I had been quite excited about going to the most famous sakura viewing spot in Japan, and it was nice to learn that the mountain's full bloom is usually a few weeks later than the rest of the area. While it did bloom later, the freak storm in the area managed to cut short the blossoms at the height of their beauty. We decided to go anyway, even if it meant going late after our surprise 6 a.m. wake up call, a.k.a, the big earthquake. The view was still worth it. There were still trees in bloom, and the colors of the new leaves were an odd pinky red. It gave the whole mountain an autumn feel which was quite beautiful and surprising to look at. The town of Yoshino itself is darling, filled with antique shops, gift stores, and restaurants. I could have spent many hours perusing those stores, but the boys I was with just started leaving me behind.
|Kimpusen-ji the 2nd largest wooden structure in Japan|
|Tanuki need breaks every now and then.|
We chose to skip the cable car and hike up almost the entire slope. It wasn't a hard walk, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I was working muscles that generally get ignored. If girls in platform heels and the elderly with canes can climb it, you can too. I couldn't tell you how long the hike up took because we stopped too often, but it took close to two hours to get back down.
The train ride there could be a pain depending on where you are coming from and how much you want to spend on the train. Take the Kintetsu Yoshino line from Tennoji and, if you don't take the limited express train that costs an extra 500 yen, plan on traveling for 90 minutes. However, it's definitely worth it to make sure you take a book to read or headphones.
I can see myself coming back to Yoshino. It's easily as beautiful as Koyasan, although the atmosphere is quite different. After going to two out of the three most sacred mountains in the area, I'm feeling inspired. There might be a trip to Mount Omine in my near future.