It was my last day on Yakushima island (or so I thought), so having realised I wasn’t going to see anything walking, I decided to hire a car. After breakfast, and not swimming due to the wind making the pool look a bit too tidal, I picked up my Japanese car. This is it!
I felt really Japanesey driving it, but the radio did do my head in, as it only seemed to have one station (which all the buttons were programmed to) which just played traditional Japanese music. Not really my scene. Anyway, the car was an automatic, but I think it had some electric stuff going on as well, as it was atrocious going uphill.
I’d been advised by the staff at the hotel not to travel around the West coast of the island. A typhoon was apparently approaching, which would make the single track road there unsafe. So I first headed to Ohko-no-taki Waterfall. Its water drops 88 metres, and it’s rated one of Japan’s top 100 waterfalls. After forty minutes, I arrived – and it was pretty stunning, but after looking at it for a while, there was nothing really else to see.
It was remote. So I jumped back in my trusty hire car.
Next was lunch.
I decided to forego any recommendations from the guide book that had led me to the bar yesterday, and stopped at Nomado Cafe. I’d highly recommend it if you ever find yourself on Yakushima. The couple running it were lovely, and the place had a nice buzz. It also sold some paper goods and flip flops.
I had spicy minced meat with rice, and it was absolutely oishi – or delicious in English. Believe it or not that was a small portion! Chatting with the couple I explained that it was my last day on the island – and that my flight was due to leave the next day. They just looked at each other like ‘who’s going to give him the bad news’ and then broke the bad news. The typhoon that was coming was pretty serious – and it was likely that all flights would be cancelled. I was kind of a bit gutted, as I thought I’d seen most of what the island had to offer, but in the back of my mind, I thought the flight would probably go anyway.
Next I drove up the coast to Anbo – where I’d read that you could make your own chopsticks and mousemats out of wood. I know that sounds dull, right, but there wasn’t much else to do, and I thought a mousemat made out of wood from a Yakushima tree might be cool. And I hadn’t done woodwork since school.
So I stopped at the first place, where the Japanese woman explained there was no making going on. Then I tried the next shop along the road, where a very helpful man explained that because their craftsman was busy prepping for the tornado coming, there would be no classes. Great. Back in the car!
Next I drove up to Miyanoura, which is the biggest settlement on Yakushima. It has a scary looking chemical plant. By now the skies were looking pretty fierce – a sign of what was to come tomorrow – little did I know! I headed in to the
Then I was ushered into a huge auditorium (think Imax size). I was the only person there. The doors were closed, the lights dimmed and on came a film about the island with English subtitles.
The weird thing was, the subtitles only flashed up every now and then, but the voiceover was almost constant. I think English speakers were done! I think the main take-out from the film was that the island is born of the spirit of the sea or something like that.
Driving back to the hotel, I stopped off at a “pillow lava beach”, but whether or not it was the weather or the highish tide, it just kind of looked like a rocky beach. The waves were looking puretty fierce though.
I filled up the car, and dropped it back at the hotel, where the staff asked if I’d like to stay another night as while my flight was still shown as departing, it was likely to be cancelled due to the impending typhoon. Ever the optimist I declined, but said I’d take them up on the offer if my flight was actually cancelled. After another delicious dinner, I found The Waking Dead in English on the TV (hadn’t watched it before so didn’t have a clue what was going on) and fell asleep pretty quickly. Tomorrow I’d be flying off back to the mainland. Or would I?!!! Cliffhanger!