Japan's Yakushima Island is an ecological wonder.
In recognition of that, it was designated a natural World Heritage Site.
Landing at the somewhat drab port on the jet foil from Kagoshima, we saw concrete and signs of typical Japanese construction. It was eight degrees centigrade and cloudy.
However, in the not so distant mountains snow could be seen.
En route to those hills, and the twenty-one percent of the island that is a UNESCO site, we stopped at a beautiful falls. Senpiro no Taki (Senpiro Falls) was an inspiration for filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki. It is pictured below left.
After a short break, we pressed on up the mountains to the kigen sugi (BC cedar).
The tree is over three thousand years old and massive. While we were driving up the winding road into the mountains, a light snow began to fall.
A family of monkeys - smaller and with grayer fur than those on Honshu island - sat on the side of the road oblivious to us.
By the time we got to the famous cedar, snow covered much of the road and the branches on the trees.
The sheer size of the tree elicited cries of delight and amazement from a tour group already there.
From Kagoshima City, the jet foil Toppy takes about two hours one way to the island.
Daily flights from Osaka's Itami Airport.
Getting around the island itself requires a rental car or hiring a driver.
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Friday, February 26, 2010