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Osaka: Peak Colors

The scenic surroundings in Minoo Park

This year's autumn color season is starting to progress towards its end, it now being more than two months since we reported on the colors at Daisetsuzan National Park in Hokkaido back in September. Since then the colors have made their annual journey from the northern and high-altitude places to the south and to areas of lower elevation, in the process filling parts of the Northern Alps, Kanto and area surrounding Mount Fuji with radiant hues before recently hitting the big cities and tourist hot spots Tokyo and Kyoto.

Following on from my trip to Kyoto last week, during which I saw an impressive array of peak colors, today I was in the nearby city of Osaka to see how the foliage was faring there. I was pleased to find that despite an unexpected closure and some signs of the autumn color season winding down, the areas I visited today were still predominantly alive with color and generally provided nice autumnal vistas.

Minoo Park:
Peak Color

To begin the day's proceedings, I headed to Minoo, a quaint town nestled at the foot of mountains north of the city. The town's main attraction come autumn is the renowned Minoo Park, which typically comes alive with color at this time of year and attracts visitors to its waterfall, which can be viewed following a relatively gentle three-kilometer jaunt from Hankyu Minoo Station.

I found out soon after setting out from the station that a portion of the the trail leading to the waterfall is at this time closed due to typhoon damage, foiling my plans of seeing the famous site. Despite this, visitors can still enjoy a hike to around half way along the trail, which itself follows a river and is in parts awash with radiant colors. The closure somewhat detracting from the area's appeal, calm weather is forecast here over the next few days. If these predictions come to pass, I expect the colors along the open part of the trail to remain in an optimum-viewing state for around another couple of days.

Beautiful colors and buildings line the trail through the park
A lot of this along the river
Warned beforehand at various points along the trail, this is where it currently ends
Vibrant hues illuminate some of the trees
A few signs of winter approaching around Ryuanji Temple

Expo '70 Commemorative Park:
Beyond Peak

From one northern Osaka autumn color spot to another, next I made the relatively short journey over to Expo '70 Commemorative Park. This large public park hosted the 1970 Japan World Exposition and today attracts autumn color chasers especially to its large Japanese landscape garden on the park's north side.

The state of the foliage around the park varied today, with some trees having shed all but a few of their leaves whilst others remained bright with color. On the whole, the state of the park was past peak, with even some of the more radiant foliage in the Japanese garden showing signs of decline under close inspection. Looking in parts to be only a day or two past peak, the Japanese garden remains a good spot for color viewing and, barring any extreme wind or rain, I expect this to continue to be the case for around another couple of days before winter starts to take hold.

Autumnal browns greet visitors at the park's main entrance
A view of the Japanese garden
Beautiful scenes
The waterfall in the garden surrounded by radiant foliage
There was a lot of this however, upon close inspection
The park today looked a tad wintry in parts

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