Osaka's 10 Most Beautiful Fall Foliage Spots In 2018 - Enjoy The Views!

Osaka's 10 Most Beautiful Fall Foliage Spots In 2018 - Enjoy The Views!

Osaka 2018.08.06

When it comes to fall foliage spots, Osaka boasts just as many wonderful places as Kyoto. When visiting Kansai, how about enjoying the beautiful landscape in the Osaka Castle Park, Minoo Park, Midosuji and seven other great areas in Osaka?

Translated by Lester Somera

Written by MATCHA

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If You’re Going to See the Foliage in Osaka, Go Here!

In Japan, autumn’s cool and comfortable climate is why it’s known as “the season for sports,” “the season for reading,” and “the season for eating,” among other nicknames. People enjoy this precious season which is sandwiched between summer and winter.

Among autumn’s various charms, fall foliage has to be mentioned as one activity that can only be enjoyed at this time. The trees are gorgeous, as their leaves turn various shades of scarlet and gold. This time, let’s take a look at 10 spots that really represent Osaka’s fall foliage.

While people may not really associate Osaka with fall foliage, there are actually many little-known places to see the colors. In most places in Osaka, the fall foliage can be seen in late November to early December. However, be aware that this timing can change based on area and the yearly climate.

1. Minoo Park, The Best Spot for Fall Foliage in Osaka

Osaka Koyo photo02

Picture courtesy of Minoo City Tourism Association

Head 30 minutes north of central Osaka by train and you’ll arrive at Minoo Park, a designated national park abundant with nature.

From the park entrance, stroll the path running alongside the river and you can enjoy a 2.8 kilometer hike up to the famous Minoo Waterfall. There is a walking trail set up on the way to the waterfall (*).

*As of July 2018, a section of the trail is inaccessible due to typhoon damage. Visitors heading to the waterfall will need to take the mountain path partway through. Come dressed in shoes and clothing that are easy to walk in. Repairs are expected to be complete around the end of October 2018.

Osaka Koyo photo03

Picture courtesy of Minoo City Tourism Association

On a sunny day, you can enjoy the sight of the bright red leaves against the backdrop of the waterfall, and maybe even the glint of a rainbow. As Osaka’s preeminent spot for fall foliage viewing, Minoo Park is bustling with people.

Osaka Koyo photo04

Picture courtesy of Minoo City Tourism Association

Along the walking trail, there are many stalls selling Minoo’s local specialty, maple leaf tempura. The sight of deep-fried maple leaves might startle you a bit at first, but the sweetly sesame-scented deliciousness will leave you craving more. The tempura is also a good snack to take with you on your hike.

Standard Timing for Fall Foliage

Mid-November to early December

2. Enjoy the Castle and the Foliage at Osaka Castle Park

Osaka Koyo photo05

Picture courtesy of Osaka Convention and Tourism Bureau

Osaka Castle Park is located in the Chuo ward of Osaka City. Located in the center of the park, Osaka Castle is one of Japan’s three most famous castles alongside Nagoya Castle and Kumamoto Castle, and is a very popular tourist destination.

The interior of Osaka Castle contains a museum that displays historical documents, among other facilities, and from the main keep (*1), you can get an unbroken view of the entire city of Osaka.

When autumn rolls around, you can enjoy the combined sight of the castle and rows of gingko trees with golden leaves. With its abundant natural scenery and the historic Osaka Castle at its center, towering above the heart of the city, Osaka Castle Park is beloved as an urban oasis.

*1: The main keep is the highest structure in a Japanese castle. It is a symbol for that castle.

Standard Timing for Fall Foliage

Mid-November to early December

3. Midosuji’s Rows of Gingko Trees in Central Osaka

Osaka Koyo photo06

Picture courtesy of Osaka Convention and Tourism Bureau

Midosuji is a thoroughfare running north to south, which connects the central Kita area in Osaka with Minami to the south.

Roughly 800 gingko trees are planted along the Midosuji, which is around four kilometers long. When it’s the fall foliage season, being able to see the Midosuji decked out in golden leaves is a true highlight. Being able to go shopping as you admire the leaves is a fall foliage viewing experience that you can only have in the heart of Osaka.

Standard Timing for Fall Foliage

Late November to mid-December

4. Check Out the Foliage from a Giant Suspension Bridge at Hoshida Park!

Osaka Koyo photo07

Picture courtesy of Osaka Prefectural Corporation for Agricultural Land Development and Greenery-Environment Promotion

Hoshida Park, easily accessible via train, is a quasi-national park nestled in the mountains. You can enjoy hiking in this vast park, rich in nature.

