Yakushima - Sankara Hotel

We spent an amazing 36 days in Japan! We did a lot of traveling, and we went back and forth between a lot of locations, cities, and districts. To make things easier to read and write, we have grouped everything in our travels into city locations and not exactly by time. The Japan list of contents so far can be found here!

By far the most amazing part of our Japan adventure was the magical island of Yakushima. We arrived in Yakushima by boat and we spent 4 days in Yakushima, driving around the entire island and exploring as much as we could during our time there.

* Sankara Hotel & Spa - our home during our stay in Yakushima
* Explore Yakushima - Exploring the local area near Sankara Hotel and the port - Yakushima Life: Botanical Research Park, Wakashio Sushi
* Hike Yakushima - Hiking the Yakushima forest the area that served as the inspiration for Studio Ghibli's Princess Mononoke - Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine
* Drive Yakushima - We spent a full day driving around the entire island of Yakushima stopping. Lots of Yakushika (Yakushima deer) and Yakuzaru (Yakushima Monkeys) were seen

Hands down, the most magical and interesting place in all of Japan that we visited, and probably in all of our travels ever, was Yakushima. A small nearly round island around 80 miles in circumference it is located about 130 miles from Kagoshima. It is almost unheard outside of Japan, but those who do know it, it was most likely due to the island serving as the inspiration for the inspiration for the Studio Ghibili film "Princess Mononoke".

The island is home to the Yaku deer and Yakushima macaque as well as the largest nesting ground for the endangered loggerhead turtles all of which have no natural predators on the island other than man.

Yakushima gets more rain than almost anywhere else in Japan with measurable precipitation 50% of the days of the year. The combination of heavy rains and isolation has given the island lush vegetation. Combined with the fact that there has been no record of tree cutting a the core of the island it is home to trees between 2100 and 7200 years old. All of these factors combined made Yakushima one of Japan's natural wonders and Yakushima was designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

Due to its remoteness and lack of outsiders we could not rely on the amazing unnatural wonder that is Japans public transportation, so we specifically made sure to rent a car and get our International drivers permit so that we could travel around the island.

Our home during our stay on Yakushima island was the Sankara Hotel & Spa.
This picture is courtesy of the Sankara Hotel & Spa website
The weather during most of our stay during Yakushima was overcast with bouts of rain and sprinkles. We didn't take as many pictures of the exterior of the hotel itself during our time there, so most of the hotel pictures we pulled from their website. We have labeled them so.
This picture is courtesy of the Sankara Hotel & Spa website
This picture is courtesy of the Sankara Hotel & Spa website
This picture is courtesy of the Sankara Hotel & Spa website
This picture is courtesy of the Sankara Hotel & Spa website

Sankara Hotel & Spa is a prestigous luxury hotel built in the remote area of the island away from the majority of the population. Peacefulness and rest amongst the naturual habitiat.
While they did have an amazing pool area overlooking the ocean it was too cold and rainy to be used during our stay.
Our room at Sankara was one of the best hotel rooms we have ever stayed in.
It was important to us to have a large bathtub in the room and when we found out they offered a room with it's own hot tub we jumped at the chance to stay in that room. The hot tub was protected from the outside world by only wooden blinds, which allowed cool air in while bathing. It also allowed in some small wildlife that could fit through the blinds. We shared our room with a few very very large Japanese Luna moths during our stay which was fascinating.
Our roommate and hot tub partner.

We dined at Sankara Hotel & Spa in their resturaunt called "Okas" the first night serving a full course French menu.
This picture is courtesy of the Sankara Hotel & Spa website

The "Okas" resturaunt served an incredible full course meal that was very different than anything else we had in Japan, almost a fusion of French and Japanese cooking. With bright colors and a variety of flavors it was an interesting dining experince.