- Posted April 17, 2014 by
Yoshino Hana Eshiki on Mt. Yoshino in Nara!
On April 12th of this year a special matsuri was held on Mount Yoshino in Nara. It is called the “Yoshino Hana Eshiki” (吉野花会式) procession. The participants are the famous Shugendō (修験道) ascetic mountain monks. They made their way from the Sakuramotobō (櫻本坊) to the Zaōdō hall of the Kimpusen-ji temple for the final climax of this matsuri. A dance by the oni odori (鬼踊) and the burning of a large pile wood and pine branches. After this they trow mochi kubari (餅配り) into the crowd.
A lot of people had come this day to witness the matsuri and enjoy the fine spring weather and cherry blossoms. Walking the small roads and visiting the different temples and shrines was a wonderful experience. The sakura make everything look much more beautiful. I was surprised by the sheer multitude that was there. I have never seen that many people attending a special event as this. There where long waiting lines to either go up or down the mountain.
This is what Wikipedia says: Mount Yoshino (吉野山) is a mountain located in the town of Yoshino in Yoshino District, Nara Prefecture, Japan. In 2004, It was designated as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.
Mt. Yoshino (吉野山) in Nara, is famous for its many thousands of sakura trees. These flowering specimen trees were planted in four groves at different altitudes, in part so that the famed trees would come into bloom at different times of the spring. A 1714 account explained that, on their climb to the top, travellers would be able to enjoy the lower 1,000 cherry trees at the base, the middle 1,000 on the way, the upper 1,000 toward the top, and the 1,000 in the precincts of the inner shrine at the top.”