Our reporter finds beautiful sightseeing spots not found in any guidebooks.

Our Japanese reporter Seiji Nakazawa recently took an unplanned, spur-of-the-moment trip from the SoraNews24 HQ to the southern island of Yakushima.

Yakushima is famous for a couple of sightseeing spots, such as Jomon Sugi, a giant cedar tree said to be over 7,000 years old, and Shiratani Unsui Ravine, the gorgeous forest that’s said to have inspired the Studio Ghibli movie Princess Mononoke. Both destinations are usually considered ‘must-sees’ for anyone visiting the island, but for Seiji, who decided to visit on a whim with absolutely zero planning, getting to such places wouldn’t be easy. Seiji was keen not to waste too much of the trip on hardcore sightseeing and travelling around the island, and instead decided to focus on a more relaxed way to spend his holiday.

Even though he got bested by Yakushima’s infrequent public transport the moment he arrived on the island, Seiji decided to scout out a few sightseeing spots that were more accessible for those without a car, and after a leisurely trip around the island he found three worth reporting on.

1. The Bench with the Ocean View

The bench is located on a road that runs right along the southern edge of the island. It doesn’t exactly have a name that screams, ‘We must go here!’ and it was a little run down and rusty, but the view from the bench was absolutely breathtaking. Located a stone’s throw away from Nakama bus stop, this bench sits in perfect harmony with the location, blending in perfectly with the beautiful ocean view that stretches out in front of it.

▼ From this angle, it looks pretty drab…

▼ … but look at that sprawling, ocean view!

2. The Kajumaru Swing

This charming swing, hooked on to a kajumaru tree (also known as a banyan tree, an Indian laurel or a curtain fig tree) is near to the Bench with the Ocean View in Nakama, specifically in Shiokaze Park. Shiokaze translates in English to ‘salt breeze’ and although in reality it’s a pretty small park, there is nothing in front of the swing to block the ocean breeze from gently wafting onto your face with every swing. It also makes for some gorgeous pictures, provided you position your camera at just the right angle, like Seiji did.

▼ Just be aware that this is what it looks like from the front — still a beautiful looking tree, but significantly less ocean views.

3. Ocean View Road

Seiji is a bit of a sucker for straight, unbending roads, and if he can see even a glimpse of the ocean at the end of the road’s horizon, he can’t help but take a picture. Yakushima had these kinds of photogenic roads in abundance, and Seiji most definitely would have missed the beauty of them if he’d driven on them, so instead decided to scope them out on foot.

While there were many roads with beautiful horizon views for Seiji to take a picture of, there was one in particular that got him reaching for his camera almost instantly. It was a road that sloped downhill slightly, with a beautiful ocean view on the horizon.

“Really? That’s it?” some of you might be saying, and we get it. Taken with an iPhone, this picture is nice enough, but it doesn’t do justice to how nice it looks in real life.

▼ So again, with the right angle and a bit of editing this can end up looking really special.

This angle really does justice to how beautiful and sprawling the ocean was, and the utility poles in the foreground gave the photo some nice depth.

These were three spots that Seiji came across during his time spent on Yakushima, but he’s absolutely sure that there are more to be found all over the island. Next time you head down to Yakushima, why not take a break from all the ‘traditional’ sightseeing spots and see if you can find a few hidden gems of your own? Or better yet, try asking the locals for their recommendations instead!

Photos ©SoraNews24
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