Visit These 3 Enchanting Japanese Forests in Kyushu for Ghibli-Like Landscapes

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  • Kyushu island in Japan is famous for some scenic Ghibli movie-like landscapes which you won’t find anywhere else in the country. The following are three extraordinary and magical forests which contain trees and ponds that look surreal and not from this world. Let’s see why you must visit these places at least once when you are on the southern island of Kyushu!

    1. Sasaguri Kyudai Forest

    Kyushu University, aka “Kyudai,” has gone into partnership with Sasaguri-machi, a small town in Fukuoka Prefecture abundant in nature, to promote botanical research and conserve some of Japan’s coolest woods. Being the largest university in Kyushu, Kyudai has committed itself to protect the forest areas of Japan for future generations. They also want to attract tourists and bring awareness to the public about their research efforts.

    Kyushu University’s Kasuya Research Forest is a giant place for experiments and conservation projects. If you go to the western side of the research area, you will find Sasaguri Kyudai Forest, most famous for its rakuusho or bald cypress trees which look like cones kept afloat over a greenish pond. The 17-hectare forest park is a paradise for photographers as it has breathtaking views and trails featuring tens of varieties of both evergreen and deciduous trees against the backdrops of lakes. The research forest is also home to the rare solo variety of redwood, the Metasequoia.

    Sasaguri Kyudai Forest Website *Automatic translation available
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    2. Shiratani Unsuikyo

    Yakushima Island probably needs no introduction as it is a World Heritage Site, popular among hikers and explorers, and home to Japan’s most dense subtropical cedar (sugi) forests. If you have watched the famous Ghibli film, Princess Mononoke, you would have probably noticed its backdrop called “Shiratani Unsuikyo,” a mossy forest that is easily accessible through public transportation from Miyanoura Port.

    Shiratani Unsuikyo is a great spot for forest camping as it has amazing natural hot springs, hiking trails, riverlets, wildlife, and cedars. You can find majestic trees whose age would be hundreds and thousands of years, with curly sprawling roots covered in thick moss.

    If you are in Kagoshima Prefecture, do not forget to visit this green paradise and spend a day or two exploring the unexplored forest paths. There are also many viewpoints from where you can stand and take some amazing photographs that you can excitingly share with your friends.

    Shiratani Unsuikyo Website *Japanese only
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    3. Kamishikimi Kumanoimasu Forest Shrine

    This forest is a small mossy forest abundant in must-see natural wonders. Located in Kumamoto Prefecture, its greenery can capture your heart instantly, making you admire every bit of it, especially the surrounding areas of the Kamishikimi Kumanoimasu Shrine.

    The shrine definitely has a Ghibli look that will give you a spooky and thrilling feel amidst the forest. The stairs leading to the shrine look like an entrance into a mythical land, and were actually featured in the film, Hotarubi no Mori e.

    Kamishikimi Kumanoimasu Forest Shrine Website *Japanese only
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    It does not matter if you are a fan of Ghibli or not, these places will give you an enchanted feel and are great locations to shoot or capture amazing pictures. After seeing these forests, you surely will have one more reason to admire the southern Japanese paradise of Kyushu.