Minoh Park: Osaka’s Best Kept Secret

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Nestled in the mountains less than an hour from Osaka, Minoh Park in Japan offers a quick and easy escape from the city into nature. This guide has everything you need to know to plan the perfect visit to Minoo Park.

Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

After a couple days of weaving through crowded city streets in Osaka on our 2019 Japan trip, we were craving some time in nature. We did a little research and found that just 45 minutes north of the city center sits a nature lover’s oasis known as Minoh Park.

Okay, one thing before we get into it – it’s pronounced “meen-oo”

The kanji for Minoo Park (箕面公園) is romanized as both “Minoo” and “Minoh”. Both can be used interchangeably, and we’ll be using both in this article. Sometimes it’s even written as “Minō”, which could be confusing for English speakers given the pronunciation.

Say it with me one more time: “meen-oo”. Bravo!

Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

With a paved walking path that leads through forested mountains to a waterfall, Minoh Park is a popular spot for local couples and families to escape city life for part of a day. 

We visited Minoo on a holiday weekend in August, and while it was busy with locals, it wasn’t too crowded. Plus, we only spotted a handful of other foreigners, so it felt more like a hidden gem and less like a tourist trap.

If you’re looking for an easy day trip from Osaka that feels like it’s a world away from the city, keep reading for everything you need to know to plan the perfect visit to Minoo Park!

Minoo Park Guide

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How to get to Minoo Park

Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

By train: From the Osaka-Umeda Station (near Osaka Station), take the Hankyu-Takarazuka Line (best if it is the Express Train because it makes fewer stops). Change trains at Ishibashi Handai-mae Station and get on the Hankyu-Mino Line heading to Minoo. The whole trip takes about 45 minutes.

By car: It’s a very straightforward drive from Osaka to Minoh Park via Route 423. Take the left exit at Hakushima 2-chōme intersection and follow signs for Route 43 toward Katsuoji Temple/Mino Park.

Things to do in Minoh Park

Though the waterfall undoubtedly takes center stage, there’s plenty more to do in Minoo Park.

1. Photograph Minoo Falls

Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

The highlight of Minoh Park is the 33-meter (108-foot) waterfall that marks the end of the main walking path.

Pristine water cascades over a rugged cliff face, plunging into a crystal-clear pool surrounded by lush greenery.

Minoo Park Osaka Japan

To get the iconic shot, stop before the last footbridge over the river and photograph the bright red bridge against the backdrop of the falls.

In front of the waterfall is a paved observation platform with benches. During peak times, the platform is packed with people clamoring to get a shot of the falls. 

2. Try momiji tempura

Momiji tempura Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

Pop quiz! If you’ve ever seen a maple tree and thought, “that looks delicious!”, then you might be: A) a beaver, B) the inventor of momiji tempura, or C) Canadian.

The answer… B) the inventor of momiji tempura!

I’ll admit that at first glance, deep-fried maple leaves might sound a little off-putting. But in Minoh Park, you’ll find the main walking path lined with vendors selling this peculiar snack.

foods to eat in Japan | deep fried maple leaves
Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

Fresh young maple leaves are plucked from the trees and preserved in salt for a year. Then they’re coated in a slightly sweet batter, fried in hot oil, and sold at ¥200-300 for a small bag (less than $2 USD).

It’s more of a novelty than anything, but they’re fun to try! The leaves don’t really have a flavor, but an interesting texture. Meanwhile, the batter is kind of like eating a waffle cone – very crunchy and just a little sweet.

We’d recommend finding a stand where they are making them fresh instead of just buying a bag on display.

Good to know: Eating while walking is considered rude in Japan, so find a place to sit and enjoy your snack before continuing on the trail.

3. Explore Ryuan-ji Temple

Ryuan-ji Temple Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

Ryuan-ji Temple was founded in 658 by En no Gyoja, a legendary mystic and practitioner of asceticism. It enshrines the goddess Benzaiten, a deity who is worshiped by both Buddhist and Shinto religions.

