The Yoshinoyama area is quite compact and easy to explore on foot, with buses doing a loop up to the mountain observatories in spring and autumn. It takes just over an hour to reach Yoshino Station from Nara Park by express train. From there, you can either hike or take the ropeway up the mountain.
A Weekend in Yoshino
This is one of the most famous cherry blossom viewing destinations in Japan, with over 30,000 trees ranging up the mountain, in bloom for most of April. In autumn, the area is vivid with red and orange leaves, for scenic hiking. Rich in history and natural beauty, it’s a perfect weekend escape.
Where to Stay
There are plenty of accommodation options from simple to luxe, but you must book in advance, especially in peak season. The classic ryokan experience includes dinner and breakfast. Many have outdoor onsen baths with views over the mountains. Ask about local crafts; your ryokan can book workshops and experiences.
Family-run Ryokan Kato is conveniently close to the ropeway.Ryokan | Yoshino
Yoshino is renowned for kuzukiri and kuzumochi, a translucent jelly like dessert made from kudzu starch, usually served with black sugar syrup. After checking into your accommodation, explore the area and keep your eyes peeled for this intriguing local specialty.
At Nakai Shunpudo, a kudzu specialist shop, you can watch them make the sweets, and then eat the results. The shop has a space where you can enjoy your kudzu with a cup of tea and pleasant mountain views.
Kudzu is a specialty of Yoshino and makes a good souvenir.Edible Gifts | Yoshino
Yoshino is famous for clean water and cedar trees, making it the perfect environment for making washi paper and cedar chopsticks. You can ask your ryokan to arrange a visit to Fukunishi Washi Honpo, a world-famous paper maker, or try your hand at making chopsticks.
The Fukunishi family have been making washi paper here the same way, using locally grown mulberry bark and the pure waters of the Yoshino River, for six generations.Activities & Experiences | Yoshino
Hot Spring Bathing
After a long day of walking and exploring, a hot bath is a great way to relax and recover. Many onsen baths are open to the public. At Sakoya, bathers can enjoy local sake in the bath. Yumoto Honoya has views over the mountains that draw bathers in spring and autumn.
Take a bath with a view at Yumoto Honoya.Ryokan | Yoshino
Food & Drink
The main street is dotted with restaurants, serving Nara specialties like Kakinohazushi and even wild boar hot pot. Vegetarians will enjoy the thoughtful vegan dishes at Hanasaka Organic Cafe. Near Kinpusen-ji Temple, Tofu Chaya Hayashi serves fresh tofu and meat dishes. Try making tofu at their nearby kitchen factory.
A family-run tofu restaurant with vegetarian and meat options.Japanese Restaurants | Yoshino
Located over the Yoshinoyama Ohashi bridge, a short walk past the ropeway, Yoshinokuzu Yasokichi is a picturesque tea house that hangs out over the valley. It's a good spot for a cup of matcha with a view.
Simple tea and sweets sets with spectacular views at Yoshinokuzu Yasokichi.Japanese Cafes | Yoshino