Today was a highlight for those interested in the beauty of Japan’s natural heritage. The high granite island of Yakushima, located off the southern tip of Kyushu, is cloaked in a gorgeous subtropical rainforest that is home to ancient Sugi (the towering Japanese cedar) and many unusual species of animals. We rode buses up a narrow, winding road, high into the heart of the forest for hiking, birding, and photography along a boardwalk trail that followed the course of a mountain river among the moss-covered trees and vines. In the afternoon, we visited the small town near our dock and a local museum or enjoyed more birding!