Although the area is quite known for the Sakura cherry blossoms in spring, it is also kind of a hidden gem. Most people tend to go to the big cities and often forget to follow different footpaths, walk up mountains, or look for smaller villages that might just bring a prolific abundance of blossoms you can feast your eyes on. Yoshinoyama is such a place. Beautiful and really worth a visit.
The best time to view the cherry blossoms is usually from late March or early April, with trees reaching full bloom around early to mid-April. The blooming season is staggered by a couple of days between the Shimo (lower), Naka (middle), and Kami (upper) Senbon areas. However as the blossoms are weather depending, the start and height of the season can change each year. Usually, it falls between late March to early May.
One activity everyone enjoys is going to the Naka Senbon Park for a ‘hanami picnic’ under the trees. “Hanami” means ‘flower viewing’ – so it is literally a picnic with a view of the flower blossoms, under the trees and it is very popular. But, going to this beautiful place, remember to always ‘check and respect local rules’. Do not in any way harm a tree. You might get into big trouble.
As well as visiting the beautiful shrines, a combination of the shrines and cherry blossoms, make for a spectacular view and fabulous photo opportunities. The best places to go for cherry blossoms are at the Yoshimizu-jinja Shrine and the Hanayagura Observatory, as well as at the Yoshino Mikumari-jinja Shrine, near the top of the mountain.
During the cherry blossom season, there are shuttle buses available between Yoshino Station and the Naka Senbon area.
Some areas are closed to cars during the day, so walking and using the shuttles is your best option.
Trains run between Yoshino Station (Mount Yoshino) and Nara, Kyoto, and Osaka.
From Yoshino-guchi Station you can take the Kintetsu Railway train to Yoshino Station.
Kinpusenji (金峯山寺) – A Buddhist temple with Pagodas & shrines as well as spring cherry blossoms. Stop at the restaurant across the temple and try some of the local food.
Where: 2498 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3115, Japan
Yoshimizu Shrine (吉水神社) dedicated to Emperor Go-Daigo, and the samurai Kusunoki Masashige, was built in the 8th century. Here you can enjoy beautiful views.
Where: 579 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3115, Japan
Take the time to walk through this beautiful place. There is English information available.
Where: 1269 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3115, Japan
Here you can stay overnight. It is a fully functioning Ryokan as well as a temple. Lovely food and a beautiful garden.
Where: 2142 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3115, Japan
Notem Shrine (脳天神社)
Nyoirinji Temple (如意輪寺)
A Buddhist temple with a pagoda, tomb & treasure house with paintings & religious icons.
Yoshinomikumari Shrine (吉野水分神社) – Beautiful area to walk and about 2 minutes from the Observatory.
Mt. Takashiro Observatory (高城山展望台（ツツジが城跡） – Observation Deck with beautiful views over Yoshinoyama. It is a short but steep walk from the main town.