How to travel between Yoshino and Kyoto

By Kintetsu Railways

The one way trip by Kintetsu express trains from Kyoto to Yoshino takes about 130 minutes, costs 1230 yen and requires one transfer of trains at Kashiharajingu-mae Station. By limited express trains, the trip takes about 100 minutes, costs 2550 yen and also requires a transfer at Kashiharajingu-mae Station. Limited express trains require seat reservations and often book out during the busy 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 430 yen supplement one way.

By Japan Railways (JR)

The approach by JR trains is more expensive and complicated and should only be considered by Japan Rail Pass holders. The one way journey from Kyoto to Yoshino-guchi Station takes about two hours and requires up to three transfers of trains along the way at Nara, Oji and Takada Stations. At Yoshino-guchi Station, transfer to the Kintetsu Yoshino Line to Yoshino (30 minutes, 380 yen, not covered by the Japan Rail Pass).

Above fees and schedules are subject to change. For the current yen exchange rate, click here.

Orientation

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 season, 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.

Yoshino Ropeway

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 23 and May 6, 2019), 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 360 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.

A mini bus waiting in front of the upper ropeway station outside of the cherry blossom season