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The Yoshino mountains are famous all over Japan for its exceptional beauty and history. In 2004 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and has always been revered as one of the wonders of Japan.
Steeped in history and beauty, the mountains have featured in countless poems, prose, artworks, stories and mythical tales.
The mountain is home to a very pretty village, and a few beautiful temples and shrines. I recommend you take a visit and explore the area. Click here for more info on temples and Shrines of Yoshino.
You’ll need to get to Yoshino station (click here for google maps) which is on the Kitetsu line. Not more than an hour from Osaka and Kyoto (depending on which line and service you take). From Yoshino station you can take the cable car to the village or indeed walk.
The Yoshino Mountains has the main village area/ main high street where all the beautiful little shops, cafes and historical sites are. Being a mountain, it's hard to have an actual village on it. However, this little winding road that runs up into the mountain is its own community and is, in my opinion, one of the prettiest places in Japan. You start from the bottom and walk your way up the road for a few kilometres and on the way, you’ll find traditional Ryokans, some temples, really cute cafes and souvenir shops.
The main high street has some amazing cafes and restaurants that look out over the hills. Most of them serve traditional Japanese sweets like Kakigori (shaved ice) in the summer, or mochi parfaits and other sweet Japanese snacks, as well as donburi, udon and other main courses. Have a wander and see what you discover.
I have two particular favourites that I recommend. They are further on up the road. Have a wander up there and see what you find!
A really pretty little restaurant within interesting yet very basic decor. No frills, just really delicious organic and locally sourced food. The main dining area, if you could call that, is downstairs and is complete with a chopping block for wood, small fireplace, music and magazines laid out.
Right next door to Yamatoan is another very pretty little cafe/restaurant that looks out over the mountain. They serve delicious teishoku (set meal tray) with locally hunted game, Boar and Deer, and fish. Also, the parfaits here are amazing too. Come and enjoy the peaceful scenery and delicious food!
Locally caught fresh river fish baked with veggies, rice, wild boar and miso soup. Have you got food envy yet?