Gastronomic Destinations: Yakushima Island (4)

(Ancient Cedar Tree in Princess Mononoke Forest)

Day 4: March 11th

We had kept the “hard work” for last day, that is more than 3 hours of trekking up in the mountains to visit the most famous forest in Japan, “Mononoke Hime no Mori/Princess Mononoke Forest” which inspired a great manga/cartoon/animated film of the same name.


It is located in a place called Shiratani Usuikyo/白谷雲水峰, up very high in the mountains and a good hour by bus from the hotel (did you notice the sea turtle on the bus stop?)

momonoke-1 momonoke-2
momonoke-3 momonoke-5
momonoke-41 momonoke-6
momonoke-7 momonoke-10
momonoke-9 momonoke-8
(if you want larger pics, I’ll mail them to you!)

The owners at Tsuwanoya had given us sandwiches and nigiri/rice balls without being asked. Greats service which proved fortuitous as a part of a refuge and foutain half way up, there is no shop in the vicinity, although the forest and mountain are beautifully serviced and equipped by the local government.
Take good shoes, an extra sweater and and be careful. This is a hard climb, and an even harder descent, but so much worth it! Expect wild deer (and monkeys) coming out of the blue (green) in the most unlikely spots!

If you happen to do it too, you will understand how famished and thirsty we were back at the inn!


Luckily, Tsuwanoya had an enormous Japanese dinner ready for us!


Including another plate of succulent sashimi: Mizu Ika/Aori Ika=cuttlefish and Kampachi/Albacore.


And a succulent (half) Asahi Crab!

Itook care of the last day to sample the three shochu brewed by Mitake Brewery, the only truly “native” Brewery in th Island!


MItake/”the Three Peaks”
Alcohol: 25%
Aroma: Clean, discreet, elegant
Taste: Soft attack, clean. Shortish tail.
Dry. Dry roasted nuts, coffee beans.
Stands well to food with a sweetish undertone.
Comments: Pleasant refined shochu.
Like all shochu brewed by Mitake Brewery, best drunk with ice only.


Aiko/”Love Child”
Alcohol: 25%
Aroma: Very dry, clean, strong.
Taste: Soft attack. Clean taste. Nicely warming up back of the palate.
Dry. Shortish tail. Memories of coffee beans and nuts.
Comments: Great with sashimi.
Turns sweetish and deeper with food with memories of brown sugar.


Alcohol: 35%. Genshu/no pure water added. Unaltered.
Aroma: Fine and discreet.
Taste: Clean, deep taste. Fruity: brown sugar. Almost sweet.
Keeps well with food. Turns drier with food. Shortish tail.
Comments: A fine, elegant shochu, which can be enjoyed for its sake or with food. A very high-level shochu!

Well, that was it for our second trip to Yakushima. Of course the day after was busy with buying tons of souvenirs for the friends back home!

Please check the new postings at:
sake, shochu and sushi


13 thoughts on “Gastronomic Destinations: Yakushima Island (4)”

  1. But this is just beyond gorgeous! Your “food trips” are making me flying with my fantasy in Japan… and my boyfriend would die for this! Cheers, it is nice to know you


  2. Yes, Yakushima is indeed an amazing place. Unforgettable. I also tried the mitake shochu and rather liekd it. Considering I don’t usually stomach shochu, it was quite an impressive achievement. I had it straight, no ice. Had a few on my travels through Yakushima, Tanegashima and Kagoshima. great places for some good, good sho chu!


    1. Cheers!
      I don’t drink that much shochu, although I have a weak spot for shochu made by the sake breweries in Shizuoka. But Mitake is an exception!
      Thank you so much for your comments!


  3. Bon Jour Robert – Gilles

    Wow, the forest looks magical – I must get back to Japan to check it out. Thanks for sharing – it was a bit of an adventure and escape to look at the wonderful pictures. Merci! =)



  4. Wow, magnificient! I would love to go there some day but for the time being I can just admire the beautiful forest from afar thru your eyes LOL
    Thanks Robert for sharing your experience there. :)))


  5. Ah, what gorgeous photos! I’ve always wanted to go to Yakushima Island, and your post has really stirred up the wanderlust in me! Amazing that you spotted deers and monkeys while hiking. Doesn’t Yakushima Island have the world’s oldest tree? (Or is that in Sweden…) Your experience at the inn sounds wonderful, too. The sashimi, crab, and sake looks like a great way to end the day there. Thanks for posting this!


    1. Dear sapuche!
      You are most welcome!
      Yakushima has one of the oldest trees in the world called “Jomon Sugi”?”Jomon Era cedar”, But we didn’t attempt to climb there as it is a 5-hour trek! There are so many things in that island that it would ake a whole month to see them all!


  6. HI R-G,
    I’m sorry to divert to the other page. Your blog is a lovely one, so colorful. I’ll let you know when I post the next recipe. My little sister is a big fan of Japanese Cartoon, and I started grabbing few japanese words from her. I loved your other blog too, though couldn’t read all of it.


    1. Dear Sudeshna!
      Greetings again!
      Thank you so much for visiting and commenting again!
      Of course you are welcome to all my blogs!
      If your little sister needs any cartoons I can do some research for her and send them to you attached to e-mails!
      Looking forward to talking to you again!


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