One of my favorite place in Japan beside kyoto is 吉野山 which is located in Nara (奈良) perfecture. I went last year for Hanami and I went again this year. The whole area is a world heritage but i guess not many peoples know about this place. Yoshino-yama is known as one of Japan’s best sakura spot. There are around 3000 sakura trees and they were planted from 1300 years before.
It is 1,5 hours train ride from kintetsu-abenobashi station in Tennoji with local train, even if you take the limited express train the arrival time difference is only 15 minutes but you have to pay extra 510¥. You might wanna go to the toilet before you get on the train. It’s a boring train ride, if you’re the type who can sleep in public transportation then you might not have a problem with a boring train ride. The yoshino yama station is the final destination of the train, you might see yoshino-guchi station before you arrive at the last station but that is not the correct station to this area.
The area is divided into 3 parts 下千本、中千本、上千本。The yoshino city is located at the 中千本, the middle part of the mountain. You can find hotels, ryokans, restaurant and souvenirs shops in this area, some temple also located inside the town.
Last year when i visited this place it was during the peak of the sakura season, all the flowers were fully blossomed. The view from the 中千本 was just dreamy. But this year i came too early, most of the sakura trees had not fully bloomed, sime were just about to buds.
From yoshino station you can take cable car or bus to the 中千本 area. Last year i took bus, but this year we took the hiking trails. The first destination was 如意輪寺, you have to pay 400¥ if you want to enter the garden. Inside the garden they have a budhist museum, a weeping sakura tree and a pagoda.
From 如意輪寺 we climbed even higher to reach the top of mountain. We wanted do it the extreme way we didn’t take the main road, we climbed the river until we met the hiking trails that lead us to the top of mountain. After 30 minutes of climbing we reached the 高城山 observation deck, since most of the sakura hadn’t bloomed yet the view is less dreamy, but still very beautiful.
We went down to the city from the top, we stopped at one of the picnics area to ate lunch before continuing our journey. We saw many couples doing hanami at the picnic area. In the city we visited several temples, I totally forgot the name of the temples one of them is 吉水神社.
We took cable car on our way back to the station. Because we had to catch the train that leave at 16.07 or we had to wait 30 minutes for the next train. Everyone including us were looking very tired inside the train, some were seen sleeping on the train.
Even though i couldn’t see the fully blossomed sakura this year, i satisfied with this year visit because i reached the top of the mountain. It was something i failed to achieve last year. I recommend this place for tourist who want to visit japan in spring. You can do one day trip to this mountain.