The ancient city of Nara in the Kinki region is less than an hour away from both Osaka and Kyoto. A past capital, there are many precious historical buildings in this area. Indeed, Nara is said to have the highest number of buildings designated as national treasures in Japan. At the same time, the natural environment is colorful too. Although there is no ocean, many steep mountains tower over the region’s central and southern parts, with numerous temples and shrines sitting quietly among them. Come spring, Mount Yoshino, which is representative of Nara and is designated as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is awash in cherry blossoms, and many people flock to see them.
In 2021 I visited Nara just when the news was reporting that Mount Yoshino’s sakura were in full blossom.