Yoshinoyama: Sakura Mountain

Cherryblossom season gooooooo! Every year we try to go to a special place to enjoy this pink explosion, and this time we travelled two hours southeast of Osaka to the famous Yoshino region. Basically, it’s a mountain range that’s completely covered in sakura trees. Yes, more than 30.000 trees can be found on the slopes of Yoshino Mountain! This place was first mentioned in a poem dating back to the 10th century. Since then, the mountain area has been awarded a UNESCO world heritage site status and attracted many many many visitors enjoying a mountain hike underneath thousands of swirling blossom petals. Does that sound magical? Well, it is!

Yoshinoyamas-2SONY DSCTo accommodate the busloads of Japanese tourists that want to get to the trees as soon as possible and have a picnic, there are cablecars and shuttlebuses in the lower hills. But we of course did the whole hike from bottom to top and back on foot ;-) Yoshinoyama-33 SONY DSCThe mountain has four different sakura-areas, called the lower, middle, upper and top 1000. You slowly walk up the mountain, passing villages, temples and thousands of blossoming sakura trees. It’s a fantastic hike. SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSCIt had rained a little the night before so there were sparkling drops of water hanging from the petals, some with a spider!Yoshinoyamas-1Yoshinoyama-43 SONY DSCWe passed lovely old villages, huge temples and sometimes dark forests, to again end up on cherryblossom-filled hills. SONY DSC SONY DSC Yoshinoyama-38After a nice sakura-noodle with mackerel-sushi break at a small local restaurant, we further ascended towards the top of the Yoshino mountain range.Yoshinoyama-37SONY DSC Yoshinoyama-41SONY DSCNear the top, the sakura were just barely popping out of the buds. At the top de weather is much cooler so the blossoming takes place a few days later than the bottom trees! You are walking back in sakura-time the higher you get :-) Also, from the top you get a fantastic view over the whole mountain ridge!SONY DSC Yoshinoyama-45From here, we continued our route even further because we wanted to get to the actual summit of the mountain. The forests were getting darker and it became very misty at times when the clouds passed over the ridges. A very surreal atmosphere!SONY DSC SONY DSC Yoshinoyama-46Sometimes almost like a horror-forest haha:SONY DSCYoshinoyama-47After we reached the misty peak, we turned around and made our way down back into the colorful world of pink blossoms!SONY DSC SONY DSCYoshinoyama-49The whole hike was about 3 hours up and 2 hours down. Yoshino is a very impressive sight to see, so many blooming cherrytrees, covering the whole mountain. This is a very cool print by the famous Hiroshige from the 19th century that captures it well too! I think that’s us in the bottom… :DHiroshige_II,_Yamato_YoshinoyamaI’m really glad we went to Yoshinoyama this sakuratime. It’s a ridiculously beautiful place!!SONY DSCAnd here some last close-ups to end this year’s cherrypost with. Goodby lovely sakura, it was a good year :-)Yoshinoyama-1 Yoshinoyama-2 Yoshinoyama-3