A large area in southern Nara, Yoshino is best known for the mountain there of the same name. It is also renowned as a spring destination when over 30,000 cherry trees color the mountain and surrounding area pink. The best places to see cherry blossoms and bright autumn leaves are from Yoshimizu-jinja Shrine and Hanayagura Observatory, which offer sweeping vistas.

Experience Yoshino

Local Insights

Kuzumochi

These traditional Japanese sweets are formed from a mixture of kuzu, or Japanese arrowroot, and local spring water. Delicious accompanying green tea, the jelly-like dumplings are typically served with either a sweet, dark syrup, or kinako, toasted soy bean powder. Yoshino’s kuzumochi is renowned across Japan for its use of pure, local ingredients. Yoshinokuzu is a great place to try the dish when in Yoshino. Yoshinokuzu Yasokichi is a great place to try the dish when in Yoshino.

Kakinohazushi

Originating in the Yoshino area, this local form of sushi solved the problem of preserving fish on long journeys during the Edo era. Salmon and mackerel are lightly marinated in vinegar, placed on rice and wrapped in persimmon leaves, which help prevent bacterial growth. You will find kakinohazushi for sale all over Nara. The flavour’s unique, but give it a try! Learn more about Nara's unique cuisine.

Mt. Yoshino & Shugendo

In summer, you will see many male pilgrims in white robes in the Yoshinoyama area. They are Shugendo practitioners, who practice an ascetic form of spirituality, stressing physical endurance as a path to enlightenment. Local herbal medicines were developed hundreds of years ago to aid their journeys along the Omine-Okugake Trail.

Omine-Okugake Trail

This trail leads from the Yoshino and Omine mountains towards the Kumano Sanzan, a collection of sacred shrines in Wakayama. A difficult trail, it also serves as the training grounds for Shugendo practitioners. Although not recommended for inexperienced hikers, the parts around Yoshino are manageable. Read more about the Omine-Okugake Trail.

Good to Know

Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter
Spring/Summer/Autumn/Winter

Best Time to Go

One of Japan's top cherry blossom destinations, spring is an obvious choice for Yoshino. But equally impressive are the views of Mt. Yoshino coloured in the reds and yellows of autumn. For a quieter, more intimate experience, a hot spring stay in winter is a good choice. Summer also sees fewer tourists than spring and offers the opportunity to glimpse Shugendo practitioners in the area.

Bus/Ropeway
Bus/Ropeway

Getting Around

The focal point of the Yoshino area is Mt. Yoshino. The mountain is served by a ropeway which runs from outside Yoshino Station: note that the ropeway does not operate on weekdays during winter. From the top ropeway station buses run between the major attractions. Service is irregular and suspended between February and March. Careful planning is necessary during winter.

Travel Tips

Unlike Nara City, rural Yoshino has few convenience stores and ATMs. Not all shops and hotels accept cards so you should take enough cash with you if planning an overnight stay. When travelling to see the cherry blossoms in spring, expect crowds and traffic. If planning a visit outside of the peak season, plan accordingly, as some facilities may operate irregular opening hours.

Other Tips

For avid hikers looking for a culturally-rich experience, the Omine-Okugake Trail, connecting Yoshino and Mt. Omine with spiritual sites in the south of Wakayama Prefecture, may be of interest. But before attempting the hike, it's important to understand that the trail serves as the training grounds for practitioners of Shugendo Buddhism. Certain parts around Mt. Omine are off-limits to women and the hike is a difficult one. A respectful mindset and thorough planning are essential.

Getting to Yoshino

The attractions around Mt. Yoshino and the town of Yoshinoyama are best explored from Yoshino Station. Unless you have a JR Rail Pass and are tied to using the JR Line, the most convenient route is from Kintetsu-Nara Station and takes a little over 90 minutes.

From Kintetsu-Nara Sta. to Yoshino Sta. : approx. 1 h 42 min
From Kintetsu-Nara Sta. to Yoshino Sta. : approx. 1 h 42 min

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