Drive through a World Heritage forest
Located in the western part of Yakushima Island, the 20km seashore road linking the communities of Kuryu and Nagata is known as Seibu Rindo Forest Path. 15km of the road have been included within a World Heritage site which is a forest that extends from the seashore to the mountain tops, untouched by man. When it comes to Yakushima, the image is usually that of the millennium-old Yakusugi cedar trees and moss, but it’s also about the evergreen forest which became the basis for a recognized World Heritage site. This forest is the large primeval woods for Seibu Rindo in a no-man’s land facing the East China Sea which remains the largest evergreen forest in the Northern Hemisphere. With the forest being registered as a World Heritage site from Yakushima’s only shoreline, it is the only such site that can be traveled upon by car.
A forest where you can encounter wild animals and precious plant life
Many wild Yakushima deer and Yakushima macaques inhabit the forest and the road is famous for having a high probability to meet them. It is also the largest area for the endangered Yakushima white pine, and on the highland from 300m altitude, many Japanese white pines can be seen. The mid-level area in the center of Seibu Rindo has the giant Gajomaru trees with their air roots hanging down. The western area has some steep topography where up to the 1323m Mt. Kuniwari, a splendid vertical distribution of flora can be seen. Seibu Rindo is one part of the road which goes around Yakushima so it is great to drive around the whole island (a round trip takes about 2 hours). However since the road is narrow and animals tend to pop out suddenly, it is suggested that you decrease your speed as you leisurely drive through the greenery. Also, touching and feeding the animals is prohibited. It’s also recommended that you drive in a counter-clockwise direction since you will be going downhill. And instead of just driving through the area, there is also an eco-tour with a guide where you can walk through the forest surrounding Seibu Rindo.