Street View hikes Endor-like Yakushima Island in Japan

On the trail: Wilson’s Stump, an ancient cedar, has a heart-shaped skylight.

(Credit: Google Japan)

When I hiked Yakushima Island a few years ago, it was the closest thing I’d seen to an alien planet from science fiction.

Famous for its staggering ancient cedar trees, the island off southern Japan has an interior that struck me as a mix of so many imaginary worlds I’ve seen on film: Endor, Dagobah, Pandora.

An hour into the hike, it began to rain. Biblically. It was coming down cats and dogs, or “earth and sand” as they say in Japanese, and it didn’t let up for six hours.

Yakushima then seemed like Venus and its incessant, lethal rain like that in Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man.” My Nikon dSLR found itself swimming in an inch of water that got into my pack, and promptly died.

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