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Yakushima National Park

Land area: 24,566 ha
Designated on 16 Mar, 2012

Photo: Yakushima National Park

Yakushima was separated from Kirishima-Yaku National Park on Mar 2012, and become independent as Yakushima National Park. Part of Yakushima Island is listed on the World Natural Heritage Site and various measures are taken to conserve its valuable biota.

Huge Trees over 1,000-Years-Old on Yakushima Island

Map: Yakushima

Yakushima Island consists largely of a granite platform raised about 14 million years ago. It is an almost perfectly round island about 25 km in diameter with Mt. Miyanouradake (1,936 m), the highest mountain in the Kyushu Region, as its core. Because of its rich nature, the island is listed on the World Natural Heritage Site. There is an expression: "In Yakushima, it rains 35 days a month". Indeed, the island is extremely rainy with annual precipitation of over 4,000 mm, but has a mild climate. Therefore, it is blessed with rich forests.

Cedars growing in Yakushima Island which are over 1,000-years-old are called Yakusugi (Cryptomeria japonica). There are many large Yakusugi trees on the island. In particular, a huge Yakusugi called Jomonsugi, which has a trunk circumference of over 16 m, is regarded as the symbol of the island and conserved carefully. The vegetation on the island also includes large primeval forests of Japanese firs (Abies firma) and Japanese hemlocks (Tsuga sieboldii). Here, vertical distribution of flora from subtropical plants in the coastal area to the Yakushimadake (Pseudosasa owatarii) at the mountaintop can be observed. In some areas on the coast, tropical plants such as mangroves and Malayan banyans (Ficus microcarpa) grow.
As for fauna, Yakushima macaquas, a subspecies of the Japanese macaque, and Yaku shika deer, a subspecies of Japanese shika deer, live in Yakushima Island. They are both rare species endemic to the island. In the Kirishima Mountain Chain, many wild birds can be seen.
In Yakushima Island, there is a sand beach where laggerhead sea turtles come to lay eggs. As all sea turtles are on the verge of extinction, efforts to conserve them are being made.

Kuchinoerabujima Island as "Green Volcanic Island"

Kuchinoerabujima Island is located about 12 km west-northwest of Yakushima Island, which has an area of approximately 38 square kilometers. There are Mt. Furudake (657m), the highest mountain of this island, Mt. Shindake, Mt. Nochisan, and some mountains on east area of the island. Mt. Shindake is an active volcano, erupting often recent years. Around Mt. Shindake it has many fumaroles and cracking craters, creating anomalous landscape. Rich natural forests of Japanese chinquapin (Castanopsis sieboldii ) remains at a part of piedmont. Kuchinoerabujima Island is called "Green Volcanic Island" because of much variety of plants. Ryukyu flying fox (P.d. dasymallus) lives here.

Also, coastal cliffs and marine caves exist on sea shores. There are some farm in the island, 4 hot springs are also upwelled.

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