Minoo Park is a short trip away from the busy city of Osaka and is a great place to spend a day. It is very popular with locals and tourists in the fall months.
Minoo Park also called Mino or Minoh, is a natural forest valley located north of Osaka metropolitan area. It is one of the greatest locales in the Kansai Region to enjoy fall colors in a beautiful location Stunning fall foliage found at temples is the Minoo’s main attraction throughout the autumn season.
In the second half of November, the colors are generally at their peak and continue to be incredible thru early December.
In this article we will be covering the best attractions and points of interest to see and do in Minoo Park just a short trip from Osaka, covering the highlights, the best time of year to visit, and how to get there.
About Minoo Park
Minoo Park also goes by several other names including Mino Koen, Mino Park, and Minoh Park. The park itself is actually a valley that is filled with trees and located just north of Osaka on the outskirts of the busy city.
Thanks to the vast number of trees in the valley it is a favorite spot of many to visit during the fall months. Here you will be able to see the fantastic fall colors in a natural forest setting as opposed to a curated temple ground or garden.
Typically, if you choose to visit the park in the latter half of November you will encounter the best view of the incredible foliage changing colors.
In much the same way that Tokyo has Mount Takao, Osaka has Minoo Park, allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a short time of relaxation, tranquillity, and rest.
In fact, in just thirty minutes (from the Umeda area) you can be at Minoo Park to experience the best of Japan’s natural beauty any time of year, but especially during the fall season.
To celebrate the centenary of the Meiji period Minoo Park was awarded quasi-national park status, just like Mount Takao near Tokyo.
What can you see in Minoo Park?
Because Minoo Park is a place that celebrates the natural beauty of Japan’s landscape there are many natural wonders to see here. Here we will cover a few that are must-explore sights.
The main hiking trail
The main hiking trail in Minoo Park follows the Minoo river and covers a distance of roughly 2 miles through the valley.
The start of the trail is a short walk from Hankyu Minoo Station and finishes at the Minoo waterfall, another must-see stop that we will in more detail shortly.
Minoo Or Minoh Station Official Website
This hiking trail is fairly easy for most people to walk and does not include any steep inclines. To walk from the start to the finish will take the average person approximately 45 minutes (remember that you will also need to walk 45 minutes back to the station area).
The entire trail is paved, making it easy for those with children. Although the time needed to complete the trail is 45 minutes we suggested extending this as the first part of the hiking trail is surrounded by small shops, temples, and other buildings of interest that are definitely worth exploring.
The second half of the hiking trail slightly increases in incline and has more natural scenery as it is surrounded by trees.
There are other hiking trails available throughout the park, some of which are significantly more difficult than the main hiking trail taken by the majority of visitors.
So, before you begin to take on any diversions from the main walking route you should consider your athletic ability as well as look to a map or GPS where signals are available, to make sure that you do not get lost.
You may also see wildlife native to the area such as monkeys, deer, and birds. Although these animals may be tamer than most due to their time in the park surrounded by people, remember that they are still wild animals and should be treated as such. Make sure you keep an eye on your children around them.
The Minoo waterfall is the final stopping point on the main hiking trail through the park. This waterfall is by far the busiest tourist spot in the park and at a height of 108 feet, it is certainly a beautiful waterfall to enjoy in any season.
The waterfall’s name is derived from the farming technique where husks and grains are separated, also known as winnowing. In Japanese, a winnowing basket is called a “mino”.
The name was given to the waterfall first before it was then used to encompass the park as a whole.
As you make your way along the hiking trail you will certainly be intrigued by the number of small shops that line the path. Here you will be able to purchase a Japanese snack called “momiji tempura” which is deep-fried battered maple leaves.
These maple leaves can either be bought as a snack to eat along the route or in a pack to take home as a souvenir.
These old Japanese houses, which have been converted into shops, also sell an array of more traditional Japanese food such as noodles and fried rice.
If you are looking for souvenirs then there are also a number of shops that sell more traditional and novel souvenirs such as plastic bugs and toys, which are representative of the Insect Pavillion located in the park.
The Insect Pavillion
Approximately one-third of the way along the main hiking trail you will find the insect pavilion, which is home to 6000 different species of insect that can be found in both the forests of Osaka as well as the entirety of Japan.
Minoo Park Insect Museum Official Website
The insect pavilion is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the entrance fee is 270 yen. If you are exploring the park with children then this is a highly recommended stop.
How to relax after a long day’s walk around the park
If you have finished exploring everything that Minoo Park has to offer then you may notice that you want to relax. Located just a mere five minutes from the entrance to the park is a free onsen-style footbath.
The Minoo Kanko hotel, located just next to the park, also has a hot spring as well as spa facilities that customers can use to relax after a long walk through the park.
You do not need to be staying in the hotel to use their facilities, but the entrance charge is 1000 yen per person.
Their spa facilities include a sauna, outdoor bath as well as multiple other baths at a variety of temperatures. So, no matter your preference you can relax after your exploration through the park.
Where to stay near Minoo Park
If you are looking to spend more than one day in the area, or you simply want to make the most of the day and use every last bit of sunlight then there are a few different options for where to stay overnight near Minoo Park.
Minoo Kanko Hotel
The Minoo Kanko Hotel is part of the same hotel chain as Oedo Onsen and is a great choice for a hotel near Minoo Park as it is just a very short distance from the park entrance and offers some of the best facilities around to help you unwind after a busy day.
The hotel has mesmerizing views over Osaka and has a great outdoor bathing area.
Minoo Kanko Hotel Via Tripadvisor
Senri Hankyu Hotel
If you are happy to travel a little bit further afield then you can look at hotels near the airport such as Senri Hankyu Hotel.
Senri Hankyu Hotel Official Website
This hotel is just as luxurious and offers great views along with a traditional-style Japanese restaurant and swimming pool onsite.
How do I get to Minoo Park?
Luckily, Minoo Park is fairly easy to get to from Osaka. The best way to reach the park is to start your journey in downtown Osaka and take the Hankyu Railway. From Umeda train station you will need to use the Hankyu Takarazuka Line and travel as far as Ishibashi train station.
Here change onto the Hankyu Minoh line and ride until the end of the train line at Minoh station. This entire train journey will take you roughly 25 minutes and cost 270 yen.
Once out of the train station at Minoh station you will then need to walk ten minutes to the beginning of the trail. This route is clearly marked.
If you are using the Osaka metro system then another way to arrive at Minoo Park is to take the Midosuji line to Senri-Chuo and then change to the bus system.
You will need to take either bus number 19 or bus number 20 to Minoh station. Either option will take you 20 minutes and cost you 210 yen.
Please note that these travel options are not covered until the Japan Rail Pass as these lines are not JR lines.