When I told my Japanese friend Tohko that we were going to be in Japan, she said she would meet us in Kyushu on one condition:
We go to Yakushima.
Yakushima? Where and what is it?
It’s the greenest and wettest place in the country, receiving more rainfall than any other location in Japan. On top of that, the island has a strong reputation for being a spiritual and mystical retreat, and rightly so; it did, after all, serve as the inspiration for the animated film Princess Mononoke.
I always told myself that, someday, I just had to go to Yakushima (similar to my desire to go to Kumano Kodo). Not only is Princess Mononoke my favorite Studio Ghibli movie, but when I googled Yakushima and looked at the images, the greenery blew me away.