Stepping into the real-life world of Hayao Miyazaki.

The management at the cabin left these charming flowers on the beds for us, which was a lovely gesture though I do wish they’d checked to see if they were infested with ants first before dropping them on the bedding, haha.

When you see it…

Beach-time frolics. Gotta catch ‘em all!

Another trip up into the mountains replete with narrow roads, low fences, and blind corners galore.

The portion of the trip Colin and I had been waiting for: 白谷雲水峡 (Shiratani Unsuikyō – lit: the White Valley Wandering Monk Ravine).

I mentioned before that the forests of Yakushima were the inspiration for Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke.

These very woods, however, were the exact section of forest where the film’s lead artist, Oga Kazuo, spent time working on sketches for the movie’s lush, natural backgrounds.

…which is immediately apparent the minute you set foot in the area designated the もののけ姫の森 (“Princess Mononoke Forest”).

Fun fact: the mountains of the movie were actually inspired by the Shirakami Sanchi in Akita, so between the two of our Japanese homes, we’ve completed the set.

This may or may not have been the moment I accidentally stepped in a bog and, in my haste to get out, jumped into an even deeper one. (Which wouldn’t be so bad except that I’d stolen John’s shoes for the hiking portions of the trip…)

With Kim having concerns that we wouldn’t have time to complete the hike before the car had to be back at the rental shop, and Colin and I determined to make damn sure we saw the Mononoke Forest, the two of us essentially sprinted the first half of the trail. We were then able to enjoy a more leisurely stroll on the way back, where we met her halfway down the home stretch.

(We were also 2 hours early for returning the car.)

Goodbye, Yakushima – you great big beautiful bastard.

Colin taking a break from Plants vs Zombies to admire the sunset on the ferry home.

The familiar sight of Mt. Kaimon signalling our return to Ibusuki.

  1. K'lee L. says:

    Utterly fantastic posting, especially with ‘Princess Mononoke’ being a favorite anime of mine! I now feel like I need to see this place for reals… Well done.

  2. Markus McD says:

    I second that notion – fantastic pictures! Both people and trees! Oh, and floral shirts! Haha, you guys rock… or should I say, you guys bloom!

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