Mount Yoshino: Discover Japanese Sake on a Journey through the Kansai Area with Kintetsu Railway
Taking a single breath atop Mount Yoshino is an experience worth visiting in and of itself.
It’s a 1 hour and 15 minute Kintetsu Express train ride away making it perfect for a quick adventure in the spur of the moment. Exploring the town you’ll find temples, shrines, stores, and more amazing locations to discover.
In fact, there’re so many amazing places to check out that you’ll be stuck making decisions. However, it’s the perfect place to take it at your own pace and make your own discoveries through exploration.
In this article, we’re going to be introducing Mount Yoshino, located in Nara, which will surely purify both your heart and soul.
Without further ado, let’s head out to the Historic World Heritage Site; Mount Yoshino, and feel its holy breeze!
⭐ Check out this video which was shot on-site so you’ll feel like you were actually there with us!
Take Home the Wisdom of Nara’s Ancestors… and some Sushi!
Since Nara is not located near any ocean, seafood is a rarity and also a treat. And because there are no nearby ocean, a special local food culture is born!
This is made by slicing some salted mackerel thinly, placing it over some rice, the wrapping it in Japanese persimmon leaves to avoid it from drying out. Place the wrapped sushi in a wooden box and you’ve got yourself a sushi bento box!
What was originally born as a food preservation method for the summer months has now made its way to being one of the local foods that represent Nara.
At Kakinohasushi Hyoutarou, you’re able to order this classical flavor that has been passed down for generations as a takeout meal.
While simple, it’s all very profound. What you’ll eat is fish so soft it’ll melt in your mouth along with a tint of delicious saltiness. Aside from that, you’re sure to learn some local knowledge and wisdom while you do so.
These cooks take salmon and mackerel caught in local Japanese seas, coat them in salt, place them on a bed of Japanese rice, and finally wrap them with Japanese permission leaves which have antibacterial and antiviral properties.
It’s a product born from an era when refrigerators didn’t exist.
📍 Kakinohasushi Hyoutaro
- Address：429 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara
- Business Hours：09:00～16:00（Store will close once all products sold）
- Holidays：Monday（the following business day in the event that Monday is a public holiday）
- Access：10-minute walk from Yoshinoyama Ropeway Yoshinoyama (Sanjo) Station
Sour Sake? Nope! It’s Sake with Sourness.
@ Miyoshino Sake Brewery
Yoshino’s topography hasn’t birthed just the aforementioned food. We were also made aware of a cellar which has been gaining attention recently, knowing that we needed to check it out for ourselves, we headed to Miyoshino Sake Brewery.
Miyoshino Sake Brewery which opened its doors in 1912, is a rare sight even in the sake brewing industry. Due to Yoshino’s high temperature and humidity, yeast fungus thrives allowing for rice from Nara Prefecture to be extremely flavorful.
The brewery here decided to make use of the sourness and make it a characteristic of the brew instead of controlling it. It’s an all-round unusual yet astounding setup!
While we’re talking about sourness in general, it’s not like the sake itself is purely sour, instead it’s a great balance of sweet and sour.
The strength of the majority of the sake on sale here is between 16-18, with their most well-known sake “Hanatomoe” representing their brand.
The design depicts the expansion of mountain cherry blossoms, with the thoughts that similar to each and every tree on the mountain, each bottle is delivered to the customer with love and compassion.
At the brewery store, you’re also able to try around 10 types of this sake. However be careful, taste this delicious sake just once and you might not be able to hold yourself back from buying a full bottle!
Some of the key components in brewing sake are the caskets and pales used, all of which specifically use Yoshino Cedar tree wood. Some of the merits include being resistant to leaks as well as having great seal ability.
📍 Miyoshino Sake Brewery
- Address：1238-1 Muda, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara
- Business Hours：09:00〜17:00
- Holidays：New Year’s Period（may have shortened business hours）
- Access：10-minute walk from Kintetsu Muda Station
Relaxing at a 100-Year-Old Japanese Inn Located on Mount Yoshino
It’s always exciting to be able to wind down in a beautiful Japanese inn after a busy day.
