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Cherry Blossoms on Mt. Yoshino, Nara: Video Introduction

Image of Mt. Yoshino cherry blossoms, Nara
Photo:Mt. Yoshino cherry blossoms, Nara

This video, titled "Chery Blossoms on Mt. Yoshino 2020" (吉野山の桜 2020), was uploaded "koichi hozan."

Mt. Yoshino is a famous sightseeing spot in Nara, and is a registered UNESCO's World Heritage Site. Mt. Yoshino has also been selected as one of Japan's Top 100 Cherry Blossom Viewing Sites. Being on a list with spots like Chidorigafuchi and the Imperial Place in Tokyo, Hirosaki Park in Aomori, and Goryokaku Park in Hokkaido, is no easy feat, so you know the cherry blossoms here are really something else.

A Brief Introduction to Nara Prefecture and Yoshino

Image of deer at Kasuganoenchi, Nara Park
Photo:Deer at Kasuganoenchi, Nara Park

Nara is a prefecture in central Japan located south of Kyoto and just east of Osaka. Nara is known for its rich history as the ancient capital of Japan, as well as its abundance of temples and shrines. Many people travel to Nara to explore the history of ancient temples, such as Todaiji Temple, one of the most famous temples in Japan and at one point the largest wooden structure in the world, and the beautiful views that can be found within the prefecture, at places such as Nara Park.

Yoshino is located in the dead center of Nara and is famous for Mt. Yoshino, undeniably one of the best places in Japan to view the cherry blossoms. The mountain is home to the Yoshino Ropeway allowing visitors to easily reach the top for some cherry blossom viewing. That being said, it's also possible to hike the mountain. If you're looking to do some hiking there are several different ways to go about it:
The first is to hike up and down both ways. Starting from Yoshino Station and hiking to the Oku Senbon (upper area of the mountain) and then hiking back down will take around 3.5-5 hours depending on how many breaks you take and how often you stop to take in the scenery and take photos.
Another way to hike the mountain is to take the Yoshino Ropeway to the top and then hike your way down the mountain while enjoying the views and visiting temples, shrines, etc. Hiking Mt. Yoshino like this will take around 2-3 hours.
Lastly, you could hike up Mt. Yoshino and take the ropeway down, which will take you around 3-4 hours.

From both Osaka Station and Kyoto Station, it's about a 2-hour train ride to Yoshino Station. From Nara Park, it'll take about 1.5 hours to reach by train.

Japan – The Country of 'Sakura.' Discover the Beautiful Flower and What It Means in the Language of Flowers

Image of cherry blossoms
Photo:Cherry blossoms

If you didn't know, Japan's national flower is the chrysanthemum, and if you've ever seen a Japanese passport before, you would have seen the flower on it. This might come as a surprised to most people as they often see associate Japan with cherry blossoms when it comes to flowers. But how much do you know about cherry blossoms? Here are some facts about cherry blossoms for you:

The Japanese word for "cherry blossoms" is "sakura," written in kanji as "桜." The cherry trees in Japan that grow these beautiful flowers are a deciduous broad-leaved trees belonging to the family Rosaceae, subfamily Prunus. They're distributed throughout temperate regions on the Northern Hemisphere, but the ones that have beautiful flowers are mostly found in Asia. Japan especially has many different varieties of cherry trees. In general, there are 9 basic species, but there are actually more than 100 species of sakura that grow naturally.

The language of flowers attaches different meanings to eat flower. Japan's version of this is called "Hanakotoba." In Hanakotoba, sakura mean "spiritual beauty," "graceful woman," and "purity." Some speculate that this flower was entrusted with such beauty as a symbol to express Japan's dignity.

When the cherry blossoms are in bloom, the people of Japan know that spring has truly arrived. Most bloom during the spring, but some species bloom in fall as well.

The History of Kinpusenji Temple on Mt. Yoshino – The Origin of Mountain Worship in Japan

Image of Kane no Torii, Kinpusenji Temple, Nara
Photo:Kane no Torii, Kinpusenji Temple, Nara

Mt. Yoshino is not like other famous cherry blossom spots: trees are not neatly arranged for hanami (cherry blossom viewing). Cherry blossoms on Mt. Yoshino are "sakura for religion" and are deeply connected to mountain worship in Japan. This is one of the reasons why they are taken care of so well.

The history of Mt. Yoshino dates back around 1,300 years. At that time, the mountains were believed to be inhabited by gods, and Mt. Yoshino was considered to be an ideal home for these gods. It is said that En no Ozunu (the founder of Shugendo) carved the image of Zao Gongen into a cherry tree and enshrined it. Kinpusenji Temple is home to this image of Zao Gongen. The temple is also famous for Kane no Torii (銅鳥居), a torii gate made of copper.
Kane no Torii is one of the Three Great Torii Gates of Japan. The other two are: the vermilion torii on Miyajima; the stone torii of Shitennoji Temple (大阪四天王寺, Osakashitennoji) in Osaka. Zaodo (the main hall of Kinpusenji Temple) where the principal image is enshrined, is still a center of worship that attracts many worshippers.

