With the end of the year upon us, I wanted take the time to take some time and remind people that there are ways you can follow what I’m doing and support the site that you might not have been aware of.
The first thing is my map:
View Larger Map
If you have Goolge Earth installed, you can explore my route and the places I’ve been on a virtual globe. Just download the kml file. I love playing with my map. It is a work in progress and it is never complete. You can view it in Google Maps, but it isn’t quite the same thing. If you do explore it in Google Maps, make sure to move the map around or all the points wont show up. (If anyone knows how to format the pins in kml files let me know. I’d like to make it a bit more snazzy)
The next thing of course is Twitter. I’m pretty active on Twitter and I use it to post a lot of one or two sentence things which are too small to make it on the blog. If you weren’t on Twitter, then you would never know about the 2 hours I spent drinking with an expat Canadian who told me about his drug and hooker exploits. This is quality stuff!
If you don’t use Twitter, you can still get my messages on Facebook. You can add me as a friend, or follow me on my fan page. I suggest you do both, as the more people I have on the fan page, the more it helps spread the word.
As for me, I’m off to see the long necked tribal women tomorrow. I hope everyone is enjoying the cold and snow back in North America. Temperature here is in the low 70s (22C) with sunny skies. The beer is cheap too….not to rub it in or anything.
Located in the interior of Yaku Island, at the meeting-point of the Palaearctic and oriental biotic regions, Yakushima exhibits a rich flora, with some 1,900 species and subspecies, including ancient specimens of the sugi (Japanese cedar). It also contains a remnant of a warm-temperate ancient forest that is unique in this region.
Yakushima is a very special place. About an hour ferry ride from Kagoshima, the interior of Yakushima (Yaku Island) is several thousand feet above sea level and often in the clouds.
Not only is it a beautiful place, but the food I had on Yakushima is some of the best I’ve experienced on my trip.
Yakushima is a roughly circular shaped island in Japan with a circumferential measurement of 130 km. It features a diverse landscape consisting of subtropical coastal regions while the parts with higher elevation are dominated by cold mountain areas. The mountainous region makes up 90% of the total land area in the island.
As of May 2012, there are an estimated 13,618 people living on the island. However, the human settlers are largely outnumbered by the flora and fauna species on the island.
Yakushima Interesting Facts
The dense forest covers a vast majority of the island that stretches out to near the shoreline.
About 95% of the island is owned and managed by the forestry department.
The inland region of Yakushima is the wettest part of Japan. The average rainfall in Japan is only up to 2,000 mm per year, but Yakushima’s is at 10,000 mm per year!
The tallest mountain in southern Japan is located in the Yakushima Island. It is Miyanoura dake with a height of 1,935 meters.
The Yakushima island is home to over 7,000 wild Yakuzaru monkeys and deer. These sub-species can only be found on the island. In fact, there are more monkeys and deer in the island than human residents.
The famous yak-sugi tree is one of the oldest trees in the world at 2,700 years old! This tree is found in Yakushima.
How to Get There and Getting Around
Yakushima is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, not just because it is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites. However, the island is highly isolated and difficult to get to. You can travel by air to Osaka, Kagoshima or Fukouka if you are coming from international destinations. From these jump-off points, you need to ride a ferry. There are plenty of ferry options available to choose from and they can determine how fast or slow the journey is.
Traveling to Yakushima by boat can be slow especially if you consider the additional travel time involved when you transfer to Kagoshima Bay. But the fare is reasonable so it won’t cause a huge dent on your budget.
Within the island itself, there are many transportation options. There are two bus companies that offer services to Yakushima Island. You can also rent a car if you want to explore more of the island. There are several car rental companies that operate. However, you need to have international driver’s license before you are able to rent a car in Yakushima.
The climactic conditions on the island range from warm temperate to subtropical. The climate on the island is heavily influenced by the mountain ranges, latitude and the ocean current. The low lying areas of the island experience mild to moderate winter with the forest often covered in snow during the winter. The ocean current, on the other hand, brings warm moisture into the air in the western part of the Yakushima coast.
The daily mean temperature in the island averages more than 19 degree Celsius per year. June and July are the hottest months of the year with an average temperature of 35 degree Celsius.