How to get to the Island of Yakushima

There are two main ways on how to enter the Island of Yakushima.
Here you can read about them and also find out which option suits you best. Whether it be the cheapest, most convenient, or most adventurous one. 
So let's get started.

By Plane

This is the fastest way to get to the Island and maybe the most convenient.
You can fly direct from, Osaka, Fukuoka or Kagoshima. Otherwise you would need to change flights at Kagoshima Airport. 
But to be honest it is rather expensive, also the only airline which fly’s to Yakushima Airport is JAC       (member of JAL = Japanese Airlines). 

 From Osaka Itami Airport -  Yakushima  Airport (90 min)

One way fare is about *¥34.000 = 280€ ($305), 
Fukuoka Airport - Yakushima Airport (50 min)
One way fare about ¥24.000 = 197€ ($215)

Kagoshima Airport  -  Yakushima Airport (35 min)
One way fare about  ¥10.000 = 82€ ($90)
*please note that the exchange rates can fluctuate and this is only a guideline to help you.

By Ferry                        

There are 3 types of ferries you can use, they vary in price and travel-time. Also they depart from different ports, which you should keep in mind.
1.      Toppy or Rocket hydrofoil – Kagoshima main Port
This is the fastest and most popular way, also there are about 8 round trips per day. The one way ride takes about 2 hours depending whether the ferry makes a stop at Takushima or not. The price for a one way ticket is 8.400 = 69€ ($75), so this ferry is the most expensive one of the three listed. Furthermore you should remain seated and are not allowed to go on deck.
March 11th 2017 to Sep 18th, 2017 Summer timetable

Sept 19th 2017 to Nov 30th, 2017 Autumn timetable

Dec 1st 2016 to March 10th, 2017 Winter Timetable

2.      Yaku 2 car ferry – Kagoshima new Port (South from the main Port)
Leaving every morning  from Kagoshima at 8:30 to Miyanoura Port  and returning in the afternoon at  13:30 , the one way ticket price for this ferry is ¥ 4.900 = 40€ ($44). If you wanna bring your car with you the price is about ¥33.000 = 271€ ($296)  there and return.  Estimated travel time of this ferry is about 4.5 hours.
This is a good type of striking a balance between the other two ferries, as the price is not too high and the time is bearable.
 Moreover is the ferry large and comfortable, provides a carpeted area downstairs and a lounge area upstairs. A small noodle restaurant, a simple shop and vending machines are also waiting for you.
3.      Hibiscus Ferry - Taniyama port
This one is the most adventurous and cheapest, as you are travelling with an overnight freight ferry. Leaving at 18:00 and arriving at 7:00 at Miyanoura port, returning to Kagoshima at 8:10 and arriving at 14.00.
The one way price is ¥3.600 = 29€ ($32) and the travel time is 13h.
 Yes 13h, but it’s overnight so you sleep most of the time and you can spare yourself an accommodation for one night. 
There is a carpeted area in the freight rooms, women only areas are provided too. Make sure to bring yourself some entertainment and food as there is only a cup noodle and a beverage vending machine.
You are allowed to walk around and get on deck which is pretty nice.

But now...

Where do I get the ferry tickets? 

Toppy or Rocket hydrofoil:Online
Yaku 2 car ferry: Online or at Lawson LOPPI Ticket machine, but it's displayed in japanese. 
                                      At the port where the ship is leaving.
Hibiscus Ferry: You can only get your tickets at the Port of Taniyama.

How do I get to the Port?

Kagoshima main Port: By Train, Taxi or Bus from Kagoshima-Chuo
If you want to go by Train, take the Kagoshima Tramway for Kagoshima eki mae. Get off at a station near the port, for example Asahidori. 
Kagoshima Taniyama Port: By Bus, Train or Taxi                           
You can take the train from Kagoshima-Chuo to Sakano-ue and walk the rest of the way. It’s  a 30 minute walk through a friendly neighbourhood. If you have light baggage this  would be my personal recommendation, as it spares some money and you get to see the more rural area of Kagoshima.
I did it myself and it was a refreshing experience, as everyone on the street greeted you with a nice smile and you didn’t quite know where you were, or if you are going in the right direction, haha. 

So these are the options, I hope this article will help you find your way to the ever green Island of Yakushima.

Sarah Benedikt