Asia

Yoshinoyama excursion: the mountain of 30,000 cherry blossoms

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In the Nara Prefecture between the sacred routes of the Kii peninsula there is a mountain that in spring becomes a point of pilgrimage to see the cherry blossoms. He Mount Yoshinoor Yoshinoyama, is a sacred mountain that has planted thirty thousand cherry trees of seven different varieties. To this unique enclave during the hanami we did one day trip from Kyoto. Join us at best place in Japan to see the hanami: Yoshinoyama.

From Kyoto the best way to go to Yoshinoyama is with the train line Kintetsu (not included in the Japan Rail Pass). We opted for the economic version of the train. So at Kyoto station we take a commuter train to Kashiharajingumae and there we take another commuter train to Yoshinoyama (1230 ¥). Despite being Thursday, the train filled to the brim in Kashiharajingumae and until Yoshinoyama we had to travel on foot for almost an hour.

Once we arrive at the station Yoshinoyama Everyone drove down the train. We were at the bottom of the mountain (Shimo Senbon) and had to climb to the highest parts. To do so you can do it in bus, which leaves you in the area of Naka Senbon, or in the Cableway leaves you in the lower part of Naka Senbon. Both cost ¥ 360. The line to take the bus was endless, so we chose the cable car. The line was also very long, but it seemed that it was going faster and I was also excited to see Yoshinoyama's panorama from above.

When we get off the cable car we are at the bottom of Naka Senbon and it was time to ascend the main street. The slope was quite steep and was flanked by souvenir shops and some restaurants. All sold all kinds of foods and drinks "sakura" flavor. In addition, that area of ​​Yoshinoyama is famous for hosting two temples: the Kinpusenji temple and the sanctuary Yoshimizu.

He Kinpusenji temple It is the most famous of Yoshinoyama, and one of the most important not only of the area but of ascetic Buddhism, since it is the headquarters of this branch of Buddhism. The Kinpusenji Temple was founded by In no Gyôja, creator of the sect Shugendo of Buddhism. This sect venerates nature and mountains, and its monks train mind and body along mountain and pilgrimage trails such as the Kumano Kodo. The main structure of the Kinpusenji temple is Zao-do, one of the tallest structures in Japan after the Todaiji of Nara. Inside the Zao-do is the statue Zao Gongen, the fierce bluish skin that protects the sacred mountains of Nara. Zao Gongen is one of the most important deities of the Shugendo and this statue is 1300 years old, so the huge queues to see it were to be expected.

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