15 of the Best Souvenirs to Purchase When in Yakushima
Among the many southern islands of Japan, the small island of Yakushima stands out as the only World Heritage Site for hundreds of miles in all directions. It is home to ancient forests that stand the test of time thanks to their resistance to rotting and sturdiness. If you ever find yourself on the island, attracted by its lush nature, it makes sense to not only ogle at the trees, but also purchase something material to remind you of your trip. Here are some amazing options!
Feb 21 2019 (Sep 09 2020)
1. Ginger Syrup
While on the small island of Yakushima, don't miss your chance to visit Nomado Cafe! Despite being located on the outskirts of the only town on the island, this tropical cafe enjoys high popularity due to its atmosphere and selection of delicious treats, which includes this healthy drink. Ginger is widely known for its health benefits, and here, they only use ginger that's grown locally without the use of pesticides, so it's all benefits and no harm!
2. Premium Tankan Juice
Tankan, one of the main Yakushima exports, is a relatively modern breed of Japanese citrus that is packed with vitamin C. The drink in the photo above consists of 100% tankan juice, and its pure taste and health benefits make it a highly popular souvenir to buy on Yakushima.
3. Yakushima Roll
Yakushima Roll, served at Bon Gateaux Hiramiya, is an aromatic cake roll stuffed with plenty of fresh Yakushima fruit. The moderate sweetness, cream that melts in your mouth, and just the right amount of moisture in the dough - all of these factors are what makes this so popular.
4. Yakushima Tankan Mochi “Hatsukoi"
Rice cakes in the shape of tankan make a great souvenir, too. Their marshmallowy softness wonderfully match the acidity and sweet fragrance of tankan. They come in packs of 15 and are taste best when eaten before the 90-days-after-the-date-of-manufacture date.
5. Yakushima Nagata Salt Cookie
At Mam's Kitchen, you can buy these handmade crackers made with natural salt that is produced by boiling down local seawater. Their name and shape owe to Nagata's fame as the primary nesting place of sea turtles in Japan.
6. Satsuma Kintsuba
This award-winning local take on yokan (a gelatinous Japanese dessert made from bean paste) is unusual in that it is made with carefully baked sweet potato and kudzu powder. It perishes fast with a 5-day expiration period, so keep note of that if you wish to take some home.
7. Yakusugi Rice Crackers
Another interesting food to try are these rice crackers with a pattern that resembles the cross-section of a Japanese cedar tree. In fact, they are the best-selling product of Babaseika Main Branch, owing to their wonderful taste that makes you empty the pack before you notice it!
Baba Suisan, a fish processing plant with more than 100 years of history, specializes in sababushi (smoked mackerel). The aroma of the fully natural hardwood that's used for smoking this fish helps to enhance its naturally rich flavor. It's full of umami and well worth trying at least once!
9. Various Smoked Fish
The remote location and tiny size of the shop where this smoked fish assortment is sold might make you wonder why it's so popular, but it all becomes clear once you taste it. All the smoked fish in this assortment are caught in the ocean near Yakushima, including flying fish, mahi-mahi, and medai (Pacific barrelfish). You can, of course, take this assortment home to eat with rice, vegetables, or anything of your choice!
10. Yakushima Ago-dashi Tonkotsu Ramen
In Japan, ramen is ubiquitous. Almost every place has its own local variety, and Yakushima is no exception. The noodles that have been served here for more than a century aren't very different from the usual, but the broth is made with dried flying fish and sababushi, giving it a distinct taste of the sea.
11. Yakushima Jisugi Oil
Yakusugi (Japanese cedar) oil has many valuable properties, one of which is producing a calming and healing effect when dispersed into the air or rubbed onto the body. It costs quite a bit, though, which shouldn't be surprising, given how hard it is to obtain. If you visit Yakushima, you'll get a chance to purchase it at this store!
12. Yakusugi Bracelets
Beads of polished Japanese cedarwood and gems look good together on a thread, don't you agree? Why not make a bracelet or two of your own at Pukari-do?
13. Ponkan Monaka
Here's another tasty treat from Babaseika! They select the sweetest of the already sweet ponkan (a hybrid of mandarin and pomelo), make them into a jam, and encase the jam in a crunchy dough. The result is a superb sweet bun that puts melon bread to shame. It lasts for a month before spoiling, so it's a great souvenir!
14. Yakusugi Chopsticks
These chopsticks are made from fallen Yakusugi cedar trees that were over 1,000 years old. Using such a rare thing simply to eat food would be a waste, so it's best to either save these chopsticks for a special occasion or preserve them as a souvenir.
Lastly, if you value a strong yet tasty drink, you should absolutely visit the island's brewery. They mainly specialize in sweet potato shochu (distilled liquor), but sake, wine, and other interesting options are also available.
Pictured above is the Taiko Yaku no Shima, a premium shochu with a rich flavor and sweet scent. It is made with natural Yakushima water and sweet potatoes in strict accordance with a traditional recipe. All the bottles are handcrafted, adding to the drinking experience.
So, here's a modest yet varied list of souvenirs to buy on the island of Yakushima! Did you find something interesting? There are other things that you might encounter in the local shops that can be equally as good, so why not sidetrack a bit from your journey to discover what other goodies deserve to be included in your own list?
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.