It is the long awaited moment – the arrival of summer! Summer in Kansai region can be very hot and humid. Even most of the government related agencies are allowed to wear shorts to work and leave their office blazers at home. As for you, it is the time to put on your sunglasses, dress in your tank top and shorts for some outdoor activities. Let’s have a serendipitous journey at the northern part of Osaka city – Minoh National Park. Be ready, steady and let’s go!
Panorama view of Osaka city from Mino Park
…” This forest houses more than 900 different species of plants, 3000 insect species and even native fresh water fish. …”
Minoh Park is one of the oldest national parks in Japan. Located in Minoh city, which can be conveniently reached by taking a train from central Osaka to Minoo station via Hankyu Minoo line. The whole journey will take less than an hour, and you will be able to escape from the towering skyscrapers and return to the embrace of Mother Nature. This forest houses more than 900 different species of plants, 3000 insect species and even native fresh water fish. You can do plenty of outdoor activities here – try enjoying the greenery and listening to the whizzing and chirring noises of the insects. Or perhaps you like hiking or cycling? Catch some dragonflies while you’re along the stream? Definitely visit one of the oldest temples in Japan and don’t forget to cool your body down with a scoop of ice-cream!
…”One worth mentioning is the Momiji tempura – maple leaves deep fried in sweet batter…”
Hiking in Minoh Park is not a tough job but a stress-free way to sweat your gut off! The Takimichi trail is an easy path that connects the Minoh subway station to Minoh Fall with a total walking distance being about 3km long (one-way). At the beginning of the trail you will be able to see several shops and restaurants. One worth mentioning is the Momiji tempura – maple leaves deep fried in sweet batter. Well, it sounds strange but it is a famous snack that is a signature and original to Minoh Park (The only place that you can find in Japan!). Give it a try so you’ll have something to munch on while you still have another 2.9km to the last and famous attraction!!
Just a 5-minutes away from the shops and you will be able to admire a panorama view of the whole Osaka city by taking an elevator up to the bridge that connects to the Minoh Kanko Hotel. (It is free to go up by the elevator, so don’t be a lazy bum!)
…” If you are a history enthusiast, there is the oldest Buddhist monastery around that you should definitely visit – Ryuanji Temple. …”
If you are a history enthusiast, there is the oldest Buddhist monastery around that you should definitely visit – Ryuanji Temple. There are some interesting legends about this temple. Believe it or not, this place is also the origin of the Japan lottery! So why don’t you drop by to get some luck from the temple? Who knows you might have some unanticipated fortune coming your way!!
…” Being the biggest natural attraction of the park, at a height of 33m, the waterfall is natural ventilation that cools its surroundings …”
As you continue walking, Minoh Fall will just be a few steps away from you! Being the biggest natural attraction of the park, at a height of 33m, the waterfall is natural ventilation that cools its surroundings. Hence, it is good just to chill around the waterfall to cool sweaty you after a long walk! There are also benches arranged for the visitors to enjoy the breath-taking scenery! Sit down, have a gulp of Coke, and listen to the relaxing sounds created by the waterfall – Be the luckiest person in the world! (A health tip for you – Waterfall generates negative ions, which are believed to stimulate serotonin levels in your body, helping you to fight against depression, stress and mood swings.)
In addition, there are eateries just alongside the stream. One of my favorites is the grilled salted ayu fish (鮎の塩焼き, a kind of fresh water fish also referred to as Japanese sweet fish) of which you can even eat its bones!!
…” Do not forget to visit the hot spring footbath at the subway station after an exhausting walk to “reward your feet”! …”
After a refreshing break, if you still feel like exploring the surrounding, there is a tougher hiking trail further up from the waterfall – Natural Trail No.3 (right beside a tea shop). There are also a few other recreational activities that you can try out at Minoh National Park such as cycling, picnic, barbeque, and even hot spring!
Do not forget to visit the hot spring footbath at the subway station after an exhausting walk to “reward your feet”! It only costs 150 yen for a 10-minute footbath. Bearing in mind that operating hours are from 10:00 to 16:00 on weekdays and is closed on Thursdays!
Minoh National Park is definitely worth your visit! Besides from all the pastoral scenery, don’t forget to be a responsible global citizen by appreciating, conserving and preserving our mother earth. You will be enlightened along the journey to the park!
(On a side note: I barely see foreigners at Minoh park. With the influence of this blog, I hope all tourists can see this and join the green learning journey!)
Natural Trail No.3
Natural Trail No.3