Mino is a small city to the north of Osaka known as a hotspot for people looking to enjoy the scenic beauty and striking colors of autumn in Osaka. The city includes popular fall foliage viewing spots, including Mino Park and Mino Falls. Other than the maples, this area is known for 980 different species of flora, as well as 3,000 different insect species, making Mino a place to escape into nature, away from all of the noise pollution of a busy city life. Instead, you can surround yourself in the natural world of Japan. This is only a hint of what Mino has to offer.
Follow the Path toward the Falls
Outside of Mino Station, the path toward the falls is easy to find. Make sure to bring comfortable walking shoes, since the 3km hike takes roughly 45 minutes to complete if walking at a stroll. I highly recommended taking your time with the hike to fully enjoy the beauty of the fall season.
During the hike you will see stunning scenery, as well as Japanese-style homes and shops. They make you feel like you’re walking through an old yet lively Japanese town, filled with both locals and tourists. Local shops and food stands line the streets which sell fruit, Mino craft beer, souvenirs and much more.
The path continues through the town and uphill. The further you walk, the greater diversity in foliage colors you’ll find. During the fall months, families, couples, and friends come on this hike to see the crimson and gold leaves sets against natural greenery. The maple leaves are not only a feast for the eyes, but quite a delicacy here in Mino. Yes, you can eat them.
They are called momiji tempura, which is a maple leaf fried lightly in batter. It is quite a popular treat. Hisakuni Kousendo sells these items as well as Japanese food products including manju, senbei, soba and much more. While it is best served warm and fresh out of the oil, you can take packaged momiji tempura home to share with your family. One would assume the crunchy and slightly sweet snack would taste like maple syrup, but it is quite different and difficult to describe. I’ll leave it for you to experience first-hand. Eating momiji tempura in the midst of falling leaves will allow you to enjoy the ambiance of autumn.
Past the shops and vendors, and through the woods, there is Ryuanji Temple, where you can stop to make a coin offering and pray.
However, right in front of the temple is a park where families can enjoy picnics and outdoor activities with their children. It is quite a lively scene. Proceeding to the top of the park, there is a rest area where you can buy refreshments, food and snacks. Although the path was blocked when I visited due to damage by a recent typhoon, there were still many things to see and do in Mino. Mino Park provides a place where you can relax in nature by yourself, with a partner, or with family and friends. Enjoy a Mino Indian Pale Ale under the falling maple leaves while eating a fried-battered maple leaf. It is a dream afternoon that can become a reality quite easily here in Mino Park.
Mino Park can be easliy accessed in 25 minutes by taking the Hankyu Line from Hankyu Umeda Station and transferring at Ishibashi to a train bound for Mino Station. It will cost 270 yen one way. In peak seasons, you can follow the crowds flocking toward Mino Falls and experience first-hand the scenic beauty of Osaka.
From a small city of Hawaii now living in my favorite city Osaka for 3 years, Chris is now touring Japan and seeking for life's answers through his travels. Come follow him on his adventures!