Yoshino, famous for its cherry blossoms, is also the birthplace of a mystic religion called Shugen-do that draws elements from Buddhism, Shintoism, and animism. While walking through this temple town you might be able to see practitioners clad in their peculiar costumes and hear the sound of the giant conch being blown. The three fierce-looking main statues of Zao-do Hall are exhibited only for a limited period of time a year (This spring from March 30 to May 6) . We can look at them really closely and in peace and quiet.Moreover we will visit a sweets shop that makes a special kind of sweet typical of this region and the gorgeous room where emperors ruled from 1336 to 1392.Nature, culture, and history all come together in this exciting and extraordinary tour that will give you new insights into Japan.
ItineraryThis is a typical itinerary for this productStop At: Kinpusenji Temple, Yoshino-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture, KinkiAfter climbing up a slope by bus and on foot, we will arrive at the village of Yoshino which has developed on a ridge about 300 m above sea level. As we walk on the street lined with shops on the right and left, we will reach the imposing temple gate Nio (national treasure) with two powerful statues of Kongo Rikishi (fierce guardian gods) in it.The biggest building in the precincts of Kinpusen-ji Temple is the Zao-do Hall (national treasure) which is said to be the second largest wooden building in Japan. One wonders how people built this huge structure up on a mountain in the 9th century. Mountain monks of Shugen-do train and discipline themselves here and pray for people’s peace of mind. Devotional services take place every morning and evening, and we will watch the Goma (fire) offering starting at 11:00 am.From March 30th to May 5th the 7-meter tall, blue-skinned statues of Yao Gongen, the protector deities of the Yoshino area, can be seen by the public.Duration: 1 hourStop At: Noten Daijin Ryuoin Temple, Yoshino-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture, KinkiAs we descend 460 steps from Kimpusen-ji Temple, we arrive at Noten Okami Shrine where the deity in charge of brain and head is enshrined. Various other deities are worshiped along the way. It’s a very special feeling descending into the bottom of the valley. This shrine/temple is a unique fusion of Buddhism and Shintoism.It's hard work to climb up the stairs again, so let’s take a break on the way.Duration: 1 hourStop At: YakkoSushi wrapped in persimmon leaves are a renowned Nara specialty. Your guide can tell you why this kind of sushi is popular in Nara. Duration: 1 hourStop At: Yoshimizu Shrine, Yoshino-cho, Yoshino-gun, Nara Prefecture, KinkiWhen entering the old Shrine building you can see the lavishly decorated room where the Emperors of the southern court used to work. This place is also known as the site where the general of tragedy, Minamoto-no Yoshitsune, parted with his mistress, a story made into a famous Kabuki play. The general’s beautiful armor is displayed here.Duration: 1 hourStop At: Nakai ShunpudoVisit Nakai Shunpudo and observe the making of arrowroot cake. White arrowroot powder is transformed into a transparent sweet with a simple but rich taste. Eating sweets while overlooking the mountains of Yoshino will make your fatigue disapper.Afterwards we will walk back to Yoshino station, from where we’ll return to Osaka, Kyoto, or Nara on the 16:34 express.Duration: 1 hour