The Cherry Blossom Mountain,Yoshino 桜の吉野山

Yoshino Mountain covered with Wild Cherry Blossom.

 Precious Pink

 Cherry blossom is said “Sakura” in Japanese. Sakura was said just Hana ,means flower ,in ancient Japan. It means Sakura has been the most beloved flower in this country.After the massive earthquake hit north-east Japan March 11, blooming cherry blossoms in light pink color has seemed to be the icon of recovering from tragedy. Because we might find  life itself in that flowers  which bloom stunningly and fall down  just as quickly.

cherry blossom petals scattered on the all ground.

Beautiful Yoshino

“Whoa, Sakura soft ice cream ! Sakura rice cake!” Many sweets adopts design , color , taste of cherry blossom. As I love sweets actually, they catch my eyes , force me to stop in front of them when we walk along the street restaurants and souvenir shops line up. This is Yoshino mountain , famous for its 30,000 cherry trees.Yoshino town is in the middle of Nara prefecture. This area was called “Mi Yoshinoino”,means beautiful Yoshino, when Japan’s capital was Nara,because it was surrounded by deep nature and was an ideal resort for aristocracies fleeing from busy city.

 

Gate of Kinpusenji Temple where Zao-Gongen exits

Eccentric Monk and  Sakura

In 8th century , En-no-gyoja ,who was an eccentric Buddhism monk and the founder of “Shugendo” religion ,avoided pedantic Buddhism discipline in Nara and moved to Yoshino to practice intense ascetic in steep mountain range. Eventually he found his god “Zao-Gongen” and carved it in cherry tree. Started with this legend, people planted cherry trees on Yoshino Mountain as offering to their god. Since then people have visited here to  adore Zao-Gongen and plant young cherry trees. Historical figures visited to enjoy them such as Toyotomi Hideyoshi , one of the eminent samurai ruler in 16th century , took 5,000 followers to the mountain . Now  that this area is the north end of “Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range” registered as the world heritage in 2004 ,about 300,000 people come here a year.

Kudzu-kiri 550yen

Sweets Mountain

By the way, we ate some kind of sweets this day. Sakura soft ice cream,Sakura Yokan (sweetened and jellied paste bar including real cherry blossom petal), Kudzu-kiri(Japanese arrowroot starch cake dipped in melted brown sugar, Kudzu-mochi (Japanese arrowroot starch cake with soybean flour). Then finally  we bought Sakura rice cakes(pink colored rice cakes wrapped by real cherry leaf) as s souvenir for parents. If you come to Yoshino Mountain in cherry blossom season, Please try to eat these sweets !

MAP

http://www.pref.nara.jp/nara_e/dd_aspx_menuid-1310.htm

 

大切な桜色

かつて「花」といえば、それは桜を意味した。それだけこの国の人は桜を愛してきた。3月11日の巨大地震の後、花を開かせた桜は復興への象徴のように言われる。それは、美しく咲き誇り、あっという間に散ってしまう花に、日本人は人生そのものを見ているからかもしれない。

美しい吉野

「わ、桜ソフト! 桜もち!」桜のデザインや色、味を取り入れているスイーツがたくさんある。実は私は甘党なので、食堂や土産物屋が軒を連ねる通りを歩いていると、そんなスイーツにくぎ付けになる。ここは吉野山。約3万本の桜で有名な場所だ。吉野町は奈良県の中部に位置する町。飛鳥時代や奈良時代、吉野は「美吉野」と呼ばれた。深い自然に囲まれたこの地域は、都の貴族たちにとって忙しい毎日から逃れる絶好の保養地でもあった。

変わり者の僧と桜

8世紀、役行者という変わり者の僧侶がいた。彼は堅苦しい教義に縛られた奈良を避け、険しい山岳地帯で厳しい修行をするために吉野山地に入り、修験道の開祖となった。彼は修行の末、蔵王権現を感得した行者は桜の木で仏像を彫りあげたという。それ以降、人々は蔵王権現をあがめ、お供えとして桜の苗木を山に植えてきた。また1594年、徳川家康以下5千人の家臣を連れて入山した豊臣秀吉など、歴史上の人物たちも吉野山へ花見をにしに訪れてきた。現在この地域は2004年に世界遺産に登録された「紀伊山地の霊場と巡礼道」の北端にもあたり、年間30万人もの人が訪れる。

スイーツの山

ところで、この日私たちは、桜ソフトクリームに桜ようかん、葛きりに葛もちと、満腹になるまでスイーツを堪能し、最後に両親へのお土産に桜餅を買った。もし桜の季節に吉野山を訪れることがあれば、ぜひお試しください!

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About kojiyoshimoto

Born in 1979 and grew up in Nara.Working for a city hall in Nara prefecture after 3 years carrier as an editor of design magazine in Tokyo. Hope my posts you inspire to go abroad to Japan!
This entry was posted in food, nature, world heritage and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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