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  • Covered with literally thousands of cherry trees, the slopes of Mount Yoshino have been

  • considered for centuries as the best area in Japan to see cherry blossoms in spring.

  • However, unknown to many is the rich history that Yoshino

  • also boasts, being home to a multitude of impressive shrines and temples many of which

  • have played important roles in the area's centuries-long history.

  • And it's because of this that the town makes for a worthwhile side trip

  • from Osaka at any time of the year.

  • Yoshino played a prominent role in Japan's history during the rule of Emperor Go-Daigo

  • in the 1300s when an imperial succession dispute led to the establishment of

  • two rivaling emperors and imperial courts.

  • The Emperor Go-Daigo fled to Yoshino, south of Kyoto

  • and his court became known as the Southern Court

  • as opposed to the newly established Northern Court in Kyoto.

  • The dispute continued for 56 years until the Southern Court gave in.

  • In addition, it is the spiritual center and pilgrimage destination for those who practice

  • the religion of mountain worship known as Shugendo.

  • Its nature, history, and spirituality make Yoshino a place like no other

  • and this is exactly where we're going today.

  • I'm Sam Evans, staff-writer for japan-guide.com.

  • And today I'm on assignment in Yoshino.

  • Here's the plan: We'll depart Osaka-Abenobashi station and take the train directly to Yoshino Station

  • Also note that this route is entirely covered by the KINTETSU RAIL PASS 2day version

  • which enables savings if also used on a second day to travel to another location covered by the pass

  • including Kyoto, Nara and Osaka.

  • From Yoshino Station we'll walk to Kinpusenji

  • an ancient temple and center of Shugendo.

  • after this we'll sit down to a lunch of sushi served in a way that is unique to Yoshino.

  • Next we'll move on to Yoshimizu Shrine.

  • Before arriving at our accommodation for the night

  • we'll drop by another important Shugendo temple.

  • Sakuramotobo, before reaching Chikurinin Gunpoen

  • a centuries old temple where travelers can stay overnight.

  • So follow along as we go on a short side trip from Osaka to Yoshino.

  • Shugendo is a mixture of the religions of Buddhism and Shinto

  • and concentrates heavily on mountain worship.

  • After getting the train to Yoshino station, we've made the walk up the mountain

  • to the main part of town and arrived at Kinpusenji temple

  • one of the most important sites in Shugendo

  • and start of the pilgrimage train goes all the way from here up to Mount Ominesan.

  • So we're at Yakko, a restaurant across the road from Kinpusenji.

  • And I'm about to indulge in a local specialty, kakinohazushi.

  • Which is sushi wrapped in persimmon leaves.

  • Now the reason they do this is because Yoshino is far from the sea.

  • So, back in the old days they needed a means of transporting this fish up here

  • without it spoiling.

  • So what did they do?

  • They wrapped it in persimmon leaf

  • because persimmon leaf has a natural antibacterial quality.

  • That's incredible.

  • Now that we are properly fed and watered it's time to head ten minutes further up the street

  • to the historic Yoshimizu Shrine.

  • Since it was first built over 1200 years ago in the 8th century

  • Yoshimizu Shrine has been the site of several important historic events.

  • So we've arrived at Yoshinomizu shrine.

  • Now in the 14th century Emperor Go-Daigo fled Kyoto and came here to set up his southern

  • court in opposition to the northern court that remained in Kyoto.

  • So that means that during that time, this place effectively served as an imperial palace.

  • Our last stop before finding out accommodation for the night is Sakuramotobo Temple.

  • Another center of Shugendo mountain worship with a long history

  • and many facets of the complex to explore

  • And finally, it's time to check-in at our lodging, Chikurinin Gunpoen

  • which has been putting up pilgrims for centuries

  • and is now both a fully functioning ryokan as well as a temple.

  • So we're here at Chikurinin Gunpoen where we'll be spending the night.

  • Now, this temple has for centuries been accommodation for the yamabushi

  • and is known, among other things, for its beautiful landscape garden out back.

  • For now it's time to tuck-in to this beautiful-looking ryokan meal.

  • So, itadakimasu.

  • And that concludes our short side trip from Osaka to Yoshino.

  • For more information about this itinerary or to watch another video

  • click the links on the screen now or head over to japan-guide.com

  • your comprehensive, up to date travel guide,

  • first hand from Japan.

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  • Happy travels.

Covered with literally thousands of cherry trees, the slopes of Mount Yoshino have been

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    Summer posted on 2020/04/28
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