Francois' Japan Blog
by Francois, staff writer of japan-guide.com

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2010/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka

Some koyo beside Mino Waterfall

After reporting from Kyoto for the last three days, I spent one last day in the Kansai region investigating the state of the autumn colors. Today I went to Mino Park, located about 30 minutes north of Osaka station.

Koyo along Mino's main hiking trail
Koyo around one of Mino's bridges
Red and yellows at Saikoji Temple near Mino Park's trailhead
The view of the valley in Mino Park from an observation deck near Saikoji Temple

Mino Park is located in a forested area of northern Osaka, and consists of hiking trails through the woods and some temples. The main hiking trail runs alongside a river that passes through a valley and the entire trail is about an hour's hike from Mino Train Station to Mino waterfall, a 33 meter waterfall that has some surrounding maples. Along the way there are a few shops and temples.

Although there was a fair bit of color, I was not blown away by the leaves at Mino despite being informed that the area is at its color peak at the tourist information center. My personal feeling toward the area today was likely because of spending the last few days at some of Kyoto's best koyo spots at the height of their autumn colors. Mino still had many nice photo opportunities and the hike through the forest was pleasant in the cool fall air. The park should continue to be at its peak through the weekend but the state of the colors will gradually deteriorate afterwards.

Koyo around the Momiji Bridge near the middle of the main trail
The view of the entry to the park from the Bokai Hill observation deck
Ryuanji Temple and its bridge
Another view of Ryuanji's bridge

One of the highlights was the middle area of the trail, around which many attractions are centered. The Ryuanji Temple had some nice colors around its buildings and there were also nice leaves around the nearby Momiji Bridge. Just after the bridge there is a trail up the mountainside that goes to the Bokai Hill observation deck. The trail was quite steep and had around 400 steps, so perhaps not everyone will want to take the hike.

The last section of the trail did not have many visible colors
The approach to Mino waterfall
Hikers reach their final destination

The last section of the trail did not have many visible colors, although the valley had seemed quite colorful from the observation decks. I think that the koyo leaves were usually located high in the air or away from the trail, so many of them could not be seen.

The waterfall itself at the end of the trail was quite attractive, but despite being very nice I don't think I could describe the surrounding koyo as spectacular. On the return trip I passed by the tourist information center again and asked about this year's colors compared to other years, since some of the promotional pictures of the waterfall in autumn were much more impressive than their current state. I was told that a really spectacular year at Mino occurs about once a decade. Still, for people in the Osaka area who enjoy going for a hike, Mino Park makes for a very nice day trip and its koyo should persist for the last few days of the month.

Batter being applied to the maple leaves
The leaves are then deep fried for consumption

One interesting thing that I tried today for the first time was a local specialty food sold at many small shops along the trail. Though the idea had never struck me before, it seems that someone figured that koyo can be a delight for more than just the eyes. After a thick coating of batter, some of the area's plentiful fallen leaves are deep fried and sold to tourists as Momiji Tempura. Though I would not be entirely truthful if I were to say that the leaves themselves tasted particularly delicious apart from the batter, the Momiji Tempura did taste quite good and provides one more way to enjoy autumn in Japan.

More edible koyo

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List of Posts:
2011/09/01 - Final Post
2011/05/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sapporo
2011/05/06 - Cherry Blossom Report: Hakodate
2011/04/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Aizu
2011/04/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Sendai
2011/04/16 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2011/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2011/04/13 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2011/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/11 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2011/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2011/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kagoshima
2011/03/31 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2011/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2011/02/11 - Shiretoko Fantasia 2011
2011/02/11 - Asahikawa Winter Festival - by night
2011/02/10 - Asahikawa Winter Festival - by day
2011/02/09 - Sapporo Snow Festival 2011 - by night
2011/02/08 - Otaru Yuki Akari no Michi 2011
2011/02/07 - Sapporo Snow Festival 2011 - by day

2010/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2010
2010/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Osaka
2010/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/24 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/23 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2010/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Tokyo
2010/11/05 - Autumn Color Report: Yamadera
2010/10/27 - Autumn Color Report: Kuju
2010/10/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kirishima
2010/04/10 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2010/04/09 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2010/04/08 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2010/04/07 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2010/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2010/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagoya
2010/03/25 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nagasaki
2010/03/22 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kumamoto
2010/03/21 - Cherry Blossom Report: Fukuoka
2010/01/23 - Wakakusa Yamayaki

2009/12/31 - Travel Highlights 2009
2009/11/26 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2009/11/25 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Light Up
2009/11/23 - Autumn Color Report: Nara
2009/11/22 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Ohara
2009/11/21 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto
2009/11/18 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Higashiyama
2009/11/16 - Autumn Color Report: Kyoto Kurama
2009/11/04 - Autumn Color Report: Hakone
2009/10/07 - Autumn Color Report: Hachimantai
2009/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Mount Akita-Komagatake
2009/09/28 - Autumn Color Report: Kamikochi
2009/09/24 - Autumn Color Report: Oze National Park
2009/06/18 - Biking the Shimanami Kaido
2009/06/01 - Gunkanjima
2009/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Osaka
2009/04/15 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji
2009/04/14 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kobe
2009/04/13 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kanazawa
2009/04/12 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/05 - Cherry Blossom Report: Yoshino
2009/04/04 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/04/03 - Cherry Blossom Report: Nara
2009/04/02 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kobe
2009/04/01 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/03/31 - Cherry Blossom Report: Himeji
2009/03/30 - Cherry Blossom Report: Kyoto
2009/03/29 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2009/03/26 - Cherry Blossom Report: Tokyo
2009/01/19 - Bears in Hokkaido

2008/12/03 - Autumn Color Report: Kamakura
2008/10/06 - Autumn Color Report: Lake Akan
2008/08/18 - Miyajima Trip
2008/06/09 - Post Towns
2008/05/08 - Baseball Game
2008/04/14 - ASIMO and Aoyama Cemetery
2008/04/08 - Ninja Restaurant