The Shiratani Unsuikyo Ravine on Yakushima is a lush, green nature park containing a number of the island’s ancient cedars such as the Nidaiosugi, Kugurisugi and Yayoisugi. Shiratani Unsuikyo is a popular destination to see the forests without much strenuous hiking.
The park offers a network of well-maintained hiking trails that run along the ravine. The recommended circuits vary in length from one to five hours long, but you are free to wander around and choose your own route among the paths. The trails vary in difficulty from a historic footpath built in the Edo Period to more developed ones paved in stone and wood. English signs are provided throughout.
One of the main attractions of Shiratani Unsuikyo is a part of the forest that served as the inspiration for the Studio Ghibli animated film Mononoke Hime (Princess Mononoke). Oga Kazuo, the lead artist for the film, spent lots of time here working on sketches for the movie’s forests. The mountains of the film were further inspired by Akita Prefecture’s Shirakami Sanchi Mountains.
The Shiratani Unsuikyou Ravine spans 424 hectares across the forest and is around 600 – 1,300m above sea level. The forest is covered in green, unique ground plants like ferns and mosses, and visiting allows for travelers to experience and savor the superb world where Yakusugi cedar trees and laurel forests grow together.
Weather permitting, the Taikoiwa Rock is a great place for visitors to have a view of the surrounding massive granite rocks and enjoy a breathtaking overview of the Yakushima Island’s forests.
Also, slightly nearby to the Taikoiwa Rock is the “moss-covered forest” (kokemusu-mori). Further, it is said that in order to accurately portray the forest’s natural deep green shade in the film, staff had to incorporate at least 200 different shades of green.
According to the Internet