Spring In Japan - Yakushima Pt 4

I have more beautiful pictures from Yakushima today. Can you tell that we fell in love with this place? It was just so beautiful, I have to share it with you! All these pictures are from C's camera, and he took all of them, aside from the one of himself ;) I'll be sharing my snaps soon. First though, let me tell you about the rock. Kentaro (who we were staying with) told us to try and make it to "The Rock". We actually had no idea what the rock was, but we figured we had time to get there, the estimate was a 4-5 hour round trip hike, and we had 5 hours. We did have to rush the second half, because on the first leg we stopped every ten steps to take more photos, look around, and just breathe. The only thing that got me to the rock was seeing big tour groups of /ahem/ older people (when Japanese people have grey hair, they tend to be pretty old) trudging back down, after having seen "The Rock". But it was really tough going. The last 350m was almost like climbing a ladder the steps were so steep. And after being unable to find somewhere to buy lunch in in our rush to change buses (my fault for missing out bus stop), we had only eaten some Calorie Mates. I had to stop a few times to prevent my untimely death! I thought I was pretty fit. Apparently not as fit as Japanese pensioners. Boo.
As you can see the rock was just that, a slab of stone perched atop the mountain. I ventured out, in my little scooting position, because I really wasn't expecting that sheer drop and no safety rail! Other people were not so cautious, getting right to the edge, and then jumping up in the air so that they could have 'floating' photos. It turned my stomach, I was so scared someone was going to fall off. Luckily, we didn't bear witness to any untimely deaths, though apparently there are a few each year. So if you go, please be careful! Bottom scooting only, OK kids?
As we were descending from the rock, we came across these lovely guys. Our friend with the cap on was looking at the rock and saying "o-ta-ta-ta-ta-ta" which roughly translates to "ouch" < the more 'ta's the bigger the ouch, so this was quite a big 'ouch'. He did not want to climb on top of the rock and had a fear of heights. We tried to coax him up, but he peered over the top and scooted back down. He was really funny and sweet. When we arrived back to the base, he was there with his friend and we had a lovely chat in gestures and random sounds :) He's holding my Kitty & Buck business card in the photo above! The other young guy was travelling around Japan on his motorcycle. He offered us a drink from his water bottle when we were back from the hike awaiting the bus. We gratefully accepted his offer, only to find out it was saké! He explained that everybody was taking pictures of us because we were "a hot couple"!! Cue awkward blushing from C and I... He was a real character, and we were sad to see them go. If you are reading, Konnichi Wa!!
This is me, triumphant and exciting to be going downhill! And C basking under a thousands-of-years old cedar tree. The path passes right through it :)
As we were walking along, C spotted this tree stump covered in leaves with little faces cut out of them. They are representative of Kodama, tree spirits. C made one, in the picture above on the right, which joined the little family. As he was creating these, a giant monkey scurried down a tree and approached us on the path. It watched us for a minute, then turned around and casually wandered away. Phew.
Aside from seeing monkeys, we spotted quite a few wild deer. They were really docile and sweet. I loved their heart-shaped tail feathers too! So cute!!
I went on a moss-safari.

Sometimes this river flows over the path so that you cannot cross. Thankfully, we had lovely sunshine and were able to make it the entire way around the trail. It was the most beautiful day and we couldn't wipe the grins off our faces... ever.

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