Give Your Legs a Rest and Head to Yakushima’s Yaku Shrine
Since the hardcore nine hour hiking trails and subsequent outrageous early mornings are what many visitors to the magical island of Yakushima crave, other aspects of the area’s charm may go overlooked. But, if your legs need a break from their endless churning, perhaps you should take an evening stroll to this peaceful Shinto shrine.
Like most areas in Yakushima, Yaku shrine is a nature entangled masterpiece. From the twisting trees, hole-filled rocks and vibrant moss, everything echoes the essence of the forests. It even smells fresh, earthy and inviting. This shrine may look a little run down, with it’s corroded statues and weathered signs, but it holds within itself a good amount of character, making it an entirely different shrine experience to those in most big cities. Not only this, but the view around the shrine is cascaded with nothing but mountains, a distant beach and the ocean. This is a far cry from the concrete walls of Tokyo. It’s a haven of peace and tranquility, accompanied by the cleanest, freshest air and the soothing sounds of the ocean.
Eerie Atmosphere at Yaku Shrine
However, Yaku shrine does not come without a mysterious and, if I’m honest, slightly creepy vibe. As the long walk up the fairly open concrete path begins to darken beneath the twisted trees, you are greeted by the corroded faces of weathered statues.
The place is deserted but the creaking of the trees, whistling wind and sudden squawking birds in the distance make you feel like you’re not alone. What made it even creepier, was the sight of a pole monument, displaying the words “May Peace Prevail On Earth” in English. While I appreciate the sentiment, I had seen the exact same pole when in Sakurajima, which, perhaps due to its creepy concrete look, made me shiver a little. But, to me, the plethora of creepy only made it more exciting. Since Yakushima in itself is a place of mystery, with scenery that I could have only imagined, it is only natural that Yaku shrine follows suit.
Staying Near Miyanoura Port? Take a Trip to Yaku Shrine
Admittedly, I had not planned to visit Yaku shrine in Yakushima until I realized that my ferry had arrived too late to do any kind of hiking that day, particularly with the infrequent nature of the buses. And, while it is merely a side attraction to the wonders of the forest in Yakushima, if your accommodation is near Miyanoura port, I would definitely recommend an evening stroll here. Looking back through the gate of the shrine as the sun sets behind the mountains is a sight to behold.
So, if you’re in Yakushima near Miyanoura port with some time to kill, why not take a stroll to this creepy and mystical Yaku shrine. It surely is a shrine with buckets of character.
|Address||277, Miyanoura, Kumage-gun Yakushima-cho, Kagoshima Prefecture|
277, Miyanoura, Kumage-gun Yakushima-cho, Kagoshima Prefecture
|Opening Hours||Any time|