On October 1, 2007, Kamiyaku Town and Yaku Town merged to form Yakushima Town. Yakushima Town is located 135 kilometers south of Kagoshima City and 60 kilometers south of the mainland of Kagoshima Prefecture. It consists of two islands, Yakushima Island and Kuchinoerabujima Island. Kuchinoerabujima Island is located 12 kilometers northwest of Yakushima Island. The total area of Yakushima Town is 540.98 square kilometers of which 98% is Yakushima Island. Yakushima Island is a round-shaped island with a circumference of 132 kilometer. Most of the island is mountainous with more than 45 mountains over 1000 meters high including the highest mountain in Kyushu, Mt. Miyanoura at 1,936 meters. Yakushima Island is also known as “The Alps on the Ocean.” Flat usable land on Yakushima Island is limited due to the mountainous terrain. In 1993, Part of Yakushima Island was registered as Japan’s first World Natural Heritage Site. Yakushima Island’s unique forest of Yakusugi cedar trees, thousands of years old, and the vertical distribution of vegetation ranging from a subtropical zone to a subarctic zone were recognized for its value as a world nature heritage. Yakushima Island is also known for its annual rainfall, around 4500 mm in the coastal areas and 8,000 – 10,000 mm in the mountains. Yakushima Island’s annual rainfall is more than double the rainfall of mainland Japan. Half of its yearly rainfall is from May to August. The average temperature of the coastal areas is a mild 20 degrees Celsius being located in a subtropical zone. The vertical distribution of climate on Yakushima Island ranges from the subtropical to the subarctic giving rise to the variation of vegetation. In winter, you may see snow on some mountains. Kuchinoerabujima Island is a beautiful green active volcanic island, 12 kilometers long and 5 kilometers wide at its widest point. Mt. Shin, an active volcano at 657 meters, provides for several good hot springs around the seashore.