Mount Yoshino ("Yoshinoyama" in
Japanese) is a mountain area positioned roughly in the center of Nara
It is located about 45 km south of Nara city, and is about 15 km south of Asuka village.
This area is often called "Yoshino", simply.
This area is a part of "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii
Mountain Range" designated as a World Heritage Site.
Yoshino has been one of the sacred areas that the mountain worshippers
has trained since the 7th century.
And a mountain path to pilgrim with training leads from Yoshino to Three Grand Shrines of Kumano. It is one of the ancient pilgrimage routes to there, and is the hardest route of them. The length is about 140 km.
Generally, the area of Yoshino is located about 250-850 meters above
The lowest point is the entrance of Yoshino, and there is the terminal station of Kintetsu Yoshino Line.
And the area spreads along valleys and ridges of the mountains for about 8 km.
In this area, some temples and shrines are dotted.
After all, the attractive feature of Yoshino is "sakura"(cherry
In this area, there are about 30 thousand cherry trees.
There are four districts with many cherry trees in this area, and they are called Shimo-senbon (around an altitude of 250 meters), Naka-senbon (400 meters), Kami-senbon (600 meters) and Oku-senbon (800 meters), from lowest to highest.
"Senbon" means "a thousand trees".
At each district, we can see thousands of cherry trees at one view. So such name has been given.
Of course, the season is in April.
Each district is at the a different altitude. So peak bloom period at each district is also different.
The lowest Shimo-senbon is in full bloom around the early April, and the highest Oku-senbon is in full bloom in the late April.
So we can enjoy the cherry blossoms in Mount Yoshino for the whole month of April.
To Yoshino, it is convenient to use Kintetsu Yoshino Line.
The terminal station is Yoshino, and a ropeway is operated from there.
The ropeway climbs the difference of about 100 meters in height.
The district around the terminal of the ropeway is called Shimo-senbon.
From here, route buses to the other districts are operated.
When you tour around Yoshino area, you had better plan to transport
with both using the route bus and walking.
Because the route bus is a microbus with about 20 seats. And it usually runs once an hour, and runs four times an hour even during the season of cherry blossoms.
On the basis that the bus is often filled with passengers, you should plan to tour around Yoshino area.
Kinpusenji is a Buddhist temple for mountain worshippers. and was
founded in the late 7th century.
It is located to the south of the terminal station of the ropeway.
On the route to Oku-senbon, we find Kuromon gate, first. It is the main gate of this temple.
Next, we find Kane-no-Torii gate. It is one of the four gates to thr sacred mountain, and the original gate was created with leftover copper after Daibutsu in Todaiji was constructed.
The gate to the main precincts is Niomon gate. It was rebuilt in 1456, and is desingnated as a national treasure.
The large main temple is called "Zaoudo", and the height is 34 meters. It is also desingnated as a national treasure.
Yoshimizu Shrine is a Shinto shrine, and is located about 0.5 km east
of Kinpusenji temple.
The shrine was founded in the mid-7th century as a Buddhist temple, and it was changed to Shinto shrine in 1875.
Emperor Go-Daigo (1288-1339) lived here, and Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598), the warlord who unified Japan, stayed here to see cherry blossoms.
In the building named Shoin, there are many articles about them.
We can see the view of Naka-senbon from here.
Chikurin-in is a Buddhist temple, and is located about 1.2 km
south-southeast of Kinpusanji.
It is said that it was founded by Prince Shotoku in the early the 7th century.
The main temple is "Gomado". And there is a beautiful Japanese gareden "Gunpoen" behind Gomado.
This temple has an inn, and we can stay here.
Nyoirinji is a temple of Jodo-shu (Pure Land Buddhism), and is located
about 0.7 km northeast of Chikurin-in. It is on the mountainside across
a valley from the ridge with Kinousanji and Yoshimizu Shrine
It was founded in the early 10th century, and was reestablished in 1650.
There area some buildings in the precincts. And the temple is in Naka-senbon.
Yoshino Mimakuri Shrine is a Shinto shrine, and is located about 1.5 km
southeast of Chukurin-in. It is located around Kami-senbon.
It is said that it exited in the late 7th century.
The main shrine was built in 1605.
It is believed that couples who pray for this shrine will be blessed with children.
Kinpu Shrine is a Shinto shrine, and is located about 2 km southeast of
Yoshino Mimakuri Shrine.
It is located around Oku-senbon, and is in the most remote part of Yoshino area. It is positioned about 5 km from Kinpusenji.
It is unknown when this shrine was founded. In this shrine, a god living in Yoshino has been shrined.
By Kintestsu Yoshino Line, get off at Yoshino terminal station.
©NARA TOURISM FEDERATION / ©JNTO