As the saying goes, “On Yakushima (屋久島), it rains 35 days a month!” So the chances of you experiencing a bit of precipitation on your trip to this beautiful island are pretty high. However, this doesn’t have to put a dampener on your visit. You can still enjoy the island’s world-famous hiking trails in the rain. But if the rain is so heavy that this isn’t an option, there’s still plenty to do here!
This awe-inspiring waterfall stands at 88 meters tall and is arguably the most impressive waterfall on the island. It’s no surprise that it’s been ranked one of the Top 100 Waterfalls in Japan!
What makes viewing these falls so suitable for a rainy day is that the heavier the rainfall, the bigger the waterfall becomes. During our visit to Yakushima, the island was hit by a typhoon, and Ohko-no-taki was jaw-droppingly strong – a perfect reminder of the power of nature.
There is a parking area just a few minutes’ walk from the viewing spot for the waterfall, so it’s easily accessible by car. This means you can still reach the best vantage point even if the rain makes hiking impossible. And for those who don’t have a car, there are tour companies on the island who will take you to the falls whatever the weather.
Indoor activities may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Yakushima, but there are lots to do if you know where to look. And if it’s a hands-on activity you’re after, you can’t do much better than a chopstick-making workshop.
Suginoya (杉の舎) is a woodcraft shop located just minutes from Yakushima Airport. As well as having a wide range of goods for sale, they also run workshops out the back of the shop where you can make your very own pair of chopsticks from Yakusugi (Japanese cedar) wood for just 1,080 yen.
The master will take you through the whole process, from choosing your wood and carving the basic structure of the chopsticks, to whittling them down to a more refined shape and smoothing them off to finish. At the end, they package them up for you so they could also make a thoughtful gift for someone else.
Reservations can be made over the phone at 0997-43-5441 (you may want to ask your hotel to make the reservation in Japanese).
This being Japan, there are, of course, plenty of onsen you can enjoy on Yakushima. These range greatly in terms of price and facilities, from a 100-yen outdoor onsen right on the coast to more expensive hotel-based hot springs. The outdoor ones might not be so fun on a rainy day, but there are plenty of indoor baths to choose from, too.
If you’re traveling as a couple, you might want to consider hiring out a private onsen for an hour so that you can bathe together, as most public onsen are gender-segregated. One hotel offering private onsen is Jomon no Yado Manten, which is located within walking distance from the airport. This is also a good option for travelers with large tattoos, as many onsen facilities are still reluctant to admit tattooed patrons. Just bear in mind that this is a more expensive way of enjoying the onsen experience!
Hopefully, this list will have given you a few ideas for rainy day activities on the lovely island of Yakushima. And when you’re driving around to your chosen location, be sure to keep an eye out for families of Yakushima macaques – they love to hang out on the roads!