Autumn Kansai Travel Guide

Autumn Leaves in Osaka | Is it Worth a Visit?

In comparison with the fall colors of Kyoto, Tokyo, Nikko, Nara, Hakone, Kamakura, Hokkaido, and Tohoku, Osaka seems to me a less popular destination. If you take a look at the Kansai region map, you would see that its nearby prefectures such as Kyoto and Nara are hugely popular destinations for hunting momiji.

A 3-days trip to Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara in the fall will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They are easy to access from one place to another.

Osaka has been designated as one of the top destinations in the land of the rising sun. Often acknowledged, it is the second most visited tourist destination after Tokyo, in Japan.

A lot of visitors to Kyoto and Tokyo, first land in Osaka then start their dream expedition to Kyoto and finally reach to Tokyo. However, if you are going to visit Osaka this autumn, don’t forget to read this guidebook.

Ryuanji temple grounds in autumn. Photo Credit: pelican at Flickr.

If you are planning on visiting Osaka, Kyoto, Nara and Tokyo this fall season, start your trip right here in Osaka. It is the best choice in which you are offered to discover some amazing fall colors spots including other top attractions. I tell you a truth now, I have never been fascinated with a city life, and partially I don’t it.

Though, the city life of Osaka is inspiring. Here, you have a lot of things to see and do. A city life for me is just messy! The less crowded means you have enough room to roam around and be with the world of silent, that’s why I like Hokkaido and Tohoku regions.

However, let’s go for a trip to Osaka and find the hidden spaces that sparkle in the fall.

Is Osaka Really worth Visiting in Autumn?

Maple leaves in Osaka. Photo Credit: Max Braun at Flickr.

Why is Osaka city worth visiting in autumn? I will not argue here much but want to share my own opinion. Osaka is a busy city like Tokyo. It is the second largest metropolitan area in Japan and one of the safest places to travel in the country.

Every street and historical places in this city tells a story. Kids love the inside atmosphere of the Universal Studios Japan which is said to be one of the popular theme parks in Japan.

For a little bit of history you should get to the greatest Osaka castle. It is a place of scenic beauty that changes throughout the year. People from other parts of Japan visit Osaka castle to see impressive sakura in spring.

Fall colors at Kyuanji Temple! Photo Credit: Lindsay Bernsten at Flickr.

The reason you decide to get here in the fall is that you would definitely like the autumn atmosphere. There is a hidden place that offers you enjoy a lovely day while hunting for momiji. I will soon describe this place to you. Hold on! When it comes to viewing fall foliage in downtown Osaka, it is real gloomy except two places.

Later in this post, I would definitely highlight these locations too. Apart from visiting famous autumn colors spot one can explore Osaka’s mysterious downtown area comprises of several world class shopping arcades.

In fact, many tourists pay a visit to Osaka just for experiencing a great shopping. Anyway, visiting it in autumn will not be a bad idea because from here you can access to its neighboring prefectures (Kyoto and Nara) very easily.

When is the Best Time to View Autumn Foliage in Osaka?

Midosuji fall colors, Umeda. Photo Credit: Janne Moren at Flickr.

Sometimes I feel like trees in Osaka are lazy to change their colors. Keeping in mind that not every city across Japan could produce vividly colors fall foliage. It depends on the weather and the geographical area. However, you could experience a different lifestyle and lots of diversity in the city.

You are suggested to keep an eye on the 2021 Japan Autumn Foliage Forecast. What it tells is that the Kansai region at its best for viewing fall colors from early-November to late-November.

If you visit Osaka in mid-November you expect to experience the peak season. In fact, this is the best time to view foliage both in Kyoto and Nara as well.

Where to See Autumn Leaves in Osaka?

Don’t rely on downtown area of Osaka to see fall colors there. You have got to move to somewhere, I mean outskirts of Osaka city. Let’s first explore its number one fall foliage spot.

1) Minoo Park

Minoo waterfall and autumn foliage. Photo Credit: PROpelican at Flickr.