What is "Ichimoku-senbon"? Cherry Blossom Viewing Period and Highlights of Yoshinoyama in 2014

Image of Mt. Yoshino cherry blossoms, Nara
Photo:Mt. Yoshino cherry blossoms, Nara

There are around 30,000 cherry blossom trees of approximately 200 different varieties on Mt. Yoshino. In the spring, the trees bloom and create an incredible view. The view itself is called "Hitome Senbon," meaning roughly "One thousand cherry blossoms at a glance."

The shiroyamazakura (Cerasus jamasakura) usually grow densely. These cherry blossoms can be found all over the mountain. Because there are so many, they're referred to in sections: "Shimosenbon" (lower thousand), "Nakasenbon" (middle thousand), "Kamisenbon" (upper thousand), and "Okusenbon" (inner thousand). The best time to see the cherry blossoms is from late March to mid-April; the full bloom date in 2023 was March 29 for Shimo-Senbon and March 30 for Naka-Senbon. The expected bloom date for cherry blossoms in Nara in 2024 is March 25. Cherry blossoms on Yoshinoyama are characterized by the fact that they bloom from the bottom to the back of the mountain, allowing visitors to enjoy the cherry blossoms for a longer period of time.

The Yoshinoyama Tourist Association updates the blooming status on its official website from time to time during the peak cherry blossom season, and also releases information on the nighttime illumination, so please check before you visit.

Spots for Viewing Cherry Blossoms on Mt. Yoshino

Image of the view from Hanayagura Observatory on Mt. Yoshino, Nara
Photo:The view from Hanayagura Observatory on Mt. Yoshino, Nara

The best spot to see the cherry blossoms on Mt. Yoshino is the Hanayagura Observatory (花矢倉展望台, Hanayagura Tenbodai) located in the Kamisenbon area. You can enjoy a panoramic view of Mt. Yoshino from here. Even Mt. Kongo, the border between Nara and Osaka, can be viewed from here.

The prospect from Nakasenbon area is also popular. Particularly, if you enter Sanmon Gate (山門, Sanmon) at Yoshimizu Shrine (吉水神社, Yoshimizu Jinja), you can enjoy a view known as "Hitome Senbon." Even Hideyoshi Toyotomi was said to be impressed with this view, so be sure not to miss it!

The superb view called "Hitome Senbon" is composed of Someiyoshino, light pink colored cherry blossoms, but there are also Shiroyamazakura which have many different colors, such as white and light red. The variety of colors is one of the reasons for the park's beauty!

In the Nakasenbon area, there is a hidden spot for enjoying hanami (cherry blossom viewing). That spot is Nyoirin-ji Temple. This is a good spot for those looking to enjoy the cherry blossoms in a relaxed atmosphere.
[Video] 7:23 - Cherry Blossoms at Nyoirinji Temple
From the viewing platform in the Shimo-Senbon area, you can see the beautiful cherry blossoms of Nanamagari-zaka. You can also enjoy a wonderful view of the cherry blossoms from the nearby Mt. Yoshino Ropeway.

The Tradition of 'Hanami' in Japan

Image of deer at Kasuganoenchi, Nara Park
Photo:Deer at Kasuganoenchi, Nara Park

"Hanami" (花見) is the Japanese word for "cherry blossom viewing." Every year when spring arrives in Japan and the cherry blossoms begin to bloom, all across Japan you'll find people making preparations to go see them.

The tradition's roots can be traced back to famous Japanese warlords from hundreds of years ago, when large banquets were held to appreciate the beauty of the flowers. Even today, cherry blossom parties are held and you can often see people going out to parks, etc. with their friends and families to relax below the beautiful blossoms while enjoying a variety of foods, such as onigiri and mochi, and having fun barbecuing and drinking sake.

If you're planning on visiting Japan yourself, we recommend experiencing hanami like the Japanese and doing just this! Pick up some snacks at a nearby store and spend a day appreciating the beauty of nature. Don't forget to take some photos as well!

Summary of Cherry Blossoms on Mt. Yoshino

Image of cherry blossoms lit up on Mt. Yoshino, Nara
Photo:Cherry blossoms lit up on Mt. Yoshino, Nara

During cherry blossom season in Nara, traffic is regulated and parking lots are closed. Because of this, we recommend visiting by bus.

During the peak blooming period for the cherry blossoms on Mt. Yoshino, you can even enjoy viewing them at night! There will be illumination events that light up the beautiful flowers. The nighttime scenery is truly magical!

Around Mt. Yoshino, you can also enjoy various food. Try the famous Kuzu-Udon or Kakinoha-Zushi for lunch, and go for a hike up the mountains afterwards. You can also relax and take a break with some matcha tea and traditional Japanese sweets while enjoying the cherry blossoms at Nyoirinji Temple! Delicious food and a beautiful view of 30,000 cherry blossom trees… It's hard to think of a more enjoyable spring day in Japan!

[TripAdvisor] Mt. Yoshino

Written By
Last Updated : Apr. 1, 2023
Japan
平敷 篤(Atsushi Heishiki)
My name is Atsushi Heishiki, a writer who loves Japanese culture and lives in Okinawa.
Mt. Yoshino, Nara: One of the Best Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan and a World Heritage Site! Discover the Beautiful Flowers, With Ties to Mountain Religions in Japan, via Video!
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