,000 yen per day). Many places also have bicycles to rent, ask at your accommodation or the tourist information desks for more information.

    One word of caution if planning a full circuit of the island: the road on the wild and remote west side of the island often narrows to a single lane and sees far less traffic than other parts of the island, with almost no services at all along the way, so be sure to fill up on gas (or charge up) beforehand.

    Getting Around Yakushima

    Getting Around Yakushima

    For those with no car, there is a reliable but fairly infrequent bus service between the main towns and sightseeing spots on the island. Buses do not make a full circuit of the island, as the road in the west is too narrow, but they do go to such attractions as Yakusugi Land. The two main bus companies are Yakushima Kotsu and Matsubanda Kotsu: check online or at tourist information desks for their timetables. You can buy a bus pass for one to four days, costing between 2,000 and 4,000 yen (children are half price).

    Getting Around Yakushima

    Getting Around Yakushima

    Most visitors arrive in Yakushima by sea from Kagoshima, and there are a number of sailing options. The fastest way is the “toppy” or rocket jetfoil, which glides across the water around eight times a day from Kagoshima to either Miyanoura or Anbo ports. It takes around two hours and costs 8,400 yen one-way.
    Another option is the Yaku 2 car ferry which sets sail from Kagoshima every morning and the return leaves Miyanoura Port in the afternoon. It takes about four hours and costs 5,000 yen one-way.
    Lastly, there is the Hibiscus overnight freight ferry which leaves Kagoshima at 6pm and arrives at Miyanoura Port at 7am the next morning. It costs around 7,200 yen for a return ticket.
    Yakushima Airport also has daily flights from Kagoshima, Fukuoka, and Osaka (Itami) airports.

    Getting Around Yakushima

    Getting Around Yakushima

    Yakushima
    Address
    Kagoshima prefecture Kumage gun Yakushima cho
    Phone
    0997494010
    デスティ-ノレンタカ-屋久島 デスティ-ノレンタカ-屋久島
    Address
    鹿児島県熊毛郡屋久島町宮之浦366-3
    Phone
    0997-42-1100
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