Mt. Yoshino Sakura Viewing and Walking Tour

Mt. Yoshino from Yoshimizu shrine

Welcome to Mt. Yoshino. Look at gorgeous pink mountains!
It is said that the first cherry trees were planted along its slopes more than 1300 years ago, and today the Yoshino mountain is covered by approximately 30,000 cherry trees of 200 different varieties. The tourists from all over the world come here to follow the cherry trail in usual year.

Following the cherry blossom footsteps, on 2nd April 2021 we visited the province of Nara, beautiful village in Japan – Yoshino, where we did an online live “Breathtaking Sakura Viewing and Walking Tour @ Mt. Yoshino”

We started a tour from the Shimo-senbon area (the lower part of the town)

Yoshino is a small town that is a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site as a sacred and pilgrimage site in the Kii Mountains region. It is famous mainly for the mountain of the same name. The town is known for many historical events, since the Heian era it is also a popular place among people contemplating the beauty of cherry blossoms – 30,000 terraced trees with flowers in all shades of pink. Their different varieties bloom in succession, allowing hanami to be celebrated throughout the month.

The very closest area of Mount Yoshino was once divided into four levels: Shimo Senbon (covering the vicinity of the station, part of the town and the foothills of Yoshino Mountain), Naka Senbon (where the most important objects in the village are located), Kami Senbon (a quieter and less built-up area) and Oku Senbon (the highest part containing the smallest number of sakura trees). Originally, each sector gathered up to approx. 1000 cherries. Currently, there are about 30,000 of its trees (the specimens belong to about 200 species), which can be admired while walking along a total of 8 kilometers of paths.

While walking, we come across numerous old temples, including Kinpusenji from the 8th century, the second largest wooden structure (after the Nara Tōdaiji), housing the mausoleum of Emperor Go-Daigo Nyoirinji and being the home of the former southern Yoshimizu court and distinguished by a unique architectural style Shrine of Mikumari. The most important religious monument in the area is the Zaō-do pavilion in the Kinpusenji temple, created by En no Gyōja, the creator of the Shugendō faith focused on asceticism, combining elements of shintō and Buddhism. 

Kinpusenji Temple (金峯山寺) , Mt. Yoshino
Kinpusenji Temple (金峯山寺) – Tthe temple’s main building, the Zaodo hall, is the second largest wooden structure in Japan, after Todaiji’s Daibutsuden, or Great Buddha Hall.

The most crowded places for picnics among the falling cherry blossoms are mainly in the Naka Senbon sector which covers most of the surrounding buildings, picnic areas in local parks are the most popular. People looking for more intimate places should go to the higher parts of Yoshino, where you can visit observation points known for spectacular views of the area – Hanayagura and Takagiyama.

Naka Senbon Park is one of the most popular locations for holding hanami picnics under the blooming cherry trees.

Along the way, we stopped by interesting shops like food stalls, souvenir shops, local confectionery with Japanese cherry blossoms flavor.

A bottle of sakura liquor with cherry blossoms floating in it
Local souvenirs in Yoshino

One of the most important events in Japanese culture is hanami 花見 – Japanese cherry blossom festival – families and friends gather in parks in order to admire nature, relaxing on blankets and eating their favorite dishes.

After walking and admiring the beauty of sakura, we got a little bit hungry,  so it was  a good time to grab a bite of Nara’s unique cuisine!

Kakinohazushi 柿の葉寿司 – this local form of sushi solved the problem of preserving fish on long journeys during the Edo era.
Kakinohazushi – usually salmon and mackerel are lightly marinated in vinegar, placed on rice and wrapped in persimmon (kaki) leaves, which help prevent bacterial growth.

Probably the best lookout point in Yoshino, this Yoshimizu Shrine observatory has spectacular views over Yoshinoyama town. It’s a short walk up a slope from the main town street.

the magnificent “pink carpet” all over the Yoshino mountains

Hope you enjoyed reading this blog. If you’re interested, I also invite you to watch the live tour video.  🙂 

After the tour, we couldn’t resist the smell of fresh grilled ayu fish – a popular delicacy in Japan.

Ayu is also known as sweet-fish, because of its deliciously sweet taste.
Why don’t you join our next online tour? You can participate in the live tour and ask questions on the spot

Watch the past Tour

Mt. Yoshino or Yoshinoyama 吉野山
How to get to Yoshino
from Osaka

By Kintetsu Railway
Express train from the Osaka Abenobashi station (next to Tennoji station); it takes approximately 90 minutes and cost 990 yen. 
By Japan Railways (JR)
From Osaka to Yoshino-guchi station (takes approx. 60min costs 840 yen) and requires to change trains at Oji station. From Yoshino-guchi station you need to transfer to the Kintetsu Yoshino Line to Yoshino. This takes 30 minutes and it costs 380 yen. (Not covered by your Japan Rail Pass)

When to visit for Sakura

Typically start blooming cherry flowers in late March or early April and reach full bloom around early to mid April. They bloom from the bottom of mountain (Shimo-senbon 下千本) to the higher place (Oku-senbon 奥千本). Each year has slightly different blooming time. Please check Yoshino Town Homepage for the blooming forecast. (開花日: flowering date  満開日: full bloom date)

Admission FeeFree

Yoshino-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara, Japan

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