Yakushima Time

Naonobu Minagawa / Certified Yakushima Guide and Photographer

Known by the nickname “NanNan,” Naonobu Minagawa has worked as a guide for 13 years. He came here in his youth, with only a pack on his back, met his future wife and is now the father of two sons.

NanNan worked as a graphic designer in Tokyo and his first visit to Yakushima was on a company trip with his workmates. He’d always enjoyed looking for big trees so was immediately attracted to the island and decided to move here.

Naonobu Minagawa / Certified Yakushima Guide and Photographer

When the busy guide season is over, NanNan sets to work on making calendars. He hangs his favorite 24 photographs from the previous year on the wall, and uses them to make two calendars which he then gives to his friends and clients, and sells in local gift shops and online. These calendars always show the dates of the full and new moon, and indicate the three annual “mountain god days” when it is considered best not to work in the mountains. These calendars have become popular and some people wait with anticipation for the new calendar to come out.

Naonobu Minagawa / Certified Yakushima Guide and Photographer

NanNan’s favorite photo this year is November. In it, the yellow leaves of the Yakushima Onaga maple (Acer Morifolium) spread out in a moss-covered forest. NanNan says we can all share in the forest’s seasonal charms, in beauty that is not limited to the summer months. He particularly recommends the spring, the months of March and April, when the forest is full of energy and “new green growth is all sprouting at once.”

In addition to the beauty of the plants and animals, NanNan also speaks of “a small shrine on a mountain peak, a stump in the forest, and the age-old symbiotic relationship between humans and nature here on Yakushima, a connection that is among the charms of this island.”

NanNan is devoting his time to convey Yakushima’s many wonders in a deep and meaningful way.

Naonobu Minagawa / Certified Yakushima Guide and Photographer

Written by Mikako Takada, Iso Coffee Editorial Office


  • Business: the planning and management of eco tours, guided tours, photography
  • Address: 1477-6 Kusukawa, Yakushima Township
  • Kumage District, Kagoshima
  • URL: http://biyakushima.com