Top Ten Japan Off-the-Beaten-Path Adventures

Monkey Around on Yakushima Island
By Brent Madison

Surrounded by ancient cedars wrapped in Yakushima's tangibly moist air, you might just have yourself believing that you've stepped into some ancient Japanese movie with samurai flying effortlessly across treetops overhead. The small southern island of Yakushima—boasting everything from the sub-tropical to sub-alpine environments—is one of the nation's best spots for wildlife viewing and hiking. Trails throughout the island are easy to follow, but a bit challenging because they are, more often than not, soaked. Often referred to as the "Alps of the Ocean," Yakushima Island has 40 peaks at over 3,200 feet high and is home to 1,300 plant and 150 different birds.

Spend the day wandering dewy trails as you search for macaques, then join locals for the epitome of all Japanese experiences, the onsen, or outdoor hot spring bath, and watch your aches and pains float away with the vapors.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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