The Scenic Inn Hounkan we found in Yoshino was our choice for this trip, and we were much looking forward to it since the beginning of our journey!
This Japanese inn which has been open since the year 1754 did not disappoint.
The large bathroom presents a spectacular view of both Naka Sebon and Kami Senbon parks on Mount Yoshino. The dinner you’ll be served at the end of the day uses chicken raised in Nara Prefecture which is boiled then served with dipping sauce.
They also serve seasonal Kaiseki (sophisticated traditional Japanese cuisine brought in courses).
When trying the flavors of Japan’s seasons, it’s not the time to worry about calories.
Above all else, these dishes go extremely well with Japanese Sake! It’s time to gather our strength for tomorrow and fill our stomachs!
📍 Scenic Inn Hounkan
- Address：2340 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara
- Access：Free Transit Bus Available from Kintetsu Yoshino Station Naka Sebon and Kami Senbon Entrance.
Enjoy Picturesque Landscapes
@Mount Yoshino’s World Heritage Sites
Last night we treated our stomachs, today we’re treating our eyes!
The sublime morning sun will cleanse your body and mind as you see the amazing view from Hanayagura Observatory.
You can even see Osaka and the mountains that surround it as if you are in VIP seats. If you stand on top and look down, it almost feels as if you can reach your hand out and touch Kami Senbon and Naka Senbon trees.
This amazing landscape is the perfect sight to wake up to!
This sight is one eye-witness better than many hearsays. It’s perfect as a panoramic wallpaper for your mobile phone, to gloat on your Instagram stories, or pretty much anything else you can think of.
If you visit when the cherry blossom trees are blossoming it’s said to be an even greater sight, so we’ll make sure to return during spring time.
📍 Hanayagura Observatory
- Address：1711 Yoshinoyama, Yoshino, Yoshino District, Nara
There are still many more spots to check out on Mount Yoshino. You’ll find Chikurin-in Gumpoen where the Showa Emperor and Empress stayed, Sakuramotobou which has cherry blossom trees that are over 1,300 years old, the National Treasure and World Heritage Kinpusenji Temple, and more!
The final location we visited here is Nyoirinji Temple, located halfway up Mount Yoshino. It was built between the year 901 and 923 by the order of Emperor Go-Daigo and is said to house a god that helps with traffic safety. It also has many treasures and relics from the Kamakura period (1185-1333 CE) that you can check out.
Ending the Adventure with the Blue Sightseeing Limited Express
While the fun of the recent Mount Yoshino journey is still lingering, the next fun adventure is just around the corner.
Heading home, take a ride on the Blue Symphony, an Express Sightseeing train where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of Nara and Osaka during your trip home!
At the onboard sales counter you’re able to purchase some seasonal and original cakes, persimmon sweet sets, macarons, and more!
There’re even some local sake from Nara breweries and craft beer available!
Make sure to take your transport pass home with you to commemorate your trip!
While blue is often called the color of melancholy, the blue of the Blue Symphony will warm your heart with the memories you made.
📍 Blue Symphony
- Route：Osaka Abenohashi Station〜Yoshino Station
- Fare：Adult ¥730, Infant ¥370（Including Express Fees & Special Carriage Fees）
※A normal ticket alongside the above ticket is required to ride. (One-way Ticket from Osaka Abenohashi Station 〜 Yoshino Station: Adult: ¥990 / Infant ¥500)
- Service Dates：basically every day (apart from Wednesday)
Great Value Ticket to Travel Yoshino Town and Mount Yoshino
The KINTETSU RAIL PASS 2DAY allows you to not only ride the Kintetsu Railway which has access to Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara, but it also allows you to ride Nara’s prefectural buses (designated routes only) for 2 days!
Some benefits are available for various facilities around these areas too!
There are many more areas you can visit using the Kintetsu Railway that weren’t introduced in this article such as Nara Park, Tōdai-ji Temple, Kasuga Taisha Shrine, and more!