The creatures in the forest


Yakushima macaques

Yaku monkeys are smaller than the native macaques of mainland Japan. They are dark grey and have long thick hair. Before getting carried away about the cute and fluffy creatures however - the most important points to remember about the Yaku macaques are that:

1. They are wild.

2. They have very large pointy teeth.

There are around 7000 of them roaming the mountains and can often be seen along the side of the mountain roads and on the trails. Sometimes hanging around the villages watching traffic.

Yakushima macaque


Yakushima deer

Yaku shika are also smaller than the mainland deer and number around 7000. They can be seen on the mountain trails in the day and in the villages at night. Yes, that is one of my snowballs on its head.

See an article on the planned deer cull on Yakushima


The Mamushi: A poisonous viper that lurks near water.

Just to give you an idea of this delightful creature - my boss was bitten on the thumb and half his body was temporarily paralysed. Also a local resident in his 50s died from a bite. Spot it in the photo below.

Yakushima snake

But don't let that put you off the mountain trails - as soon as they spot you they slither away into the bushes.

Not all snakes are the Mamushi though. Here's a Japanese Rat snake in Anbo.

Rat snake on Yakushima


mukade in Yakushima

Once found lurking in the trouser leg of my son's pyjamas, these are vicious little things and cause quite a swollen rash on the skin.


Japanese hornets

Large kick-ass stinging machines which target you and don't stop until you're stung.


Any size, shape and colour you could wish for.

Yakushima beetle

Shake a tabu tree in the summer and watch giant horned beetles fall.


A variety of strange looking spiders inhabit the forest.

Yaksuhima spider


surprisingly common on the mountain slopes.

Yakushima toad


leech in Yakushima

A loyal bloodsucking friend to many hikers. They climb up your boot and find a nice piece of juicy leg above your sock line. They cause no harm to normal healthy people and can be left alone until they drop off filled with your blood. Should you need to remove them however, use salt.

For more informatiom about the wildlife on Yakushima - check out the one and only Yakumonkey Guide to Yakushima

Yakushima Guide book