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An autumn leaves go to to Minoo Park and Falls in Osaka

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Autumn leaves at Minoo Park in Osaka

Ask an area the place the very best place is for autumn color in Osaka and also you’re more likely to hear ‘Minoo Park’.  It’s a brief prepare trip from the town into the suburbs however effectively value it for a nature escape and among the finest leaf colour round.  Whereas the world is absolutely standard with locals it’s slightly off the vacationer path so it makes a welcome respite from the busy metropolis.

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Minoo is most identified for it’s colourful fall foliage however this might be a stunning spot to go to at any time of 12 months in case you have a half day or extra out there.  The stroll from the prepare station alongside the river by means of the valley and as much as the Minoo Waterfall is about three km and it’s an excellent simple strolling path all the best way.

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To get to Minoo Park you journey from Umeda to Minoo station utilizing the Hankyu Railway.  You are taking two trains, the primary to Ishibashi which is a 15 minute journey on the Takarazuka line then swap to the Minoo line for a further 5 minutes.  With a few minutes in between to alter trains, it’ll take round 25 minutes all up.  Like most guests I keep away from transfers the place attainable however this was very simple and didn’t actually add any complexity, making the change in a quieter interchange station does assist.  The complete journey (a technique) prices Y270 so it’s very cheap.

Hankyu Railway

Hankyu is a personal railway that connects Osaka to locations like Kyoto and Kobe offering entry to another locations alongside the best way.  Minoo Park for instance is absolutely easy with Hankyu Railways however not a lot with JR.  You do want to make use of use a number of railway and subway techniques in Japan which is why we all the time use an IC card such because the PASMO, ICOCA or SUICA when travelling right here.  You prime them up with money then simply contact on and off on the numerous stations and transport choices.  All of them work the identical throughout the nation now and keep away from the necessity to take care of particular person tickets.  We’ve had ours for eight years now and simply prime them up when we have to, alternatively in case you don’t plan on travelling again to Japan sooner or later you will get the small challenge charge and any steadiness refunded earlier than you permit.

Historical past of Minoo Park

Momoji in Minoo Park

The complete identify for the recreation space is Meiji-no-mori Mino Quasi-national Park and it was established in 1967 together with a equally named park in Takao in Tokyo. They have been established as a part of the centennial celebrations to commemorate Emperor Meiji’s  accession to the throne.  Previous to that it was designated as an Osaka Prefecture Park in 1898 which is when it was opened to the general public.

The park is 963 hectares in measurement and is critical for its Mesozoic Period (assume whereas dinosaurs nonetheless roamed the earth) geological formations and intensive wildlife, birds and bugs.  This is likely one of the locations in shut proximity to a serious metropolis the place you might even see wild monkeys (Japanese Macaque) so preserve your eyes open within the bushes particularly on the quieter paths.  We weren’t fortunate sufficient to identify one right here ourselves however they’re seen comparatively ceaselessly.

Exploring Minoo Park

From the station take the slim street main away up the hill, that is known as the ‘Falls Path” and takes you into Minoo Park and finally to Minoo Falls on foot.  We propose selecting up drinks, snacks or picnic lunch choices to hold with you in your hike whilst you’re nonetheless within the metropolis.  Whereas there are some outlets and restaurant choices they’re very restricted when you get into the park itself and there weren’t as many selections as we anticipated at Minoo station.

Road to Minoo Park

The slim street from the station to the park has a lot of small outlets and eateries alongside it.  We did spot somebody pulling a recent batch of chestnuts from the strain roaster as we handed so stopped to purchase a bag to eat on our stroll.  When you haven’t had chestnuts earlier than they’re a tree grown nut however should be cooked to eat them.  They then have a dense however fluffy texture and a taste that’s just like a candy potato or a New Zealand yam. They’re scrumptious and a very good snack for mountaineering as a result of they’re filling and as a low-glycemic carb they assist preserve steady power ranges.

Shotengu Saikoji Temple

Within the early part the place the outlets are there’s a double again with a street that leads uphill again within the route you could have come from.  It’s a few 5 minute stroll up right here to an area temple known as Shotengu Saikoji.  Stroll up the steps to enter the temple.  It’s solely small however very peaceable and calm they usually’ve supplied a small coated seating space.  Set beneath all the coloured leaves it’s very fairly.

Shotengu Saikoji Temple in Minoo Park

Shotengu Saikoji Temple in Minoo Park

We have been the one ones within the temple grounds within the mid morning however I seen the woman within the workplace look out and smile at me.  I’m guessing this temple is commonly neglected by international guests on the best way to the park.  We loved it so much so I made a decision so as to add the temples seal to my shuinchou (朱印帳).  I don’t get it accomplished as usually as I did on our early journeys however it’s the one bodily factor I recurrently acquire on my travels right here and I nonetheless like to hold it and add particular recollections.

Observe the river by means of the valley

You observe the river up by means of the valley on a sealed path so it’s inconceivable to take a improper flip.  Alongside the best way you’ll cross Ryokan, temples, shrines and considerably unexpectedly, an insect museum.

Minoo Park

As we entered the park itself there’s a stream effervescent by means of to affix the river, a seated space and bathroom amenities.  I’d counsel making use of them as they’re the final ones you will notice for whereas they usually’re clear and effectively stored as public loos typically are in Japan.  The seats have been snug and we determined to utilize them to eat our chestnuts whereas they have been nonetheless good and scorching from the oven.  That is when they’re at their best possible.

