It may not look like much, but this shrine, founded roughly 1300 years ago, has a serious historic pedigree: it has harboured general Minamoto Yoshitsune (taking refuge from his murderous brother Yoritomo, the first Kamakura shogun) and emperor Go-Daigo, and warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi hosted a 5000-person hanami (blossom-viewing) party here in 1594. On display are a mishmash of artefacts from the shrine's long history.

From Kimpusen-ji, continue 300m to a side road to the left (the first turn past the post office), leading to the shrine. There are good views back to Kimpusen-ji and the hito-me-sen-bon (1000 trees at a glance) viewpoint.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kansai attractions

1. Kimpusen-ji


Kimpusen-ji, founded in the 7th century, is believed to be the incubator of Shugendō, a unique Buddhist sect that incorporates Shintō traditions and…

2. Nyoirin-ji

0.34 MILES

How are the mighty fallen: this isolated and slightly forlorn temple, about 30 minutes on foot from central Yoshino, is the final resting spot of defeated…

3. Tanzan-jinja

6.85 MILES

This remote mountain shrine originated as a mausoleum for Fujiwara Kamatari (614–69), the patriarch of the Fujiwara clan that would rule court politics…

4. Ishibutai-kofun

7.18 MILES

Though other kofun remain covered in earth, Japan's largest stone burial chamber is laid bare and you can walk inside. The tomb was looted centuries ago,…

5. Takamatsuzuka-kofun

7.29 MILES

This kofun was discovered by accident in the 1960s, painstakingly excavated in the 1970s and then sealed for preservation. What you'll see is a grassy…

6. Asuka-dera

8.03 MILES

Considered the first Buddhist temple in Japan (founded 596), Asuka-dera houses Japan's oldest existing Buddhist statue, the Asuka Daibutsu (Great Buddha),…

8. Kashihara-jingū

9.69 MILES

This shrine was built in 1889 on the site where it was proposed that Japan's mythical first emperor, Jimmu, ascended to the throne. Its founding was part…