Minoo (Minoh) Park (a quasi-national park) is a forested valley, located in the northern part of Osaka city. The park is exceptionally amazing to see fall colors. Finding for an ideal place for nature recreation on the outskirts of Osaka city? Then head to this beautiful park.

Deciduous trees found in this park change their colors in early November and reach their full glory in mid-November. When I made a very first trip to this place I was stunned not only because of the autumn beauty I discovered there but also for the waterfall, trekking trails and temples.

It is trully amazing and peaceful while walking along the trails to Minoo waterfall. On the way, I also had a great chance of visiting one of the most beautiful temples in Osaka called Ryuanji Temple. It is a great property of the park that adds an extra beauty to it.

Ryuan-ji temple and its surrounding fall foliage. Photo Credit: pelican at Flickr.

The Minoo waterfall, Ryuanji temple, other temple buildings, several impressive hiking trails, shops and maple trees are the best highlights you could experience.

You can start exploring all these things from Hankyu Minoo Station. In order to see the majestic waterfall you have to walk about 45 to 50 minutes from the station.

Don’t walk too fast because there is enough time left for you. In addition, while walking through the trail to the waterfall you would see the Ryuanji temple and its impressive buildings including a beautiful red color bridge. It is really eye-catching!

The temple is located at the halfway between the train station and the waterfall.

Path to Minoo Waterfall, in Minoo Park. Photo Credit: Julian Fisher

When you reach to the waterfall, the sounds of streams and the surroundings forested areas would definitely take your soul away. Here, you can catch the real autumn beauty from the several observation decks in the area.

There are also some benches to sit on in front of the waterfall. The day I visited the park was very sunny and the weather was just perfect for taking a leisurely stroll.

You can find some shops there where delicious foods and drinks are served. There is a local specialty called momiji tempura or maple leaves tempura. It is a favorite snack that I like to have in the fall.

Does this place sound impressive? If so then visit it on time. From the downtown Umeda area, you can reach here taking less than 30 minutes by train. Good luck to you!

2) Osaka Castle Park

Osaka Castle and Fall Foliage. Photo Credit: hslo at Flickr.

Osaka Castle is the symbol of Osaka prefecture. The iconic view of the castle from the Osaka Castle Park is truly magnificent.

The castle park has so many things to offer from the Castle tower to other historical landmarks including the impressive looking garden called Nishinomaru.

The garden is home to 600 cherry trees, and hundreds of ume trees. Here, the early spring is blessed with beautiful ume blossoms. On the other hand, during the hanami season about 600 sakura trees attracts millions of visitors to this park area.

At the time everything around you sounds like so moving and you are to make your own way through the crowd to see splendid sakura blossoms.

Fall foliage looking stunning in Osaka Castle Park. Photo Credit: Edric Lee JJ at Flickr.

What attracts so many people is the seasonal beauty that surrounds the castle. The autumn beauty is overshadowed by the spring beauty but when you visit it in the fall you feel like you are in a different world.

When fall rolls around, deciduous trees in the park cover the whole castle grounds displaying its gorgeous fall colors. There is a giant hundreds years old ginkgo tree. It is just amazing to look at its yellowish leaves.

The views of the magnificent moats and the stone walls look stunning with the shades of autumn colors. If you plan a trip to this historic landmark, make sure you manage your time to explore most of its areas. Here, you can spend hours after hours lying on the park’s grounds and roaming around including inside the castle tower.

You have to decide how much time you want to spend there, though it is better keep in mind that it is a spacious park with a lot of things to see and wonder.

3) Midosuji Avenue

Midosuji Street in Fall. Photo Credit: Janne Moren at Flickr.

If you want to see lined colored ginkgo trees in Osaka similar to Tokyo’s Icho Namiki then you will have to head to the Midosuji Avenue. It is a 4 km and 44 meter wide street that connects Umeda and Namba areas.

In central Osaka, Midosuji is said to be the most popular lush green space in the summer and that turns to a place of shimmering golden yellowish color during the fall.

