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Autumn Color Report 2015
Official autumn color reports by japan-guide.com

Where to see autumn leaves? - When do trees turn colors? - What trees turn colors?
Schedule of upcoming reports - Post your own report

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2015/11/26 - Osaka Report
by scott

Minoo Waterfall

Today I headed east to continue reporting on the autumn colors (koyo) from the Kansai Region. After an early morning train ride, I arrived in Osaka, stowed my bags, and hopped a Hankyu train for the 30 minute trip to Minoo Park (also Romanized as Mino or Minoh) in the northern part of Osaka City. The park is a pocket of nature in an otherwise urban metropolis, and is one of the better autumn color spots in Osaka. Minoo Park also shares a similar relationship to its city as Mount Takao does with Tokyo, in that they are both nature retreats within the easy reach of the city.

Hikers arrive at Minoo Station, from where roads lead an easy 3 kilometers walk into a gorge that cuts through the mountains. Along the way you can see all kinds of maples and other colorful foliage that line the road, river and various hiking paths that lead around the mountains until you reach the 33 meter high Minoo Waterfall in the back of the park.

Like most mountainous areas, there can be quite a difference in the state of the colors around Minoo Park depending on elevation. And today the colors were already pretty good in the higher regions and mountaintops when you could catch glimpses of them through the morning drizzle. But the maple trees around the lower slopes and especially around the entrance to the park were still improving and not quite at the peak yet.

All the shops around Minoo Park make the local specialty: maple leaf tempura
Leaves around the entrance to the park
A bride about to make an entrance at her wedding party at a restaurant in Minoo Park
Minoo Park
Not too crowded in the morning, probably due to the rain
A river flows through the gorge
Several bridges connect to alternate trails

After about an hour's walk I arrived at the waterfall, which was surrounded by some of the better colors of the day. The leaves were still approaching peak, however, and should continue to improve over the next week or so.

Minoo Waterfall
The view of Minoo Waterfall from one of several observation decks in the area
Moss covered railings
Minoo Waterfall from the bridge
Looking back on the road up the mountain

After returning back to central Osaka I headed over to Osaka Castle to see how it fares as a koyo spot. While we visit the castle at least annually for its cherry blossoms, I think this is the first time that we've gone specifically to check out the autumn colors. The grounds are essentially a large forested park with all manner of stately trees planted around it that we were expecting to be nice. And if all else failed, the cherry trees around the castle would provide some nice steely red and burnt orange foliage if in season.

It looked promising when I arrived at the castle grounds, as I could see rows of reddish orange cherry trees and some golden ginkgoes hanging over the edges of the castle walls and out over the moats. Not quite the dense concentrations of colorful trees as you'll often find in gardens, but more dotted with trees as is common in city parks. The nice foliage persisted as you got closer and closer to the keep, while inside the main bailey the colors were mostly provided by single trees here and there

The outer moats
Colorful trees lined the water
A nicely lined up ginkgo tree
That'll look nice on the Christmas card
Keep Reflecting
Shooting scenes for the straight to DVD movie the Last Samurai 2: Sanada's Last Stand
The birds were eating right out of her hand

After visiting the main bailey I went to go check out the lower parts of the castle grounds to the east which became more and more city park-like as you got farther and farther away from the keep. It was easy to find colorful trees around the paths and I also stumbled into what looked like a newly constructed area filled with young maple trees. Overall the castle park turned out to be a nice city autumn color spot with plenty of colorful foliage to enjoy while strolling about. The colors looked to still be in the early stages, especially as the early changing cherry trees were at their peak, so it should continue to be enjoyable over the next few weeks.

Looking out over the lower parts of the castle grounds from the main bailey
Looking back at the keep
Young maple trees
Cherry trees on the water
A little more ways to go to the peak
This should soon be nice and yellow

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List of Posts:
2015/12/09 - Tokyo Report
2015/12/04 - Kyoto Report
2015/12/03 - Tokyo Report
2015/12/01 - Kamakura Report
2015/11/27 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/27 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/27 - Nara Report
2015/11/26 - Osaka Report
2015/11/25 - Miyajima Report
2015/11/24 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/20 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/19 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/19 - Kankakei Report
2015/11/18 - Mount Mitake Report
2015/11/18 - Korankei Report
2015/11/17 - Fujigoko Report
2015/11/17 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/16 - Mount Takao Report
2015/11/13 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/12 - Tokyo Report
2015/11/11 - Hakone Report
2015/11/11 - Fukuroda Falls Report
2015/11/10 - Kyoto Report
2015/11/09 - Koyasan Report
2015/11/08 - Miyajima Report
2015/11/07 - Dazaifu Report
2015/11/06 - Fujigoko Report
2015/11/04 - Tokyo Report
2015/10/30 - Kyoto Report
2015/10/28 - Nikko Report
2015/10/26 - Bandai Report
2015/10/22 - Northern Alps Report
2015/10/21 - Northern Alps Report
2015/10/20 - Mount Fuji Report
2015/10/15 - Hachimantai Report
2015/10/15 - Nikko Report
2015/10/14 - Alpine Route Report
2015/10/14 - Towada Report
2015/10/13 - Hakkoda Report
2015/10/08 - Nasu Report
2015/10/06 - Nikko Report
2015/10/05 - Route 292 Report
2015/09/28 - Oze Report
2015/09/24 - Alpine Route Report
2015/09/17 - Daisetsuzan Report
2015/09/16 - Daisetsuzan Report

Tours and Experiences