Q: Is a guide necessary?
A: For those without mountain experience then a guide is invaluable. For those with experience then the guide uses your time on the island efficiently: no wrong turns and keeps the hike on schedule. Aside from the practicalities, the guide will convey a lot of information regarding Yakushima along the way, making the time with guide well-spent.
If you wish to get off the main trails and stay away from the crowds that head straight for these routes, then the guide rate is money well spent. The Yakushima forests are deep and heavily-wooded so the local knowledge of a guide is essential.
Q: I have no hiking experience so will hiking on Yakushima or walking the 10 hour hike to Jomon sugi be possible?
A: So long as you are in reasonable health then most of the treks are possible with the guide. However, some hikes require reasonable fitness as well as health. The guide will set the pace to suit your ability and will also get you to the destination and back again. Please check the equipment list to make sure you have the correct gear.
Q: What happens if I want to stop and go back along the way?
A: If others are with us then the guide will put you in a safe place with shelter and ask you to stay there until the guide and the other guests return along the route.
If you are the only guest on the tour or your group are the only tour members, then the guide will turn back with you if the other members also agree to turn back with you.
Q: Can you take a large group booking of 10 people?
A: Yes. Any more than 7 guests then we bring along a second guide. This does not affect the price of the guide rate.
Q: Can I bring a Japanese friend on the tour with me even though they do not speak English?
A: Yes. The our guides have lived in Japan for many years and the speak either good or fluent Japanese.
Q: Is food provided on the tours?
A: Yes. A lunch bento usually consisting of rice, fish, chicken and egg is provided on our tours. Please bring along some snacks should you like to nibble along the way. We can cater for guests with dietary restrictions.
Q: Can I pay for the tour with a credit card?
A: No. We accept cash-only and this is payable on the day of the tour.
Q: Can children come along?
A: Yes. Children under the age of 12 will be charged half the adult rate. Children aged 4 & 5 are charged 1,500 yen. Children aged 3 or under are charged 500 yen, but no bento is provided.
Q: What if the weather is bad?
A: A tour or hike will be cancelled in the event of a typhoon. No cancellation charge is taken. Similiarly, if your transportation to Yakushima is cancelled or delayed and this prevents you from joining the tour then no cancellation charge is taken. If it rains on the day of the tour then this will not force us to cancel a tour. We usually can provide an alternative route that is safe in heavy rain. If we cancel the tour then no charge is taken. In all other instances a cancellation charge will be taken
Q: Are hiking boots essential?
A: On all but the easy short treks, then hiking boots are highly recommended. Twisted ankles or worse injuries are highly likely with most other foot wear. As it rains a lot on Yakushima then normal shoes or sneakers would become wet very quickly. On the short hikes around Shiratani Unsuikyo or Yakusugi Land then good shoes or sneakers are OK, but not on the longer hikes around these areas.
Q: Should I bring an umbrella?
A: Bringing a small and compact umbrella is useful when eating your lunch in the rain. Affix the umbrella to the side of your rucksack.
Q: Could you recommend a hotel on Yakushima?
A: If you need accommodation then contact YES Yakushima. YES can find you good accommodation and their services are free. We do not recommend staying in Nagata or Kurio as these places are very far from most of the hiking routes.
Q: When is the best time to visit Yakushima?
A: The spring and the fall are the best seasons for hiking. In the summer there are often ferry and flight cancellations due to typhoons In the summer the trails are often crowded, especialy on the Jomon sugi route. In the winter the trails are quiet, but sometimes the trails are closed due to heavy snow and ice.
Q: Can I book other activities to do on Yakushima
A: We can arrange other activities for you and present them as a package.