Message from the town mayor / Koji Araki
Yakushima-cho (Yakushima Town) consists of two islands, Yakushima and Kuchinoerabujima. In 1993 part of Yakushima was registered and became the first World Natural Heritage Site in Japan. In 2007 all of Kuchinoerabujima was incorporated into the national park system. In 2012 Yakushima National Park was created becoming the thirtieth national park in Japan.
Yakushima-cho attracts people from around the world for its sightseeing, conferences, events, and schools. The increase in interest in Yakushima-cho has generated questions concerning the possibility of moving here and becoming a resident.
This page will hopefully help you answer some of the questions that you may have and introduce you to Yakushima-cho.
We look forward to seeing you.
Over view of Yakushima-cho
In October of 2007 Kamiyaku-cho (Kamiyaku Town) and Yaku-cho (Yaku Town) merged to form Yakushima-cho (Yakushima Town) consisting of two islands, Yakushima and Kuchinoerabujima. Yakushima is located 135 kilometers south of Kagoshima City and Kuchinourajima is located12 kilometers west-northwest ofYakushima.
Kuchinoerabujima is an active volcanic island with an area of 38 square meters having a length of 12 kilometers and a width of 5 kilometers. It is also known as a green volcanic island because of its vegetational coverage. The volcanic activities of Mt. Shin, a 657meter volcano, give Kuchinoerabujima some wonderful hot springs. Over 30% of the island is covered with bamboo. Some areas are sloped gently and are natural pastures.
Yakushima is a round shaped island with a circumference of 132 kilometers and an area of 504 square kilometers. There are many mountains over 1,000 meters high, including Mt. Miyanoura, the highest mountain in Kyushu at 1,936 meters. Most of the island’s mountains are covered with forest. For this reason Yakushima is also known as “The Alps on the Ocean”. The old growth forest and the vertical distribution of vegetation, ranging from a subtropical zone to a subarctic zone, are some of the reasons why Yakushima has been recognized as a world treasure. One characteristic of Yakushima is the abundant rain, around 4,500 millimeters annually, 8,000 to 10,000 millimeters in the mountains. Annual rainfall in Yakushima is more than double of mainland Japan. Half of Yakushima’s yearly rainfall is from May to August. The average temperature of the coastal areas is a mild 20 degrees as it is located in a subtropical zone. In winter flowers can be seen but the mountains on the other hand will be covered with snow.
Yakushima-cho has a total of 26 villages, 2 in Kuchinoerabujima and 24 in Yakushima. Each village has a community center and an elected village leader (kucho). As of May 2015, the population of Yakushima is around 13,000 people (49% male, 51% female).
Yakushima has two main cellphone service providers (docomo and AU). Softbank cellphones can be used on the island but only in some areas. Reception strength of the cellphones will vary around the island. Be aware that some areas will not have any reception.
Yakushima’s electricity is produced mainly by hydropower. The distribution of electricity in Yakushima-cho is done through several companies. To receive electrical power you will need to make arrangements with the electric company in your area.
Only LP (liquid propane) gas is available.
Town water system
To help keep Yakushima’s water clean, Yakushima-cho is moving toward using a combination treatment septic tank system. To this end, Yakushima-cho is providing a septic tanks installation subsidy. For example, for a home of a family of five 514,000 yen will be given to install a septic tank.
Car service stations
There are 19 gasoline stations. And there are 11 EV charging station for electric cars.
Rental housing, both private and public, are available. Building private residential homes are also a possibility. For further information, please contact the property administration office at Town Hall or the local real estate office.
Tertiary industries (tourism and service related industries) make up 72% of all business on Yakushima.
Total people employed: 6,700 (roughly half the population)
Primary industry: 13.2% (agriculture 9.8%, forestry 1.4%, fishery 2%)
Secondary industry: 14.9% (construction 8.6%, manufacturing 6.2%, mining 0.1%)
Tertiary industry: 71.6% (service 44.4%, whole sale 13.8%, public service 5.8%, transportation & communication 4.9%)
A good place to find information on employment is the “Kumage employment information booklet” published on the 10th & 25th of the month. Currently, jobs relating to the service industries and medical fields are open. Average monthly salary is roughly around 180,000 yen.
