Mt. Yoshino (Nara Prefecture of Japan) is the most renowned place for the magnificent cherry blossoms in Japan.
Mt. Yoshino is also one of the most important places of mountain worship in Japan, where the ascetic practices of Shugendo (Japanese mountain asceticism-shamanism incorporating Shinto and esoteric Buddhism) have been continuously inherited from the remote past.
Kinpusen-ji temple is located in the center of this sacred mountain area. This old temple is said to have founded by En no Gyoja (a legendary holy man known for his practice of mountain asceticism during the second half of the 7th century).
For over a thousand years, numberless "Yama-zakura" cherry trees have continued to be planted in this area as the sacred trees dedicated to Zao Gongen which is the principal image of Kinpusen-ji temple and the highest object of worship in Shugendo.
In 2004, Mt. Yoshino was designated as a part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range."