Discover Yakushima’s Cuisine
Yakushima’s food scene offers a variety of Japanese cuisine, including the usual regional favourites from sushi to ramen. Like most other regions visitors should try the local delicacies including flying fish, Yakushika deer, green tea products, strong shochu and the citrus fruits. Although we could not try every restaurant on the island and possibly missed out on other tasty ones we savoured some special meals and are happy to share our experiences of Yakushima cuisine. Kids would be welcome at all these places but children’s menus are not available as Japanese kids tend to eat with their parents and many dishes are shared.
Where we Enjoyed Eating and Drinking on the Island
Taking a clockwise tour around the island from north through west to south, here are some of the places we enjoyed eating drinking and shopping and can recommend to travellers to the island. Please also read our Visitor’s Guide to Yakushima here
Nagata and Inakahama (Turtle Beach)
These tiny villages have limited choices but the places available feel really authentic, some really give you the impression you are eating in someone’s living room.
Hitorishizuka ひとりしずか, Nagata
Run by a friendly family from Osaka, this small eatery cooks up appetizing set menus for their guests. The mama-san proudly shared photos of her Noh performer son, which made us feel right at home. Only open for dinner during the summer months, until October. Come early, very small!
Come here to try a flying fish or Yakushima pork katsu set menu for lunch or dinner. Freshly prepared by a charming old lady in a very authentic atmosphere. English menu is available. Open Tue to Sun, 11-14:00 and 18-21:00, limited space.
Shiba Tofu, Nagata
The only place on Yakushima, where tofu is made. Come before 11:00 for the freshest and creamiest tofu and try it freshly prepared from the kitchen with a glass of soya milk. Open Mon to Sat 8:00-17:00
Ryugo-Jo Snacks, Inakahama
Along Route 78 opposite Nagata Campsite is this street side stall offering popular lunchtime favourites like yakisoba, gyoza and for the sweet tooth, soft ice cream.
Isso and Shitogo:
Isso Beach is perhaps the best place on the island for family time on the sand and in the water. It has a small very basic café at the back offering kakigori and drinks. For proper eating there are a few more choices a short drive away such as:
Probably our most memorable meal on Yakushima! We were welcomed by the lovely owner and her friends and savoured a delightful meal of local dishes, including flying fish and barnacles, the latter took some courage at first to try but turned out to be surprisingly tasty. We met them later on at the local natsu matsuri and danced together! Open 11 – 15:30, closed Thu and Fri.
Kiina Cafe, Shitogo
Enjoy one of the home baked cakes after a stroll through the Banyan Tree Park next door or come for a delicious breakfast of flying fish sandwich and quiche. There is also a play area for small children. Open Wed-Sat 10 -16:00.
Basic breakfast but the lovely owner serves organic teas and coffees. Lunch and Dinner is also served plus intimate live music in the evenings with drinks to set the mood. Food is freshly prepared on order and an English menu is available.
Possibly Yakushima’s coolest restaurant by reputation serving izakaya style plates cooked from seasonal and local vegetables and sea food. Sadly we were slightly disappointed by the dishes and thought it was overpriced but maybe we ordered the wrong dishes. English menu, only open in the evenings.
This trendy eatery uses local ingredients in their yummy fare. It is the place to try Yakushika deer stew, alongside a variety of vegetarian dishes and even pizza or pasta for those in need of a non-Japanese dinner. The fluffy chiffon cake is to die for and an absolute must! English speaking staff and menu. Open Wed to Sun 11.30-21.30.
Yakushima’s largest souvenir shop and tourist information is filled with everything from sweets, shochu, t-shirts, postcards and more. On the second floor is a restaurant and the flying fish ramen should not be missed for a local lunch!
If you could not find the right souvenir at Kanko Centre try shopping here instead. On offer are products and handicrafts from all over Yakushima. Their restaurant serves black pork cutlet or curry bowls at lunchtime.
The fragrance of yakusugi will immediately take hold of your senses when you step into this shop that specializes in anything crafted from the ancient cedar trees. Cedar wood chopsticks and sake cups might easily fit into your suitcase for the perfect gift, larger pieces of tree trunks require special shipping arrangements.
