Minoo Park – 箕面公園
Osaka Prefecture is the second smallest subdivision of Japan, after Kagawa Pref.
Even so, in this narrow part of Japan, the bustling Osaka can still leave space for mountains and a lot of nature.
Today we introduce you Minoo Park, one of the most appreciated places to enjoy the colorful spectacle of the autumn foliage in Japan!
What’s special about Minoo Park?
Minoo Park is located in the omonimous city, a few kilometers from Osaka in the north of the prefecture. From Minoo Station you can reach, by a pleasant 3 km walk, the Minoo Waterfall, having a height of 33 meters. Along the way, besides enjoying the scenery and the nature, you can see even some temples and sanctuaries.
Indeed, the most worthful period to visit this park is autumn, when myriads of leaves turn into warm colours, giving your eyes an unforgettable spectacle! Along with the cherry blossom period, in spring, the autumn leaves is one of the favourite seasonal events by Japanese people.
During your walk you will also happen to see a little bug museum, quite visited by families with children. Actually in Japan, children go really crazy for insects and bugs, especially beetles and butterflies. About butterflies, there is a big cage inside, with a lot of butterflies flying around.
Close to the bug museum, there is a quite interesting temple, called Ryoan-ji. It is said that this temple is the original place of the “Tomikuji”, a kind of traditional lottery coming from the Edo period. You could buy a ticket with a number printed on it, and if your number was extracted, you won “happiness and good fortune”.
To conclude our introduction, there is a quite unique product in this park, that is the maple leaf tempura. Yes, it’s exactly what you think: a red maple leaf is lightly fried in the typical Japanese way. It has a very delicate fragrance, and we suggest you to try it just fried, still warm. Actually it is not unique to Minoo Park, you can find the fried maple leaf also in Takao, in Kyoto.
How to reach Minoo Park
Minoo, as already said, is located in the northern part of Osaka Prefecture, in Minoo City. We first need then to reach Osaka area.
・With Shinkansen and local train
Thanks to the speed of the Shinkansen bullet train, we can reach easily Shin-Osaka Station from Tokyo and other areas of Japan, and from here we can change on the Midosuji subway line (the red line) to Namba/Tennoji/Nakamozu direction, and disembark at Umeda.
Here, we need to change for the Hankyu Railways station, taking sa Takarazuka Line express train bound for Takarazuka, and getting off at Ishibashi Station. From here we need to change once again, on the Minoo Line, and disembark at the final stop, Minoo (in certain periods you can find a direct train from Umeda to Minoo, so in this case you don’t need to change at Ishibashi).
Just outside Minoo Station you will find the indication for the park.
・By subway and bus
If you want to reach Minoo Park from the center of Osaka, the Midosuji Line of Osaka Municipal Subway will be handy. Take a train bound for Senri-Chuo, and from here you can find a bus linking it to Minoo station, at the external stops (the bys frequency is about 1 per hour, with more buses in the morning and evening).
During my stay in Osaka, for about a year, I had many opportunities of visiting Minoo Park, so I could experience it during diffeent seasons of the year. The first time I came to Minoo Park was autumn, and so I could experience the most beautiful side of it. The coloured maple trees had great contrasts, with red, green and yellow textures. The suggested period to enjoy the park is November, especially the second half.
Right outside Minoo Station you can find a cute and cosy street, with many souvenir shops, little ryokans and restaurants. By walking on your way inside the street, at a certain point you will spot an imposing building with a panoramic elevator, with a nice view on Osaka, namely, the Minoo Hotel.
Keeping walking in the park, buildings will slowly disappear, and their place replaced by the woods. After some more minutes by foot, you will find Ryoan-ji Temple. This building was realized during Heian period, so more than 1000 years ago. Inside the main hall there is a very elaborated wood statue of Buddha, designed as national treasure.
From here you can also find on your way some Japanese monkey! These cute primates are actually considered the northernmost monkeys in the world! We also remember you not to feed them, and not to show them food or something else that would make them be too interested in your bag or clothes.
Nearly at the end of the walk you will find yourself in front of Minoo fall, a 33 meters high waterfall.
Surrounded by green and trees, you will feel relaxed and at peace. In addiction, in the little pond created by the flowing of the water, you may be able to see herons and other birds, relaxing in this magic environment.
Close to the waterfall, the main percourse will get many different directions leading to some hiking trails needing more preparation. An easy one is the one reaching a panoramic terrace, from which you can dominate Osaka, and even see Kobe and the Osaka Bay. Another one, quite longer, connects Minoo Park with the Katsuo-ji Temple. This is about 10 km long.
Minoo Park is located close to Osaka, and so it is a nice destination even just to spend half a day far away from the city. You can find also wooden tables and picnic area in the park!
And, moreover, Minoo Park is a great idea to spend enjoying the nature, an autumn day!