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Yoshino Cherry Blossom Season

Yoshinoyama - worth the travel

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.

Best places to spot cherry blossoms

Where is: Mount Yoshino (吉野山, Yoshinoyama)

 
Mount Yoshino is a mountain located in the town of Yoshino in Yoshino District, Nara Prefecture, Japan.  (A UNESCO World Heritage Site at an elevation of 350 m (1,150 ft))
 
Location: Yoshino-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara, Japan
 

A beautiful place to visit and experience the famous cherry blossom season in Japan.

Mount Yoshino Japan Cherry Blossoms in Nara

Best time to go

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.

Combining two beautiful things

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.

Yoshinoyama Cherry Blossoms
Getting there and Getting around

Shuttles, Trains, and Busses

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.

With more than 30 000 cherry trees planted in the area of Yoshinoyama over many years, you are definitely in the right place for spectacular Sakura blossoms.

Yoshinoyama Nara Japan Sakura Cherry Blossom Season
Travel Tips
  • When visiting places like Nara, Kyoto, Osaka, etc. in Japan, pack light.  Many of the trains and busses do not have sufficient space for oversized luggage.   Some of the larger stations do have a storage facility for luggage, but you might not come back the same way, and keeping in mind you will be charged for storage, so this will add additional cost to your trip.
  • A Kintetsu 2 day Rail Pass is worth buying as you will be able to travel to Kyoto and Osaka, as well as other destinations while saving a lot.
  • Pack a good book for reading on the train.

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Things you must include in your itinerary

  • When in Japan take part in the time-honored ritual of the tea ceremony. And there’s no better place to do this than Nara, Japan’s ancient capital and home to multiple elegant tea houses.  Your hosts will be happy to explain their tea etiquette in English and this is something you will remember for the rest of your life.

Yoshinoyama is host to a multitude of impressive temples and shrines, many of which have played important roles in the history of the area. It is really a great idea to make Yoshino part of your trip from Osaka. You can start your walking tour at Yoshino Station. From here you can take a scenic and relatively easy walk up the mountain to:

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)

  • Where: 2482 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3115, Japan

 

Nyoirinji Temple (如意輪寺)

A Buddhist temple with a pagoda, tomb & treasure house with paintings & religious icons.

  • Where:  1024 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3115, Japan

 

Yoshinomikumari Shrine (吉野水分神社) – Beautiful area to walk and about 2 minutes from the Observatory.

  • Where:  1612 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3115, Japan

 

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.

  • Where:  Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara 639-3115, Japan
Accommodation

Where to stay in Yoshino, Japan