Over the past few weeks the temperatures’s been steadily increasing – much like my waistline during the winter! So to try and tackle the latter a bit Emma and I took a trip to Minoo(also spelled Minoh) for a spot of hiking up to the famous waterfall.
Minoh koen and waterfall are considered a top spot for enjoying Autumn colours, but you’d have to be a real miserable person to not enjoy it any time of year. The park is one of the rare green spots in the city and the 2.7km hike up to the waterfall is a really pleasant walk, punctuated with the odd shrine and refreshment stop. Now I say hike, but even I found this pretty easy – the path is paved all the way and steepens very gradually towards the end, so nothing too horrific.
The trip to Minoo station from central Osaka is a pretty short one(less than 30 mins) on the Hanku railway – I love the retro feel of their trains, and they’re always so shiny. The Hankyu railway was the stage for the 2011 movie Hankyu Densha, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Hiro Arikawa.
The first sight once you leave the station is the quite imposing Hotel Minoo with it’s strange free-standing lift shafts which look like something out of a quarry. The frayed banner and dated look of the place made us think it was abandoned, but apparently not!
Soon enough, the trail led up into the green hills.
Lots of traditional houses dot the route, I thought this one(a cafe) was particularly cool.
A stall selling tons of cute cat items.
There was still a little blossom in places, I’ve seen plenty this year but it’s still a shame to see them go.
An old stone bridge. I’ve made this one a black and white shot to hide the ugly blue pipes running along the side of it. I don’t understand why people don’t try to conceal things like that better and preserve the look!
It may not be autumn, but there were still plenty of fantastic colours.
The manhole covers on the trail had the waterfall and autumn leaves on them. Decorative manhole covers like this are very common in Japan, I have dozens of shots from all over the country which I need to put together sometime.
Roughly halfway along the trail, you’ll find Ryuanji Temple – it’s hard to miss with the bright vermillion bridge.
After Ryuanji Temple, the path gets a bit steeper and tree-cover thickens also, so it can get a bit chilly in places.
Beware of Monkey-initiated avalanches! Despite seeing plenty of signs about them, I didn’t see a single monkey 🙁
The last rest stop before arriving at the waterfall. We passed here, turned a couple more corners and there we were!
Wow. Well worth the walk. Lucky for us it wasn’t so busy and we had no trouble getting a spot on a bench in front of the fall. It was surprisingly noisy, but a welcome change from the drone of cars and trains. We stayed here for a bit, enjoying a beer in the sun and nice surroundings.
An interesting snack you can try here is Momiji Tempura – which is a deep-fried maple leaf. They’re crunchy and quite sweet, but a little greasy. I’ve never eaten a leaf on purpose before, they were good!
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Neither too difficult or long, hiking up to the fall was a pretty good way to spend my day off, I’m looking forward to finding more spots in Kansai! Really want to check out this hiking route along an abandoned railway which superdude JapanNewbie did a few years ago.
If you have any good hiking spots in Kansai, hit me up in the comments!