Autumn is my favorite season: a cool breeze comes to relieve people from the hot Japanese summer and the wonderful colors from maple leaves (momiji) show up, making the unique landscapes of Japan breathtaking.
Similar to what happens in spring; Japanese like to spend their free time appreciating the autumn beautiful colors. If you ask any Japanese their favorite spot to do that, each person will mention different places and believe me, if you visit any of them, you will have singular experiences.
One of my favorites spots in Kansai area to see the maple leaves is the Expo’ 70 Commemoration Park, also called Bampaku Kinen Koen. The park is one of the most famous spots in Osaka. Couples, families and friends fill the park all around the year. The park is located in Suita City, has 264 hectares and offers attractions to their visitors, such as Japanese gardens, museums and more.
Even the way to the park is special; the easiest way to get to Expo park is by monorail. The Osaka monorail was known as one of the longest monorail systems in the world and its elevated rails give you a nice view from Osaka city during the journey. In addition, when you are nearby the Expo park station, you will be amazed by an iconic monument present in the park.
The monument is one of the park’s highlights: The Tower of the Sun. It was created by a famous Japanese artist, Taro Okamoto. The tower was constructed for the World’s Fair in 1970 and since then, it became the park’ symbol. The tower has three faces that represent different time frames: the golden mask represents the future (at the apex of the tower), in the front is the face of the Sun that represents the present and, on its back, there is a blue face that represents the past. The tower is not only impressive from outside, but from inside too. The interior of the tower has a representation of the tree of life, showing the course of life evolution. After taking exceptional pictures from the Tower of the sun, you can enjoy nature and the other facilities in the park.
There are several gardens around the park and this makes the place full of flowers during all seasons; plums can be seen in February, cherry blossoms in April, sunflowers in August… And of course, during autumn the park becomes more beautiful due the red maple trees. Moreover, the large grass fields are an invitation for a relaxing time and picnic.
Museums are also a recommended attraction of Expo Park. The Japan Folk Craft museum has ceramic wares and dyed fabrics from Japanese and foreigner artists. On the other hand, the National Museum of Ethnology has different exhibitions. There, you can learn about Japan’s ancient origins starting from the Jomon period (14,000 B.C). This museum also has exhibitions on cultures from across the globe: sections about Asia, Oceania, America, Africa and Europe. All the exhibitions are translated, so you can have a worldwide cultural experience without leaving the park.
Expo park also hides secrets for those that are looking for adventure. The park has a boardwalk aerial promenade that was built as high as the trees’ canopy; walking there brings you a fascinating view of the forest around the park. Along the way, you will also find a small waterfall where many couples spend time on the benches, enjoying the scenery. At the end of the trail, there is a wooden tower from where you can have a peculiar view not only from the park, but also from the city. Especially during the sunset, you will have the chance to take beautiful pictures of the landscape.
The trip to Expo Park will is not only about nature. After visiting the park, you and your partner can also enjoy the newly developed shopping mall LaLaport Expocity. This mall has many stores (around 300) from Japanese and western brands, IMAX theater, an aquarium (Nifrel) and a facility produced by Sega in collaboration with UK’s BBC Earth (Orbi Osaka).
Nifrel is mostly known as an aquarium, but actually it is also a small zoo; some animals roam in the building and the visitors can interact with them. Not only that, Nifrel also has several exhibitions about wildlife and biodiversity.
Nature and wildlife are also the theme of Orbi Osaka. The place is a virtual wildlife park. It was designed to make the guests have a multisensory experience during the visit while exploring Earth. Thirteen theaters and several exhibitions can make you feel like traveling around the world.
In addition, if you like anime and manga, you definitely must visit the Gundam café. It is located at the mall’s main entrance. There you can buy many souvenirs and enjoy a cute and delicious coffee.
Lalaport is very impressive and easy to navigate; not only that, but the food court and restaurant area offer you different and delicious options to have a date dinner – to keep your energy up after so much fun.
Finally, before ending you trip to Osaka, you cannot miss a ride at the Japan’s tallest ferris wheel. The Redhorse Ferris wheel was opened in July 2016 and it has gondolas with transparent floor. The ride takes 18 minutes and the night view of Osaka City is for sure a romantic grand finale for this adventure.