Islands steeped in the mysteries of nature and the universe.
Two of Japan's most unmissable islands help form the Osumi Archipelago. One is Yakushima, a World Natural Heritage Site, with its unspoiled primeval forests and stunning scenery. The other is Tanegashima, which sits right at the heart of Japan's space development, its lush green countryside home to the Japanese space agency's rocket launch pad.
- Yakushima: This island became Japan's first World Natural Heritage Site, and its ancient forests contain giant 1000-year-old 'yakusugi' cedar trees.
- Tanegashima Space Center: Said to be the most beautiful rocket launch complex in the world.
- Surf: Tanegashima is one of Japan's finest surf destinations.
Enjoy the mossy forest hiking course of Shiratani Unsuikyo, known as Princess Mononoke's forest, along with more challenging routes that meander through the island's towering primordial cedar trees. Beginner friendly courses are also available.
Watersports (Yakushima & Tanegashima)
Sea kayaking, diving, and surfing.
Yakusugi Nature Museum (Yakushima)
Learn more about the natural world of Yakushima including the yakusugi cedar trees. With plenty of quizzes and experience corners for children there is fun for all the family.
Tanegashima Space Center & Space Science and Technology Museum (Tanegashima)
The vast rocket launch complex is said to be the most beautiful in the world and the museum gives an intricate insight into the history of the rockets and technology used at the site.
Shiratani Unsuikyo (Yakushima)
A moss covered forest that is thought to have been the inspiration behind the setting of Studio Ghibli's Princess Mononoke animated film.
The coast of Tanegashima is dotted with a number of outstanding beaches, including Urusaki Beach that was chosen as one of Japan's top 88 beaches and Takesaki which is famous for its surf.
Jomon Sugi & Nakama Gajumaru tree (Yakushima)
'Jomon Sugi' is the largest yakusugi cedar tree growing on Yakushima and the top tourist attraction on the island. The huge Nakama Gajumaru tree is also not to be missed.
Yakushima has the largest number of waterfalls in Japan. The wonderful Ohkonotaki Falls has a dynamic 88-meter drop and was selected as one of Japan's Top 100 Waterfalls. Another notable fall worth visiting on the island is Toroki Falls where the water drops directly into the ocean below.
Chikura no Iwaya (Tanegashima)
This coastal cave was formed by wave erosion and can only be entered for two hours a day due to the tides.
Sugar cane fields (Tanegashima)
Not your typical sightseeing spot. Take in the exquisite views of the ocean gently rising up beyond the exuberant sugar cane fields.