By far the easiest and quickest way to reach Yakushima is by plane. JAL flies from Kagoshima five times a day and it takes only 35 mins. But you can also fly direct from Osaka (1 hour 30 mins) and from Fukuoka (1 hour) once a day. If you're coming from Tokyo, it's normally better to fly to Kagoshima and get a connecting flight or change to the jetfoil or ferry in Kagoshima city. Click the plane for more information.
The Jetfoil which runs between Kagoshima and Yakushima is known as the 'Toppy' and takes around 2 or 2 and a half hours depending on the time of day you go. You have to remain seated the whole time and there is no outside deck. Buying the ticket in advance is sometimes a challenge! Click on the jetfoil for more information.
There are 2 daily ferries running between Kagoshima and Yakushima. They both go from different ports so be careful.
Ferry Yakushima 2 leaves from the main port in Kagoshima city next to the jetfoil port and it takes 4 hours. The ship is large, has an outside deck and a carpeted area to stretch out and relax inside.
Yakushima Ferry Hibiscus leaves from the port further south of the city center. It's a night boat so you get on in the evening and sleep in a carpeted area. The boat arrives in Yakushima the following morning bright and early. Click on the ferry for more information.