How to travel between Yoshino and Osaka
By Kintetsu Railway
The one way ride between Osaka Abenobashi Station (next to Tennoji Station) and Yoshino by direct express train takes about 90 minutes and cost 990 yen. By direct limited express train it takes 75 minutes and costs 1510 yen. Limited express trains require seat reservations and often book out during the cherry blossom season.
Note that the Kansai Thru Pass is not valid all the way to Yoshino, and that pass holders would need to pay a 440 yen supplement one way.
By Japan Railways (JR)
The one way journey from Osaka's Tennoji Station to Yoshino-guchi Station takes about one hour, costs 860 yen and requires a transfer of trains at Oji Station. At Yoshino-guchi Station, transfer to the Kintetsu Yoshino Line to Yoshino (30 minutes, 390 yen, not covered by the Japan Rail Pass).
Above fees and schedules are subject to change. For the current yen exchange rate, click here.
Yoshinoyama is divided into four areas: the Shimo Senbon (lower 1000 trees) at the base of the mountain, Naka Senbon (middle 1000 trees), Kami Senbon (upper 1000 trees) and Oku Senbon (inner 1000 trees) at the top of the mountain.
Most visitors arrive via Yoshino Station in the Shimo Senbon (lower) area of the mountain. The road up Yoshinoyama starts off with a relatively steep slope but flattens out as you enter the town.
The Yoshino Ropeway provides an alternative to walking up the first steep slope and drops you off at the entrance to the town. It costs 450 yen one way or 800 yen for a round trip. There are four departures per hour. Outside of the cherry blossom and autumn color seasons, the ropeway operates only from Friday to Monday and on national holidays, while a substitute bus operates from Tuesday to Thursday.
The town stretches into the Naka Senbon (middle) area which remains relatively flat and is home to most of Yoshino's famous temples and shrines, as well as many ryokan, restaurants and souvenir shops. There are also several small parks that provide pleasant settings for hanami activities.
In the Kami Senbon (upper) area, the town gradually ends and the mountain gets steeper again. The area offers many attractive picnic spots under the trees and nice views over the lower slopes of the mountain. It takes about one hour to walk from the upper ropeway station to Mikumari Shrine at the far end of the Kami Senbon area.
The Oku Senbon (inner) area is covered by forest, which mainly consists of trees other than cherry trees. Despite being located towards the top of the mountain, the Oku Senbon area offer almost no views of the cherry tree covered mountain slopes. It takes 90 minutes or more to walk from the upper ropeway station to Kinbu Shrine in the Oku Senbon area.
Many visitors explore Yoshinoyama entirely on foot. However, besides the above mentioned ropeway, there are also buses which can be used to help cut down on the walking distance or to save time:
Buses during the cherry blossom season:
During the cherry blossom season from late March to early May (March 28 and April 30, 2020), shuttle buses operate between Yoshino Station and the Naka Senbon area near Chikurin-in Temple. The buses depart 2-4 times per hour and cost 450 yen one way. From the Naka Senbon area near Chikurin-in Temple, mini buses operate further to the Oku Senbon area of Yoshinoyama (15 minutes, 400 yen one way, 1-2 buses/hour).
Buses outside the cherry blossom season:
Outside of the cherry blossom season, mini buses operate hourly from the upper ropeway station (Yoshinoyama Station) through the town into the Oku Senbon area. The fare depends on the distance traveled and ranges between 170 and 500 yen. The ride from the upper ropeway station to Oku Senbon takes twenty minutes. The buses do not operate in winter 2020/2021.