The appeal of Yoshino is that it lets visitors enjoy nature in all four seasons the whole year round. This area is home to Mt. Yoshino, which has been designated as a World Heritage Site, and various other sightseeing spots which are venues of historical events. Here are five of the most recommended sightseeing destinations in Yoshino.
1. Mt. Yoshino
Mt. Yoshino has long been a famous spot for viewing cherry blossoms and as a sacred place for Shugendo (a religion where followers go through harsh training in the mountains and deify and worship mountains). Designated as a World Heritage Site, this mountain boasts of roughly 30,000 cherry blossom trees in bloom during spring, drawing large crowds who wish to marvel at the beautiful flowers. Aside from the cherry blossoms, you can enjoy other picturesque sceneries at this mountain in every season, including the autumn foliage and the blanket of snow. One side of the mountain even turns pure white in the dead of winter, thereby giving it a slightly different atmosphere from the lively scene created by the mountain during cherry blossom season. Another great point about this mountain is that it is dotted with temples and shrines such as Kongo Shrine, Yoshimizu Shrine and Yoshino Mikumari Shrine, so you can visit them, too, when you go to this mountain.
2. Kinpusen-ji Temple
The zone stretching from Mt. Yoshino up to Mt. Omine Sanjogatake is called Kinpusen and it was established as a sacred place for the Shugendo sect of Buddhism whose followers worship mountains. Representing the headquarters of the Kinpusen Shugendo, this temple was built in the latter half of the 7th century by Enno-ozunu, the founder of Shugendo. The Zao-do main hall and Niomon temple gate were registered as World Heritage Sites for being sacred places in the Kii Mountain Range (the three sacred places covering Wakayama, Nara, and Mie: Yoshino’s Omine, Kumanosanzan, and Mt. Koya) and as one of the pilgrimage routes (Kumano pilgrimage route, Omine Okugake Road and Koyasan Choishi Road). The Main Hall (Zao-do Hall), a grand building with top-class scale as a wooden building with height measuring 34m and width of 36m, is particularly worth looking at. This is a precious spot that will let you feel a part of Japan’s ancient culture, so you shouldn’t miss it.
3. Hanging Bridge of Tanize
The Hanging Bridge of Tanize, which boasts of being one of the longest bridges in Japan, is a suspension bridge made of iron wires that is recommended to those who want to have a thrilling experience! This gigantic hanging bridge that connects Uenoji and Tanize measures 297m in length and 54m in height, and was originally used by local residents in their daily lives. Currently known as a sightseeing spot, this bridge is also illuminated at night, thereby giving it a view that is different from how it looks during day. You will see what’s underneath the bridge through the gaps between the iron wires occasionally, so those who hate heights might freeze in their tracks. However, the view from the bridge is spectacular. So, if you are ever in Nara, try to challenge crossing this bridge!
4. Dorogawa Onsen
Dorogawa Onsen is a hot spring district that is located about 820m above sea level at Mt. Omine, south of Nara. It is cool here even during summer, so it has become known as a summer retreat. With more than 20 Japanese-style hotels, souvenir shops and restaurants standing side by side, its atmosphere that reminiscent of the Showa period (1926 – 1989) has become a popular tourist spot. The hot spring here, this area’s pride, is colorless and transparent, and is slightly alkaline in nature, making your skin smooth. Now, how about soaking in the hot spring to relieve your body that is tired from traveling?
Doro-kyo is a gorge area straddling Nara, Mie, and Wakayama. The overwhelmingly beautiful gorge that is made up of huge rocks, oddly shaped rocks, and precipitous cliffs looks mystical, so it has been praised as a scenic spot since ancient times. You can go sightseeing to the gorge from Nara via water jet boats from the Tado Port boat boarding area and on riverboats from Totsukawamura Tado Port. The invigorating sound of the water and the feel of the wind on your skin as the boat advances will refresh you body and soul. This is a recommended sightseeing spot that will let you feel the great outdoors up close.
The historical and nature-rich Yoshino in Nara is home to many must-see spots. Why not add some of these places to your itinerary?
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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