A mystical mountain which retains a mountain religion that enshrined its cherry trees
In spring, the mountain is covered in cherry blossoms just like a pale pink fog. Walking on the mountain trails, you can enjoy trekking while feeling some of that spring energy. A Mt. Yoshino spring overflows with flowers, and while walking on the mountain, it is the ultimate flower-viewing site of note where you can enjoy the superb scene of cherry blossoms.
The sakura of Mt. Yoshino have had a close relationship with mountain worship from ancient times. During the Heian Era 1300 years ago, the mountain was opened as a sacred place for Shugendo (asceticism) with images of Bodhisattva carved into the cherry trees and enshrined as the principal object of worship in the shrines, so that the belief of cherry trees as sacred trees developed. For that reason, numerous cherry trees have been planted as seedlings being offered during memorial services for the dead.
Historical buildings with the scent of ancient times
Mt. Yoshino which has been worshiped as a utopia for the gods has not only charmed the devotees to religious practice but also the powers-that-be. The military commander Hideyoshi Toyotomi of the Warring States Era brought over a total of 5000 people in 1594 to participate in flower viewing, and there are legends such as that of the tragic Yoshitsune Minamoto in the late Heian Era. Many valuable buildings remain from those times; Kinpusen-ji Zao Hall, Yoshimizu Shrine, Yoshino Mikumari Shrine and Kinpu Shrine have been registered as World Heritage sites, and all of the shrines and temples that are scattered throughout the natural mountain have a beautiful and ancient aroma. In tandem with the nature on the mountain, a trip where you can fully enjoy first-class works of ancient Japanese art is exceptional. It’s also fun to choose homespun local food and souvenirs along the paths to the shrines. April is the peak time to see the cherry blossoms on Mt. Yoshino. But with its reputation as a famous site for flowers from long ago, it can also be enjoyed during seasons other than spring. There is the fall foliage and the snowscapes during winter, and it’s especially during the quiet seasons that a certain mystique can be felt.