Yakushima island lies just off the southern tip of Kyushu, but has an entirely different rainy climate that has led to remarkable growth of its cedars and untamed vegetation. Virtually untouched by man, it looks like nowhere else in Japan, or indeed on Earth. Some of the cedars may be over 7,000 years old, their sprawling surface roots and mighty trunks making this a lost world experience for adventurous travellers who don't mind getting wet! With 6 peaks over 1000m, the national park area of the island is often a cloud forest, inhabited by indigenous monkey and deer. Intrepid hikers may be rewarded by glimpses of the animals as well as two stunning waterfalls. One of Japan's best spa hotels, the Sankara, opened a few years ago on its southern coast, the perfect place to relax after a hard day's hiking.