You are trying to set out on hiking to Yomonsugi and realise that you have forgotten your trusted pair of hiking shoes or other equipment? Do not despair, Nakana Sports offers a large array of quality hiking goods for sale and rental!
Our go to supermarket for packed lunches and pretty much everything else we needed during our stay on Yakushima. The emphasis of the supermarket lies on fruit, vegetable and other locally produced goods besides larger, well known brands. Other outlets can be found in Anbo and Onoaida. Look out for local goods like Tankan and Ponkan mandarins, passionfruit and more.
The nearby airport maybe your first stop when arriving by air. It has a small selection of independent, arty cafes and craft shops.
One of the few café’s open early, from 8 o’clock! Serving only breakfast menus, including our favourite thick toast, sandwiches and cakes alongside freshly brewed coffee. Open Mon to Sat 8 – 11:00
The must stop shop for organically grown green tea by this family owned tea farm. Do not forget to try the green tea soft serve ice cream, according to Jerome, the best ever! Sit in the shade of the banyan tree to savour this feast. Open daily 8:30-17:00
ドラッグイレブン屋久島店 Chemist and Pharmacy
Large chemist selling everything you might have forgotten to pack like toothbrushes, makeup, suntan lotion… It also has a pharmacy with very helpful staff, despite the lack of English. Use Google translate if necessary!
If you happen to pass through Mugio area on one of your excursions of Yakushima then you should definitely stop at:
Have you ever tried cedar flavoured ice cream? It is possible at this Italian Gelateira, plus many more interesting aromas can be tasted here. Do not forget to indulge in their espresso and coffees. Open 13:00-17:15. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
The second largest port town on Yakushima and the prefect place to start a river kayaking adventure. Sadly we did not venture more into Anbo, however we can recommend these places:
Cosy and cute little cafe, overlooking the harbour of Anbo. Relax here over a cup of coffee and cake or enjoy an easy set lunch of sandwiches. Open Wed to Mon, 8:00-18:00.
Sadly we did not get to try this cool eatery, but the reviews are excellent. I very much like the artwork of the door, maybe you will get the chance to try dinner here? Open 19-24:00, opening times might change due to fishing times. Closed Wednesday.
Yakushima Rental 屋久島登山用品レンタルの山下
This outdoor equipment shop not only sells and rents hiking gear, they also organized our kayak rental for our kayak tour up along the Anbo River. It is advisable to email in advance and be informed almost no English is spoken. Open daily 9:00-19:00.
Onoaida and Hirauchi Area
Visited for the stunning mountain and coastal scenery and the underwater, seaside hot springs, we enjoyed our stay in a beautiful Japanese House on this rural, unspoilt coast.
A lovely small café serving breakfast and lunch menus. We enjoyed our early breakfast of thick toast, with eggs, yoghurt and small side salad. Open from 8-15:00 daily.
There is no better way to relish freshly caught, local fish than sushi. Choose from a variety of set menus or order a la carte but try to be early in order to get a table or ideally book ahead. Open for lunch 11:30-13:30 and dinner 17:30-21:30. Closed Thursday, no lunch on Friday.
This restaurant is known for its regional and seasonal cooking and dishes. Flying fish and other local seafood is on the menu, I can highly recommend the unagi (eel) set menu, while the boys enjoyed the tonkatsu. Open daily, except 1st and 3rd Sunday. Lunch 11:30-14:30, dinner 18:00-21:00.
Come here for an exceptional and authentic izakaya experience and be served by the cute, 8 year old owner’s daughter Miria. Try the classic pub dishes including tamago, fried noodles, grilled beef, agedashi tofu and edamame.
Another great izakaya experience, serving a variety of different dishes to the above mentioned pub. The chicken karaage was remarkable.
Take a rest in this sleepy seaside village after a drive along the Seibu Forest Road and a visit to the stunning Ohko Waterfalls.
Savour homemade soba with tempura of seasonal vegetables and herbs in a traditional house overlooking a beautiful Japanese garden. Open daily for lunch 11:30-14:00.
Where we stayed in Kyushu:
Sankara Resort treat yourself to a truly luxurious stay on the island.
Kirishima Kokusei for those wanting to stay in Kirishima Onsen
Ryokan Shinsen if you fancy a luxury ryokan experience
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