Midosuji street’s ginkgo trees are shining, Osaka! Photo Credit: Jeff at Flickr.

Along the street you find many shopping stores to shop and restaurants to satisfy your stomach!

Anyone who visits Umeda and Namba in the fall should experience a stroll along the street. It will not just amuse you with the breathtaking nature scene rather it is a great place to do some unique shopping.

The view of illuminated ginkgo trees at night is just awesome! Don’t miss this spot unless you want to be a loser. To be honest with you, Osaka’s streets are worth exploring, Midosuji is just an example of it.

4) Kanshinji Temple

Kanshinji Bentendo, Osaka. Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

What’s the name of the hidden place in Kawachinagano Area? It is Kanshinji temple! It was a hidden attraction to me until I have found it back in 2014. I was drinking some coffee at a restaurant in downtown Osaka and next to me there was a local guy from Kawachinagano.

At first he was a stranger to me but soon the status has changed to friend. How cool! He asked me the purpose of my visit to Osaka, and I answered that I was on a tour for hunting momijigari.

Fortunately, he offered me to go to the Kanshinji temple grounds to experience its fall colors. Hearing such I thought of it for some times and decided to go there with him. Having a travel companion is just perfect, I think you know that!

What I have experienced about the temple was that, the temple is extremely beautiful with its surrounding plants and building structures. Along with viewing the striking autumn colors of the deciduous trees I have spotted many cherry and plum trees on the temple’s grounds.

The main temple building structure looks stunning in the fall when nearby trees change their colors. You may find this as a perfect photo shooting spot, no doubt. You can walk along the paths to discover the rest of its buildings and other important cultural assets.

Few Autumn Travel Guides to Osaka

If you know the some useful travel tips to Osaka beforehand then your entire trip would be easy and memorable. When you are in Osaka in the fall, try exploring Kyoto and Nara’s fall foliage spots. Having a Japan Rail Pass would be handy when it comes to visiting Kyoto/Nara from Osaka.

Downtown Osaka can be explored on foot. You better bring your walking shoes here. If you want a new pairs then check this one right away.

You are suggested to check out the weather forecast before you head to a destination, if it says it could be rainy a bit then don’t forget to carry an umbrella. It is really cold out there when it rains, therefore wear a light jacket.

Osaka Castle. Photo Credit: John Gillespie at Flickr.

Search for some best restaurants and cafes to try Osaka’s local specialties. The best way to do it is searching online, there might be some apps to find them or you can directly ask someone who dwells in Osaka city, they know better than anyone else.

Every day, Osaka receives a lot of tourists. To get the best hotel deals you have to book your room in advance. Search cheap hotels to stay in Osaka here.

How to make a simple travel plan to see autumn leaves in Osaka, Kyoto and Nara? Your itinerary should be simple. At first, start your expedition in Osaka then move to Kyoto.

You should stay a night there in Kyoto so that on the following morning you could visit fall foliage spots located outskirts of Kyoto city. Then head to Nara from Kyoto. There is no need to stay a night in Nara; you can get back to Osaka in the evening.

Welcome to Osaka! See how it could amuse you in the fall

Colored maple leaves in Osaka. Photo Credit: pelican at Flickr.

Minoo Park, Osaka Castle Park, Midosuji Avenue, Kanshinji temple are just a few locations where you could go to see mind-boggling fall colors in Osaka prefecture. Maybe there are some other places which are still hidden to me; do you know other spots except these ones?

Osaka is a four season destination. Not many people visit it for seeing its four season beauty but for other purposes. There are attractions in downtown Osaka that don’t rely on the seasonal beauty. They are always crowded and can be visited year round.

Osaka is an unbelievable destination, people love exploring it. I don’t find any reason not to fall in love with its autumn colors. It is impressive here, don’t you think so? Probably it is not a perfect place for fall foliage if your expectation is high and you want to see colors like Kyoto offers but still it is good to explore.

Apart from viewing colors, there are lots more to discover. I can guarantee you that a leaf-peeping trip to Osaka this autumn will be a thrilling adventure!

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