Creek in Minoo Park
The creek we stopped by for our chestnut picnic.
Roasted chestnuts
Cracking open our chestnuts

Views over Minoo

Bridge in Minoo Park
Be careful for the quick detours

Round half approach alongside the trail you’ll see a bridge cross the river to your proper.  This can be a quick detour if you wish to take it that provides good views over the Minoo Valley and thru to the town skyscrapers on a transparent day.  The trail is partially unsealed on this aspect and slightly steeper however nonetheless simple strolling except it’s very moist and muddy.

Minooyama Ryuanji temple

Ryuanji temple in Minoo Park

Essentially the most well-known temple within the space is Ryuan-ji with a historical past courting again to the seventh century when it was based in 658 by the ascetic monk En no Gyoja though at the moment the temple was often known as Minoo-dera,  Upon gaining enlightenment on the positioning the monk carved a statue of Benzaiten regarded as the primary picture created of her likeness in Japan.  A statue of the goddess could be seen up the steps in the direction of the again of the temple.

Walking in Minoo Park

The temple can be related to luck and it’s mentioned the origin of the lottery began right here 1000 years in the past.   It’s not a big temple however is a reasonably and serene spot to spend a while about half approach between the station and the falls.

Momoji Tempura

Momoji Tempura

One other meals that’s thought-about a specialty in Minoo is  tempura maple leaves.  Just like the chestnuts you ideally need to discover a restaurant or small store that’s cooking them recent near while you need to eat them, they’re at their finest when recent and crispy.  Whereas there’s a leaf contained in the tempura they actually don’t have a taste from it, you style the sunshine and crispy tempura batter principally however it’s an fascinating native delicacy to check out whilst you’re right here.

We purchased ours from the restaurant on the prime not removed from the falls after we stopped to purchase a drink from the merchandising machines.   We’d additionally seen the tempura leaves on the market on the outlets and eating places nearer to the station earlier within the day so there are a number of locations to purchase them domestically though I’ve not seen them anyplace else.

Minoo Waterfall

Sadly at this level we got here to a gated off part of the observe and located that the ultimate quick distance all the way down to the falls viewing space was closed following injury to the observe and infrastructure throughout a late summer season storm in 2017.  (Please see the data field on the backside of the web page for updates on its reopening)

I’m certain we might have identified of the closure earlier if we’d been in a position to learn Japanese as there have been a number of momentary model indicators close to the beginning and on the temple.  We may hear the crashing water from right here however sadly weren’t fairly in a position to see it.  By all accounts it’s very fairly and given the beautiful fall colour we’d loved on the best way up I’m certain it might have been fairly spectacular that day.  Whereas it was disappointing to not see the waterfall after our stroll I might nonetheless have chosen to do it even when we’d identified they have been closed.  We completely loved our day.

With nowhere additional to go we headed again down and located a desk beside some smaller cascade falls to take pleasure in our tempura and drinks.  The return stroll is down the identical path however with a lot to see it was simply as fascinating on the best way again.  The afternoon gentle was maybe slightly higher for having fun with the leaf colour than the tough morning solar though the digital camera did battle with the deep shadows and vibrant patches.

Ashiyu Foot bathtub

Ashiyu Foot Onsen

We’d seen the general public foot onsen on the best way to the park and hadn’t paid an excessive amount of consideration however after all of the strolling and with the afternoons temperature beginning to drop off a bit it grabbed out consideration on the best way again down.  It’s positioned after you permit the park and never very removed from the station in your proper hand aspect on the best way again.  We took a couple of minutes to sit down and soak our toes within the scorching spring bathtub and it was an excellent enjoyable expertise.

I conveniently had a few small hand towels in our bag so we may dry our toes earlier than placing our footwear again on and persevering with again to the town.  I often carry a small towel in my day bag in Japan to make use of for our drying palms after shrine cleaning and since public loos though very clear not often have hand towels or dryers in Japan.

Ideas for guests

The approach to Minoo Park

  • When translated to English Minoo is spelt variously as Minoo, Minoh, Mino-o and Mino. That is helpful to know if that you must lookup something on-line corresponding to Google maps which makes use of all the varied spellings for various locations.
  • In case you are on the lookout for an onsen expertise in Osaka the Minoo Onsen Spa Gardens gives the choice in one of many nicest settings.  It’s co-located with Minoo Kanko Lodge however you need to use the amenities as a day customer which embrace segregated bathing and personal pool choices. Their web site is in Japanese however yow will discover their hours and prices here.
  • When you don’t desire a full onsen then a soak within the foot onsen on the best way again to the prepare station is a superb solution to refresh drained toes.
  • Enable between 45 minutes and an hour to stroll a technique from the station to the falls, enable extra time for detours and to discover the temples and sights alongside the best way.  The stroll is uphill on the best way to the falls however is paved and never overly steep.

The ultimate part of the stroll to the falls closed late 2017 because of injury attributable to a storm.  As of February 2018 a detour permits entry to the falls once more and the total observe is anticipated to reopen October 2018 in time for the leaf viewing season.

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Planning a trip to explore Minoo Park
Planning a trip to explore Minoo Park

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