The park has a walking trail modeled after a forest railway, where you can see the riverbed on your stroll, as well as a 16.5-meter-tall man-made climbing wall. You can go hiking and climbing in the park with ease.

Osaka Koyo photo08

Picture courtesy of Osaka Prefectural Corporation for Agricultual Land Development and Greenery-Environment Promotion

This is the 280-meter-long Star Swing, the park’s famous suspension bridge! The 360-degree view of the fall foliage from atop the bridge will take your breath away with its beauty.

Standard Timing for Fall Foliage

Mid-November to early December

5. Enjoy the Fall Foliage Near a Kofun Tomb at Daisen Park

Osaka Koyo photo09

Picture courtesy of Daisen Park Japanese Garden

Daisen Park, selected as one of Japan’s top 100 historical gardens, is located near the kofun tomb (*2) of Emperor Nintoku, which is the largest such tomb in Japan. There are also several smaller kofun tombs dotting the surrounding area, creating a harmony of rich greenery and historically interesting spots.

Inside the park, there are roughly 400 cherry trees that blossom extravagantly in the springtime. In autumn, the green of the grass, the blue of the pond and the gorgeous colors of the fall foliage create a banquet of color for you to enjoy.

*2: Kofun tombs, built during ancient times, were grave sites for nobles. They can vary in size and scope.

Standard Timing for Fall Foliage

Mid-November to late November

6. Enjoy the Daytime Colors at Osaka Expo Memorial Park

Osaka

Picture courtesy of Osaka Japan Expo Memorial Park Office

Osaka Expo Memorial Park was built on the original site of the Expo which was held in 1970. Now open to the public, it is a vast park spanning 260 hectares. While there are many trees that change color in the fall within the park, we also recommend visiting the Momiji Waterfall and the Japanese garden.

The pleasant Momiji Waterfall is normally overflowing with greenery, but as you can see in the picture, in autumn, it offers a brilliantly layered view of vermilion and gold leaves in front of a cascade of pure white water. The view of fall foliage is also quite beautiful from the nearby Sorado promenade.

The spacious Japanese garden is a collection of Japanese gardening techniques. Of course, it’s beautiful in autumn, but its natural scenery can be enjoyed in every season.

Osaka

Picture courtesy of Osaka Japan Expo Memorial Park Office

Osaka Expo Memorial Park has many other highlights. These include the symbol of the Osaka Expo Memorial Park, the Tower of the Sun (pictured) built by artist Taro Okamoto, as well as the National Museum of Ethnology, which has gathered data on ethnic groups from around the world, and the Osaka Folk Crafts Museum, which has collected many pieces of art such as pottery and dyed fabric.

In addition, the neighboring Expo City offers up attractions like Nifrel, an entirely new museum that transcends the boundaries of aquarium, zoo and art exhibit, so that you can enjoy the full day in the area.

Standard Timing for Fall Foliage

Early November to late November

Osaka Expo Memorial Park

Address: Osaka, Suita, Senri Banpaku Koen Google Maps
Access: Right by “Banpaku Kinen Koen” Station on the Osaka Monorail
Homepage: Expo Park

7. A Vermilion Tower and a Feast of Color at Ushitakiyama (Daiitokuji)

Osaka

Ushitakiyama is located in southern Osaka along the Wakayama border. It has long been known as a famous spot to view fall foliage.

The Ushitakiyama mountains are home to a temple called Daiitokuji. The two-story pagoda in the photo has been designated as an important cultural asset in Japan. In autumn, the brilliant sight of the vermilion pagoda and surrounding foliage bring joy to visitors.

Every year in the fall foliage season, the Maple Leaf Festival is held here. There are rows of shops selling merchandise from Osaka’s famous Danjiri Festival and Google Maps
Access: From Kishiwada Station on the Nankai Main Line, take the Nankai bus bound for Ushitakiyama and get off at Ushitakiyama (55 min, 650 yen), then walk for three minutes

8. Katsuoji is Especially Beautiful When Lit Up

Osaka

Picture courtesy of Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau

Katsuoji in Minoo is well-known as a place to see fall foliage. The road that heads toward the main shrine becomes a tunnel of fall foliage (pictured), and you can see the clear blue autumn sky peeking between the gaps in the roof of vividly colored leaves.