2 infant classes (Nagata, Kuchinoerabujima) & town managed “Bambi Club & Tsuwanko Club)
3 public kindergartens (Miyanoura, Anbo, Onoaida) & 3 nursery schools
1 private kindergarten (Hirauchi)
9 primary schools (town municipal public schools)
4 middle schools (town municipal public schools)
1 high school (public school)
1 private high school offering correspondence courses
Nonresident transfer student program (for nonresident students who are interested in living & studying in Yakushima-cho)
There are two programs available for nonresident transfer students. The first program is for students whose parents are not able to move to Yakushima-cho while they are attending school here. A foster parent will be assigned as the student’s guardian. The student will be a member of the foster family. The cost for this program excluding school expenses and school lunches is 70,000yen per primary school student per month. There is financial assistance available from Yakushima-cho of 30,000yen per student per month bringing the cost down to 40,000yen. This is currently the cost of this program for the primary schools at Kanagadake, Nagata, Hachiman, & Kurio. However, the cost for a middle school student at Kanagadake Junior High School on Kuchinoerabujima is 50,000yen after the 30,000yen financial assistance.
The second program (family program) is for students whose parent(s) is/are able to live with the student while going to school in Yakushima-cho. The student must attend school for at least two years. The cost per student per month for the first child is 30,000yen and 10,000yen for any additional child.
All primary and middle schools have a school lunch program.
Many classes are offered to the public to continue their educational journey. Classes in piano, shuji, painting, dance, and so on are offered. There are also two libraries where one can independently continue their education or just enjoy the books offered there.
Health and welfare programs
Yakushima-cho has many subsidies for the health and welfare of its citizens. It sponsors many educational programs both on an individual and group level advising people on mental and physical health.
Preventive medicine such as the vaccination program is an important part of Yakushima-cho’s health and welfare. Yakushima-cho believes that the vaccination of its citizen is important but also places a priority on children vaccination.
Types of Vaccines: (1) “Diphtheria, Pertussis, Tetanus, Polio” vaccine (2) “Diphtheria, Tetanus” vaccine (3) “Japanese encephalitis” vaccine (4) “Influenza type B” vaccine (5) “Childhood pneumococcal” vaccine (6) “Varicella” vaccine (7) “Cervical cancer” vaccine (8) “Inert polio” vaccine (9) MR (Measles, Rubella) vaccine
Group Vaccination: BCG (Tuberculosis) vaccine
Elderly: “Influenza” vaccine & “Elderly pneumococcal” vaccine
Group medical examination for uterine cancer, gastric cancer, colorectal cancer, lung cancer, and breast cancer are performed at health centers.
Childcare support programs
1: an endowment of 30,000yen per birth of a child
2: grants for medical cost for babies
3: monthly allowance of 15,000yen per child under the age of three, 10,000yen per child above three years old & pre school (15,000yen after third baby), 10,000yen for middle school students
4: grants for infertility treatments, two thirds of transportation cost (maximum 9 round trips) & lodging cost (maximum 15 nights), for detailed information, look at Yakushima-cho’s homepage or contact the Health Promotion office at Yakushima Towm Hall
5: Kuchinoerabujima’s support program for pregnancy: 50,000yen grant for birth outside the island
Medical examination subsidy
A 20,000yen grant is available to offset the cost of one or combination of the following medical examinations: physical examination, brain examination, & PET scan.
Subsidy for late-stage medical care for the elderly
Subsidies are available for patients over 75 years old or for bedridden patients over 65 years old. For more information please contact the Health Promotion Office at YakushimaTown Hall (yakuba).
Yakushima-cho has one general hospital, seven clinics (internal & surgical), three municipal clinics, and three dental clinics. These facilities are able to handle most medical situations but in critical emergency cases a Doctor Helicopter can be requested from Kagoshima.
There are also two veterinary clinics located on Yakushima.