Nara’s World Heritage Site: Yoshinoyama
Nara Prefecture’s Mount Yoshino is a world heritage site with fresh forest scenery view for every season. The mountain, known as Yoshinoyama in Japanese, is a great spot during autumn or spring for seeing the trees changing colors.
Getting to Yoshinoyama
The mountain lies about 40 minutes from Nara using Kintetsu trains. From Kyoto, it takes 130 minutes by local train or 100 minutes by express Kintetsu train, so travel during morning so you can enjoy a whole day here. Get off the train at Yoshino Station, then take a 360 yen bus ride for the mountain. Mount Yoshino has four divisions — Shimo Senbon (Lower 1,000 Trees), Naka Senbon (Middle 1,000 Trees), Kami Senbon (Upper 1,000 Trees), and Oku Senbon (Inner 1,000 Trees).
Prime Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots
As cherry blossoms bloom at different times throughout Japan, before visiting Mount Yoshino I made sure to check whether they were blooming or not. I prefer viewing cherry blossoms at Naka Senbon, then taking a short trip into Shimo Senbon. It takes me around three hours to enjoy this mountain area. If you have more time, you can take a hiking trail for Kami Senbon, where there is a beautiful Japanese garden and shrine.
Take the Ropeway Up Yoshinoyama
If you want a view of the mountain from above, you can ride a ropeway from Shimo Senbon for 360 yen one way or 610 yen round trip. The ropeway runs four times an hour, but the round trip is not available during cherry blossom season, so you will just have to enjoy the walking trail and its surroundings.
Take a Rest at one of Yoshinoyama’s Many Shrines and Temples
Mount Yoshino also has shrines and temples among its every area. Other than the cherry blossoms, that’s why both foreigners and Japanese people come visit the Nara mountain during their holidays.
Follow the Trails and See What Yoshinoyama Has to Offer
Enjoying Mount Yoshino’s walking trails is easy. From the top of the mountain, follow the directions towards Yoshino Station. While on the walking trails, I found some souvenir shops and restaurants selling street foods such as takoyaki and yakitori served alongside drinks such as beer and sake.
Near the mountain, ryokan, hotels, and hostels can be found. Many people spend their Nara weekend at the ryokan and climb to the top of mountain and take photos of the panoramic view. Check the weather forecast – along with the cherry blossoms – before hiking as sunny weather with blue skies will provide the best views.
Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara Prefecture 639-3115
[map]Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara Prefecture 639-3115[/map]