Among other things, Benzaiten is associated with financial fortune, so it makes sense that Ryuan-ji is known as the birthplace of the lottery in Japan. But in ancient times, blessings and health were raffled instead of money.

There are several buildings throughout the temple grounds that house important images of both Benzaiten and En no Gyoja. Nestled in the natural landscapes of Minoh Park, it’s a nice place to walk around and enjoy the serene surroundings.

4. Stroll along the Minoo River

Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

The trail to Minoh Falls follows along the meandering Minoo River, with picturesque footbridges criss-crossing the stream.

The paved path is mostly flat(ish), making it an easy walk and a great option for families with small children and strollers.

It takes around 45 minutes to get to the waterfall, which marks the end of the path. You’ll find snack vendors as well as a few restrooms along the way.

5. Choose a more challenging hiking trail

Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

The main trail to Minoh Falls is not so much a hike as an easy out-and-back on a paved walking path. But if you want to get a sweat on, there are a few other trails in the park you can choose from:

  • Minoh Waterfalls Loop: Starting out on the main path, this loop veers off and takes you up into the hills before reconnecting to the waterfall trail.
    • Distance: 7.4 km loop (4.6 miles)
    • Elevation gain: 354 meters (1,161 feet)
  • Minoo Loop: A similar loop to the above, but this route departs from the main trail at the beginning. Note: this trail does not reach Minoh Falls, so you will have to add time and distance if you want to see the waterfall.
    • Distance: 7.1 km loop (4.4 miles)
    • Elevation gain: 434 meters (1,424 feet)
  • Minoh Station – Minoh Waterfalls – Katsuo-ji Temple: This route follows the main walking path all the way to Minoh Falls, then continues on to Minohgawa Dam and Katsuo-ji Temple. Note: this is a point-to-point trail, so you will need to catch a bus back to Minoh Station. There’s a bus stop right by the temple.
    • Distance: 7.6 km one-way (4.7 miles)
    • Elevation gain: 545 meters (1,788 feet)

6. Dine at a riverside restaurant

Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

There are a bunch of snack stalls and vending machines along the main walking path in Minoo Park. But if you’d rather have a sit-down meal, here are a few options:

7. Discover the insectarium

If bugs are your thing, you won’t want to miss the Minoh Park Insect Museum.

The forests of Minoh have long drawn entomologists to study their vast diversity of insect life. The insectarium opened in 1953 to share that knowledge with the public.

The museum offers exhibits showcasing thousands of biological specimens as well as living insects, including a butterfly garden.

  • Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Wednesday to Monday (last entry at 4:30 p.m.)
  • Entry fee: ¥280
  • Google Maps location

8. See the famous fall foliage

Momiji maple leaves Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

Minoh Park is often considered one of the best places in Japan to see the famous fall foliage. In fact, most of the images that pop up if you Google “Minoh Park” showcase the tapestry of colors that paint the park in late autumn.

Fiery crimson Japanese maples hang over the sparkling falls and crunch underfoot on the path, while golden-yellow ginkgo leaves drift lazily down the babbling stream.

Grab your camera and a bag of deep-fried maple leaves and take part in the Japanese tradition of momijigari, or “red leaf hunting”. (Kind of like what we refer to as “leaf peeping” in the US.)

Good to know: Autumn is the most popular time to visit Minoo Park, so it follows that it is also the busiest season. Expect crowded pathways and a jam-packed observation platform at the waterfall.

9. Enjoy a post-hike soak

Onsen in Japan

There’s nothing better after a walk or hike than treating your tired muscles to a steamy soak.

There used to be a couple of footbaths near Minoh Park, but from what we’ve heard both are now closed. However, the Minoh Onsen Spa Garden at the Minoh Kanko Hotel is open to day visitors.

  • Hours: 10 a.m. – 11:45 p.m. (last entry at 10:45 p.m.)
  • Entry fee: ¥1,813 on weekdays, ¥2,253 on weekends and holidays (about $12-15 USD)
  • Restrictions: No tattoos allowed
  • Google Maps location

10. Try to spot one of Minoh Park’s cutest residents

Japanese macaque

There are wild Japanese macaques living in the forested mountains of Minoo Park and it’s not unheard of to see a monkey or two hanging out by the waterfall.