Every weekend and holiday from early November until the 30th, the shrine area is lit up, presenting visitors with an otherworldly appearance. The illumination lasts from sunset until 19:30. Because there is no public transportation at night, you should drive or take a taxi.

Katsuoji

Picture courtesy of Osaka Convention & Tourism Bureau

The daruma is another thing that Katsuoji is famous for. A daruma is an ornament modeled after a Buddhist monk, usually sold with two white eyes. There is a Japanese tradition of filling in one eye when you set a goal, then filling in the other once you’ve achieved it.

Katsuoji is actually known as a temple for blessings of victory. The legend comes from roughly a thousand years ago, when the head priest here was able to cure the illness of the Emperor at the time through prayers. Since then, the kanji for victory (“katsu”) has been part of the temple’s name, and generals have come to this temple to pray for success in battle.

Many daruma that have brought victory to visitors are placed here.

Standard Timing for Fall Foliage

Early November to late November

Katsuoji

Address: Osaka, Minoo, Aomatani 2914-1 Google Maps
Access: From Senri-Chuo Station on the Midosuji Line, take the #29 bus to Katsuoji (35 minutes, 490 yen)
Homepage: Katsuoji

9. Settsukyo Park, A Recommended Hiking Spot

Osaka

Picture courtesy of Takatsuki Tourism Association

Despite not being far from the city, Settsukyo Park is rich in nature, and a place for people to relax.

There are five hiking trails set up within the park. We recommend the mountainside forest trail in autumn, which passes through a valley of maple leaf trees. You can also see a 15-meter-tall waterfall midway through the hike.

Osaka

Picture courtesy of Takatsuki Tourism Association

There is also a ravine course where you can walk along the bank of a clear river as you look at oddly-shaped rock formations. There are roughly 230 cherry trees planted in the park, and in the spring, the park is crowded with visitors coming to see the blossoms.

Standard Timing for Fall Foliage

Late October to late November

Settsukyo Park Shitanoguchi Bus Stop

Address: Osaka, Takatsuki, Tsukawaki 5-8 Google Maps
Access: Take the #50 bus bound for Shitanoguchi or the #51 bus bound for Tsukawaki, then get off at Shitanoguchi or Tsukawaki (15 minutes, 220 yen). On foot, the park entrance is ten minutes away from the Tsukawaki stop and two minutes away from the Shitanoguchi stop.

10. The Mystical Atmosphere of Mt. Inunaki

Osaka

Picture courtesy of Izumisano Tourism Association

Mt. Inunaki is known as a site for ascetic practices. Established as a training ground for Shugendo asceticism (*3) roughly 1300 years ago, Mt. Inunaki still has an aura of mystery today.

*3: Shugendo is an ancient school of Japanese asceticism, whose adherents would train in the mountains in pursuit of enlightenment.

Osaka

Picture courtesy of Izumisano Tourism Association

There are hiking trails on the mountain, and you can enjoy a pleasant hike through the woods as you look at the fall foliage. It is roughly a 40-minute walk from the bus stop at the base of the mountain to the “ascetic’s waterfall” (pictured in the back). You might see a Shugendo devotee being pummeled by the waterfall.

Osaka’s only onsen resort town is also located at the foot of Mt. Inunaki. While it isn’t a large-scale resort town, there are inns where you can enter the hot springs even if you’re not staying there, so we recommend refreshing yourself in an onsen before heading home. Mt. Inunaki is far away from central Osaka, so you should give yourself plenty of time to get there.

Standard Timing for Fall Foliage

Mid-November to late November

Mt. Inunaki bus stop

Address: Osaka, Izumisano, Ogi 2236 Google Maps
Access:
From Izumisano Station on the Nankai Line, take the Wing Bus Nanbu bound for Mt. Inunaki and get off at the last stop (40 minutes, 470 yen)
From JR Hineno Station, take the Wing Bus Nanbu bound for Mt. Inunaki and get off at the last stop (30 minutes, 410 yen)
Homepage: Mt. Inunaki

Osaka Has Plenty of Hidden Fall Foliage Spots

Kyoto probably comes to mind for most people when they think about fall foliage in Kansai, but Osaka has plenty of famous places to see the colors, too. Since it’s the “season for eating,” why not go chase the fall foliage in the gourmet region of Osaka?

Original writer: Eri Okubo
This is a rewrite of an article originally published on September 4th, 2016.

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