Japan is a country that is blessed with so many natural views. It is here that you can see all sides of nature. You can see the beauty of autumn through the trees that change with the season. You can also see the beauty of spring as the cherry blossoms fully bloom. You can see the beauty of the winter through the snow-capped mountains and you can enjoy the beauty of summer through the several wonderful beaches that can be found here as well. With this being said, if you are looking for a breathtaking place to hike or just bask in nature and you prefer the view that showcases the colors of autumn, you should definitely make time to visit the Minoo Park of Osaka.
An Overview of the Minoo Park and What You Can Expect to See during Summer, Spring, Winter, and Fall
In the Osaka Prefecture, you can find a valley of forests called the Minoo Park. This park is also spelled as Mino Park or Minoh Park so if you see these kinds of spelling, be assured that it is still talking about the Minoo Park. It is one of the oldest parks that exist in Japan and it is considered to be one of the most beautiful places to go to in the Kansai Region because of all the nature you can see here as well as the temples and gardens that can be found here too.
Aside from this place being considered as an escape from the concrete jungle of the main cities, this place is relaxing because of the limited crowds that go here. This is not to say that this park isn’t popular. It just so happened that Osaka is not known for its natural scenic views so this park is usually overlooked by tourists. This comes as great news for those who love nature but not the huge crowds that disturb the peace of the place in a way because since it is frequently overlooked, those who actually know of this park and its beauty get to bask at it in all the serenity they would want.
Despite this park being one of the oldest in Japan, it is still very well maintained by the people operating it. This can be seen with how easily people are able to move despite the snow the cold winter brings. During the summer, you get to be surrounded by the greenest trees that are so calming to the eyes and as autumn comes, the green of the maple trees slowly turn into the red and golden maple leaves that people go crazy for. It is a common notion that the best time to see the autumn colors in this park would be in late November.
The Many Attractions Found in Minoo Park of Osaka, Japan
This park is quite a vast one. It is large enough for people to hike in and as they hike, they can see and enjoy the many attractions to be found here along the way up. The first things you might see are the traditional Japanese homes that can be found at the beginning of the walk. These houses are not exhibits so you cannot enter then but some of these houses have converted themselves into restaurants that serve traditional Japanese food to the tourists and locals of this area. Its location is perfect because people will want to fuel up on food before going on their hike.
As you continue on with your hike, you will pass the Minoo Park Insect Pavilion. This establishment showcases up to 6000 types of insects that can be found in the Osaka forests as well as anywhere else in Japan. This pavilion is open from 10 AM to 5 PM and it is the perfect distraction for the kids who might be getting tired of walking upwards for the hike. Entry to this place will only cost you 270 yen.
There is also a place here that has been used for meditation since the Asuka Era, which was from the year of 592 until the year of 710. It is popularly considered to be the main attraction of the park and it is called the Minoo Waterfall. This fall stands 33 meters high with a water flow that is 5 meters wide. Seeing this place will instantly make it clear why this place is perfect for meditation because of the peace and beauty that can be experienced by simply being in this part of the park.
It would take about 45 minutes to an hour to get to the waterfall from the station. That distance is more or less 3 kilometers and that length is made up of stone paths and narrow roads. This makes the hike up a little easier because there is a designated path to walk on but the distance can make some tourists feel iffy about it. Nevertheless, no one has ever complained about the hike after they have seen the waterfall and this just goes to show how beautiful the Minoo Waterfall is. If it can cure the mouth of an irritated and tired person, you know it has to be something special. In this portion of the hike, you may even have encounters with animals like monkeys and deer so keep an eye out for these creatures.
Farther into the hike, you will stumble upon another historical place in Japan. This place is called the Ryuanji Temple and it has existed in Japan since the year of 658. Its reputation states that it is the spiritual birthplace of the lottery which is why the people that go here usually pray for things that involve luck and good fortune. You should also know that it is free so it wouldn’t hurt to pass by if you have the time and interest to do so.
If temples are to your liking, you’ll be happy to know that there is a temple to be found on this hike. It is the Katsouki Temple and it has existed in Japan for over 1200 years. It is a Buddhist complex which explains why this temple is huge. Aside from its size, this place is known for the Daruma dolls that they display all throughout the temple. If you want to check this place out directly, it should be helpful to know that it is located by the north-east entrance of the Minoo Park.
After that long hike, you’ll want to rest and relax your feet from all the walking that you just did. Fortunately, the Minoo Park has a free facility intended for this purpose. It is a foot bath that is found by 5 minutes from the entrance of the park. If that foot bath isn’t enough, you can also go to the hot spring or onsen right beside the park. You may also want to check of the Minoo Kanko Hotel if you are looking for some rest and relaxation after the exercise because, in this hotel, you can get that pampering in their large outdoor bath that overlooked the city. It also has a sauna and a vast selection of indoor baths at different temperatures. The entrance fee for this hotel is at 1000 yen and considering all you can avail off, it’s quite a great deal.
The Operating Hours of Minoo Park As well As a Map on How to Get There If You Are Coming From Places like the Osaka Castle
The public transportation of Japan is one of the best in the world. They created a system that allows anybody to get anywhere they wanted in Japan in a matter of minutes to hours. With this said, all you need to do is find the most efficient route for you to get to the Minoo Station whether you are coming from the airport in Tokyo or Kyoto, or if you are coming from the Osaka Castle. The route usually taken by travelers to this place though is the route using the Hankyu Railway from downtown Osaka.
This route entails you to get on the Hankyu Takarazuka Line from the Umeda Station to reach the Ishibashi station. Once you get there, you will have to take the Hankyu Minoh Line until the end and that should bring you to the Minoo Station. This complete trip would cost you about 270 yen and would take you 25 minutes in total. From this station, it is a 10-minute walk to the start of the trail for the hike to the park. Note that the JR Pass does not cover this route so bring the money needed to pay for the tickets to these train rides.
You may also take the bus if you prefer that. Taking the bus means that you’ll have to get to the Osaka subway first. From there, you are to go to the Senri-Chuo Station which is on the Midosuji Line. When you reach the station, all you need to do is ride either a number 19 bus or a number 20 bus to get to the Minoo Station. From the Osaka subway, this complete trip would take 20 minutes and would cost you only 210 yen. Of course, you will have additional expenses for the trip going there if you aren’t near the Osaka subway.
As for their operating hours, since there is a hike needed to reach the park and that hike up to the park is only half the distance you need to travel because you’ll need to get back down after, you can expect that they close early. A safe guess would be that they are open from 10 AM to 5 PM since that is also the operating hours for the establishments in this vicinity. This means that there are no night tours to go the park since it might be too dangerous to do so.
Although the lack of a night showing for this wonderful park, with all the things you can do here and all the things you can enjoy here after like the different baths and restaurant that surround this area, it would still surely be worth the time and effort to go to this historic park. Since practically all the attractions here are free aside from the pavilion and hot spring beside the park’s vicinity, all the booking you really need to do is the ticket to go to and from this place. Once that is in order, the only thing left to worry about is how much fun and entertainment you’ll have in this park.