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The Breathtaking Cherry Blossoms of Mt. Yoshino

This video, titled "Yoshino Cherry Blossoms 吉野山の桜 [8K]," was uploaded by "Japan Explorers."
Enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms of Mt. Yoshino in high-quality 8K video, that truly captures the scenery of Japan.

Mt. Yoshino, introduced in the video, is a generic name for the ridge of mountains leading from the south bank of the Yoshino River to the Omine Mountain Range in the town of Yoshino in Yoshino County, Nara Prefecture, located in Japan's Kansai region.
There is also a theory that it is the name of a wide area dotted with temples and shrines, centering on Kinpusenji Temple.
The area around Mt. Yoshino is said to be a famous place for flowers, not just their famous cherry blossoms, and there are even records that tell of Toyotomi Hideyoshi visiting for cherry blossom viewing.

From 1:29 in the video, you can see the beautiful cherry blossoms in full bloom in front of the main hall of Kinpusenji Temple (Zao Hall), a World Heritage Site.

Yoshinoyama is usually at its best from early to mid-April; in 2023, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom from March 30 to April 3, earlier than usual. Why not check the blooming status and visit this spring?

When is the best time to view the cherry blossoms at Yoshinoyama? Why is it called the best cherry blossom viewing spot in Japan?

Image of the Senbonzakura of Mt. Yoshino, Yoshino, Nara
Photo:The Senbonzakura of Mt. Yoshino, Yoshino, Nara

There are many famous places for cherry blossom viewing in Japan, and all of them have splendid views of cherry blossoms worthy of a title, but there's a good reason why the cherry blossoms of Mt. Yoshino are said to be "the best in Japan."

The vocaloid masterpiece "Senbonzakura" (千本桜, lit. One Thousand Cherry Blossoms) is said to have been inspired by the thousand cherry blossoms of Mt. Yoshino.
Moreover, from the beginning to the end of April, the cherry blossoms bloom up the mountain in ascending order starting with the thousand at the foot of the mountain, followed by the thousand of the middle section, the thousand at the peak of the mountain, and finally the thousand in the deeper reaches of the mountain.
In other words, it can be said that Mt. Yoshino is worthy of the title "No. 1 in Japan" simply because it allows for cherry blossom viewing for an entire month.

Yoshino-Kumano National Park, which includes Mt. Yoshino, is designated as a National Place of Scenic Beauty and a historic site, and Mt. Yoshino is also included in the "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range," a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Naturally, it has also been selected as one of the " Top 100 Places to View Cherry Blossoms in Japan."

The History of Mt. Yoshino, the Most Famous Place to View Cherry Blossoms in Japan

Image of the Yoshino Ropeway, Yoshino, Nara
Photo:The Yoshino Ropeway, Yoshino, Nara

The history of cherry blossoms on Mt. Yoshino dates back more than a thousand years with documents mentioning the cherry blossoms of Mt. Yoshino as far back as the Heian period (794-1185).
Since the Yoshino Cherry, which bears the name "Yoshino," is an ornamental cherry tree that was refined during the Edo period (1603-1868 A.D.), there are many more varieties planted on Mt. Yoshino, and it is said that there are approximately 30,000 of them covering the entirety of the mountain.
The reason why Mt. Yoshino became a famous place for cherry blossoms is that cherry blossoms were considered to be the sacred tree of Zao Gongen, a mountain deity of Shugendo, an ancient religion in Japan.
It is said that En no Ozuno, considered the founder of Shugendo, practiced asceticism on Mt. Kinpu and attained enlightenment through the manifestation of the bodhisattva Zao Gongen.
At that time, they carved a statue of the bodhisattva Zao Gongen out of a cherry tree and worshipped it, and it became a custom for mountain ascetics in the past to carve a statue of Zao Gongen out of a cherry tree on Mt. Yoshino.
As a result, cherry trees were planted all over the mountain, and it became a popular topic of conversation among commoners as a place where they could view thousands of splendid cherry blossoms in one location, making it the most famous cherry blossom viewing location in Japan.

Furthermore, the Yoshino Ropeway, the oldest ropeway in Japan, is another must-see location for cherry blossom viewing. It was founded in 1929 and has a history of more than 90 years.
The pillars, built in 1928 when the ropeway opened, are in use even now, showcasing the high-level Japanese architectural technology, even at that time.

The Recommended Route for Cherry Blossom Viewing on Mt. Yoshino

Image of Senbonzakura seen from the Hanayagura Observatory, Yoshino, Nara
Photo:Senbonzakura seen from the Hanayagura Observatory, Yoshino, Nara

Mt. Yoshino is a place for leisurely enjoyment that can be enjoyed throughout all of Japan's four seasons.
You can enjoy not only the cherry blossom season, but also autumn leaves, early summer hydrangeas, snowy winter scenery, the hot springs of Yoshino, temples and shrines, and even quiet places to go for a walk through the forests of Yoshino.
In particular, the recommended route for viewing the cherry blossoms is from Yoshino Station to Saigyoan. On the way you'll see:

・Kumoi-no-Sakura (雲井の桜)
・Takizakura (滝桜)
・Nunobiki-no-Sakura (布引の桜)
・Tennin-no-Sakura (天人桜)
・Yumemizakura (夢見桜)
・Goshozakura (御所桜)
・Arashiyama-no-Sakura (嵐山の桜)
・Sekiyazakura (関屋桜)
・Yonhonzakura (四本桜)
・Senbonzakura (千本桜)
・Hanazonosan-no-Sakura (花園山の桜)

These are the famous places you can stop by where many wild cherry trees can be seen in full bloom.
In addition, the views from Hanayagura Observatory and Shimosenbon Observatory at an elevation of about 600m, showcase a panoramic view of 30,000 cherry blossoms of around 200 different species! When they're in full bloom, they're lit up and you can enjoy spectacular views of cherry blossoms at night.
Since Mt. Yoshino covers a large area, it's also recommended as a driving course for private vehicles, rental cars, and buses.

Summary of Mt. Yoshino, the Most Famous Place to View Cherry Blossoms in Japan

In this article, we introduced some of the history and highlights of Mt. Yoshino alongside the video showcasing the cherry blossoms in full bloom.
We hope you enjoyed it!
There are many other attractions around Mt. Yoshino, such as Zao Hall, and Yoshimizu Shrine, both World Heritage Sites.
Also, since it was originally a sacred place for Shugendo, there are plenty of accommodation facilities, such as Sakuramotobou (桜本坊) that were originally for mountain ascetics.

Please check the official website of the Mt. Yoshino Tourism Association for directions to Mt. Yoshino, parking information, bloom forecasts, and more.

The mascot character "Pinkle" chan will guide you!

【Official Website】Mt. Yoshino Tourist Association, Nara Prefecture

【TripAdvisor】Mt. Yoshino

Written By
Last Updated : Feb. 18, 2024
児玉 勇(Yu Kodama)
A writer who loves Japan and yakitori
Mt. Yoshino in Nara Prefecture – Experience a Panoramic View of 30,000 Beautiful Cherry Blossoms at One of the Most Famous Cherry Blossom Viewing Locations in Japan
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