The setting of many historical dramas
With stunning vista of cherry blossoms
Mt. Yoshino in the south of Nara is famous for cherry blossom viewing. Yoshimizu Shrine is situated in this magnificent scene. Originally it was a monastery called Kissui-in for practitioners of Shugen-do in the mountain. However, with the issuance of the Ordinance Distinguishing Shinto and Buddhism in the last half of the 19th century during the Meiji Period, the monastery was changed to a shrine dedicated to Emperor Godaigo.
Its gate is small and the precinct is not wide but the shrine is famous for various dramas involving many important historical figures who appear in school textbooks of Japanese history. The best known historical fact is that this was the imperial residence of the Southern Court during the period of the Southern and Northern Courts (1336-1392). Emperor Godaigo who fled from Kyoto used the shrine as his temporary palace and established Yoshino Court.
This is also the place where Toyotomi Hideyoshi who unified the country held a big cherry blossom viewing party and the hiding place of Minamoto no Yoshitsune fleeing from his pursuers. This is why the shrine houses more than 120 treasures and is called a treasure house of Important Cultural Properties. The shrine is also registered as a World Heritage Site. Ascend a steep hill before the shrine and you will reach a spot commanding a panoramic view of cherry blossom. The spot is called "1000 trees at one view" at which Tohotomi Hideyoshi is said to have gamboled like a child.
Address: Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-cho, Nara
Directions: (Train) A 15-minute walk from Yoshinoyama Station on the Yoshino Omine Ropeway (one hour and 30 minutes from Shin-Osaka). (Car) One hour from Hari Interchange on the Meihan Kokudo.