Yoshinoyama

We had a great time in Kyoto, but today was the day we were moving to Osaka. We decided to go to Mt. Yoshino, or Yoshinoyama, which is supposed to be really beautiful during the cherry blossom season. It was about 2 hours from either Kyoto or Osaka, so instead of making it a day trip from either of those cities, we decided to go there today from Kyoto and go to Osaka after that. The train ride for such a long journey was also  pricey – around 20k yen or more. If you take the express train from Kyoto station instead of the limited express, you can save 1000 yen. But the express doesn’t come often.

screenshot_20180329-1205262We stopped at our transit station Kashiharajingu-Mae to have a lunch at a diner in the station. There was a cheap and wide variety of Japanese noodles and rice dishes available; a good stopover for a long trip down. It had also just opened at 11:30am — restaurants really don’t open early here! We ate oyakodon again. It was satisfactory, but with the previous day’s oyakodon to compare to, it was obvious that yesterday’s oyakodon was of a higher standard; small touches like a fluffier egg, softer chicken, and subtly better rice.

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We also made sure to finish our lunch in time for the next  express train timing. If you miss it, you’ll have to take a costlier or more time-consuming line.

It’s convenient to travel to tourist destinations in Japan between accommodations, because they have lockers at train stations (300-600 yen) that can easily fit bags of carry-on dimensions. Wei Chiang and I put our bags in these lockers at Yoshino Station when we arrived, and we then took the local shuttle bus to Yoshinoyama itself. You have to pay for the shuttle bus (360 yen per person), but it does save you some time and effort walking uphill on the road towards the peak. However they are not very frequent (30 min between each timing), so you sometimes end up saving time if you just walk instead of waiting for the next bus.

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Schedule table for one of the shuttle buses

The shuttle bus dropped us off further up the mountain, and we decided to walk up the rest of the way, although another shuttle bus upwards was also available. It’s a somewhat uphill hike, but the views just kept getting better and better as we walked up. Some early cherry blossoms were in bloom, but it was not peak sakura yet, and the place was fairly empty and peaceful. But even though full bloom had not occurred yet, it was still beautiful. We ate some packed food we brought on some picnic benches under cherry trees, enjoying the beauty and the serenity.

At Hanayagura view at the top, my photos of the valley below begin to take on a painting-like, Impressionistic quality.

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After gazing at the lovely view for about half an hour, we slowly made our way down by foot all the way to Yoshino station, where we retrieved our bags from the lockers and made our train journey to Osaka.

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