If you’re lucky enough to see one, take photos but keep your distance. Hold onto your belongings (monkeys love to steal!), and please, please, please don’t feed these wild animals

Feeding the monkeys can result in hefty fines. Also, they can get super aggressive when food is on the line. Also, it’s just not environmentally responsible. Just don’t do it.

Best time to visit Minoh Park

Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

Minoo Park is open year-round and each season provides its own unique experience:

  • Autumn is widely considered the best time to visit for the flaming red momiji (Japanese maples) that hang over Minoh Falls. Keep in mind that this is also the busiest season, so be prepared for crowds.
  • Winter in the park looks stunning with a dusting of snow.
  • While Minoh Park isn’t among Japan’s renowned cherry blossom destinations, springtime offers comfortable temperatures and budding trees.
  • We visited in August on a holiday weekend and it wasn’t too crowded. Summer in Japan is also rainy season, and I must say that Minoo Falls looks much fuller in our photos than in a lot of other pictures I’ve seen!

If you’re having trouble deciding when to plan your trip, never fear! We’ve got you covered with a detailed guide on the best time to visit Japan.

What to pack for Minoh Park

Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

You don’t need to pack much for a day trip to Minoo Park, but here are a few things to remember:

  • Daypack: Having a small backpack will be a good way to carry your belongings.
  • Water: There are lots of vending machines and snack stands along the trail, but bring your own water bottle to reduce your environmental impact. This bottle is insulated to keep your water cold and has a built-in straw for easy drinking.
  • Photo equipment: If you’re into photography, you may want your camera (and maybe even a tripod) for this place.
  • Comfortable shoes: Wearing comfy shoes is a must, as you’ll be clocking in lots of steps.
  • Umbrella: If rain is forecast, you may want to bring an umbrella (or wear a lightweight raincoat).
  • Bug repellant: During the peak of the summer months, you may want to bring some bug repellant as you’ll likely encounter some mosquitoes on this forested riverside trail.

Before you leave, be sure to check out these super helpful guides full of packing hacks and tips for traveling in Japan that you won’t find anywhere else:

  • Our Japan packing guide lists all the essentials (many of which you might not think about), as well as what you should NOT pack for a trip to Japan.
  • This article on what to wear in Japan will help you create a perfect capsule wardrobe for every season and let you in on some cultural taboos so you can be sure to dress appropriately.
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FAQs about Minoo Park

Still have questions about visiting Minoo Park? We have answers!

Is Minoo Park worth it?

Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

Yes, we think so!

Minoh Park is so easy to do as a day trip from Osaka, and we think it’s a great way to break up your time in the big city with a nature escape.

How much does it cost to go to Minoo Park?

It’s free to enter the park, but the train to get there is not covered in the JRail Pass. A return trip from Osaka Station costs ¥540 per person (about $3.60 USD). You’ll also want to budget a bit of money for lunch or snacks along the way.

How long do you need at Minoh Park?

Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

We think 3-4 hours is enough time to visit Minoo Park (including transportation to and from Osaka).

The train ride is 1.5 hours round-trip, and the main walking path to the waterfall also takes about 1.5 hours out-and-back. Give yourself a bit more time if you plan additional activities.

Can you swim at Minoh Falls?

Minoo Minoh Park Osaka Japan

No, visitors are not allowed to enter the pool or stream in the park or at Minoh Falls.

Is it Minoo or Minoh?

Great question! I wondered this myself.

The kanji for Minoo Park (箕面公園) is romanized as both “Minoo” and “Minoh”, and both can be used interchangeably

Sometimes it’s even written as “Minō”, which could be confusing for English speakers given that it’s pronounced “meen-oo”, not meen-oh.

More resources for traveling in Japan

We have TONS of resources on travel in Japan and destinations throughout the country. Check out our Ultimate Japan Travel Guide for all the answers to your most burning questions, or read some of our favorite articles below!

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