## Yoshino-jingu Shrine offers a taste of Japanese history in Nara
Yoshino-jingu Shrine was built as a tribute by the restored Emperor Meiji to Emperor Godaigo, who attempted to topple the shogunate regime in the 14th century. The serene atmosphere of its spacious precincts makes this shrine a worthwhile stop during any exploration of Yoshino.
Yoshino-jingu Shrine is near Yoshino Station in Nara.
From Tokyo, take the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line to Kyoto Station. The journey takes about two and a half hours. Change at Kyoto Station for the Kintetsu Line, which reaches Yoshino Station in about an hour and 45 minutes.
If you are coming from Osaka, take the Kintetsu Minami-Osaka Line from Abenohashi Station to Yoshino Station. The trip takes about an hour and 25 minutes.
Seated at the foot of Mt. Yoshino, Nara, Yoshino-jingu Shrine is a relatively new shrine constructed in 1899 at the instructions of Emperor Meiji. The shrine is dedicated to the 14th-century Emperor Godaigo, who fought a bitter battle against the shogunate, which had threatened to diminish the power of the imperial court.
Emperor Godaigo's success in toppling the Kamakura Shogunate was short-lived due to the rise of the Ashikaga warrior clan. Godaigo fled to Yoshino, setting up the so-called Southern Court to rival the Ashikaga-backed Northern Court established in Kyoto. He died shortly afterward. Emperor Godaigo is viewed as a tragic figure in Japan's history, and Emperor Meiji in particular admired him for his efforts to restore glory to the country's imperial house during the two-year period called the Kemmu Restoration.
The current shrine is a reconstruction from the 1930s, but the magnificent cypress structure is harmonious with its forested surroundings, offering a peaceful sanctuary. The shrine is built facing the northerly direction of Kyoto, referencing Emperor Godaigo's long-held wish to return there to take up his rightful place at the seat of imperial power.
From Yoshino-jingu, it is convenient to visit the other sites that make up the World Heritage area of Yoshino, including Kinpusen-ji Temple, the center of the Shugendo religion, and Yoshimizujinja Shrine. Emperor Godaigo's mausoleum is also nearby.