In most people’s minds, Japan invokes images of crowded supermetropolises bustling with jam-packed subways, neon-drenched electronic districts and futuristic travel systems. Indeed, Japan has a highly urbanized population and some of the world’s largest cities. To visit Japan during the August high season, when the whole country grinds to a halt for the annual Obon vacation, is to suffer the stifling heat of this country’s hottest month in the suffocating pressure of the summer crowds. Or so goes popular wisdom.
But as large as Japan’s 128 million strong population may be, most of it is concentrated in a small portion of the country, leaving vast mountainous areas wild and untouched by urbanism. A prime example is Yakushima.