Shiratani Unsuikyo, Yakushima, Japan by Patrick McNeill

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This was taken on the island of Yakushima, Japan, off the southern coast of the larger island of Kyushu. It was a bit of an adventure to get here as they had a huge rain storm the day before I was supposed to arrive; 20cm (about 8 inches) of rain per hour. I had to change my entire route around the larger island of Kyushu to come back to Yakushima a couple weeks later. I would recommend avoiding the rainy season!

One of the trails on the island was still closed but the other two main trails were open. This trail through giant tree roots is one of a few points where this occurs on the Shiratani Unsuikyo hiking trail. I used my travel/hiking gear, a Canon M6 mirrorless camera and my travel tripod, and kept my ISO as low as possible with a small aperture for good depth of field. The hike is supposed to be a few hours, but for photographers I'd estimate about double the recommended hiking times; if you're like me you'll be stopping all the time for new compositions (and to shoot everything in both colour and infrared).

I haven't hiked every trail there is in the world, but I would say this would easily be one of the best; giant thousand year old trees, mountain mist, moss everywhere, waterfalls, and amazing experiences like hiking through giant tree roots. Add the many other sites on the rest of the island into the equation, plus amazing Japanese hospitality and some of the best sushi you'll ever have, and you have a trip that's highly recommended!


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