Together with many other individual sites, 8 ancient temples and shrines built in the mountain area of Yoshino are listed as a part of UNESCO World Heritage under the name of Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.
Mount Yoshino (alt. 455m) has been described for many centuries as one of Japan's most beautiful cherry blossom spots.
There are no direct services from either of Osaka's airports to Yoshino.
From Osaka-Kansai, there are 13 buses a day to Yamato-Yagi station in Kashihara, taking 1hr 20mins and ¥1950 (¥3700 return, valid for 14 days); you will then have to take a train to Kashihara-jingū-mae, and change again there for a train to Yoshino. Three morning buses to the airport and three evening buses to Kashihara stop at Takada-shi station, from where there are direct trains to Yoshino. If going through Yamato-Yagi is too much for you, the alternative is to take a JR Haruka or Airport Rapid to Tennōji and change there to a Kintetsu train from Abenobashi.
If coming from Osaka-Itami, the most convenient way is to take the bus to Abenobashi and change there to the train.
The main way to reach Yoshino is by Kintetsu. Direct trains run from Osaka Abenobashi, which is next to Tennōji Station on the JR and Subway lines; from there, Limited Expresses usually run hourly (taking 1hr 20mins and ¥1480) and Expresses half-hourly (taking 1hr 35mins and ¥970). If you want to use a Deluxe Seat on the Sakura Liner, or the Blue Symphony Sightseeing Limited Express (which runs twice a day, usually every day except Wednesday, and offers local specialities on board), this will cost ¥1690.
From Kyoto, you can take a Limited Express to Kashihara-jingū-mae and change there to a train to Yoshino; this will take at least 1hr 45mins and cost ¥2550. (There are no direct trains from Kyoto because the rail gauge is different beyond Kashihara-jingū-mae.) You can go the whole way on Express trains for only ¥1230, but this will take at least 2hrs 10mins. All these trains stop at Yamato-Saidaiji station in Nara, and Yamato-Yagi station in Kashihara; Yoshino is 1hr 10mins and ¥520 away from the latter. Going through Kyoto is the easiest way from Tokyo.
From Nagoya, the best way is to take a Kintetsu Limited Express to Yamato-Yagi, then any train to Kashihara-jingū-mae, then a train to Yoshino; allow at least 2hrs 50mins and ¥4000 (or ¥4290 if you take Limited Expresses all the way). Taking the Shinkansen from Nagoya to Kyoto is unlikely to be worth doing, unless you have a Japan Rail Pass.
The most convenient station for Yoshino on the JR network is Yoshinoguchi on the Wakayama Line. While this is served by a small number of direct trains between Gojō and Osaka (primarily Tennōji), the main service consists of Local trains between Nara and Wakayama (via Sakurai); during the day, taking JR services from Osaka to Yoshinoguchi will involve getting a Rapid train from Namba or Tennōji to Takada and changing there to a train towards Gojō or Wakayama. Getting from Yoshinoguchi to Yoshino takes 35 minutes and costs ¥380 (or 30 minutes and ¥890 if you take a Limited Express).
Travel on Kintetsu trains to Osaka, Kyoto and Nara is covered by the Kintetsu Rail Pass (2-day), which is available to Temporary Visitors for ¥2500 (¥1250 for children aged 6-11); the main Kintetsu Rail Pass and Kintetsu Rail Pass Plus (both 5-day) cover the entire Kintetsu network. These also allow discounts on admission fees for some local attractions. Note that these passes do not cover the extra fare for Limited Expresses.
- Kinbu-senji (金峯山寺)
- Nyoirinji (如意輪寺)
- Sakura-motobō (桜本坊)
- Yoshino Mimakuri Jinja (吉野水分神社)
- Kinbu Jinja (金峯神社)
- Yoshimizu Jinja (吉水神社)
Yoshino seems to be famous for sweets made from arrowroot (葛, くず). These sweets come in a few varieties, some looking no different from mochi, while others are more like transparent jelly. Many places offer shime saba (cured mackerel) sushi wrapped in persimmon leaves.
During the sakura blossoming season, the streets are lined with stands selling the typical Japanese street food: takoyaki, frankfurters, okonomiyaki. Many places offer oden, konnyaku in particular.