Traveling to Japan may require long time planning; there are so many good places to visit that sometimes it is hard to decide where to go. In the Kansai region, Kyoto and Osaka are the main spots because several temples and castles are open to visitors. However, there are some spots that are not well-known by tourists, but visiting them can bring you unique experiences.
A city in the northern Osaka prefecture called Minoo is a good example of that. Minoo has a famous park located near to Hankyu Minoo station. The park is in a forested valley, a good spot to escape from the busiest places in Osaka and have a special time with your partner.
Minoo Park is one of the oldest parks in Japan and it is a place that is worth visiting in any season; however, the park is a popular spot specially during autumn, when the maple leaves turn into amazing red and gold colors.
When you arrive at Minoo station you will find a small neighborhood, with some restaurants and small stores. To go to the park, you should take a small trail among the buildings. When you enter the park, you will encounter a hiking trail – it takes around 50-60 minutes to reach the top around three kilometers). The journey up is a bit steeper and surrounded by trees, but the trail goes alongside Minoo River, making the journey more beautiful and refreshing.
If you want to make the trip a little bit more interesting, there is an insect museum along the way. The place has a large number of Japanese and worldwide insect species. But the most interesting point of the visit is the butterfly room. The place is romantic and magic – the colorful butterflies flying around you make you feel like you are in a fairytale.

Insect museum©Caroline Pereira /JapanFor2

In addition, during the course you can find several temples and gardens – where you can take amazing pictures. If you want to eat a delicious and traditional Japanese dessert or drink some tea, there are several small restaurant and other facilities around the main trail.

One traditional Japanese restaurant around the trail.

One traditional Japanese restaurant around the trail.©Caroline Pereira /JapanFor2

Finishing the hiking, the last part of the trip hides a special gift: Minoo waterfall. The waterfall has 33 meters and it is the park’s main attraction. Actually, Minoo city was named after this waterfall – the fall shape resembles a traditional Japanese garment made of straw known as mino.
The area near the waterfall is superb. During summer, families bring their kids to play around as the year-around cold water is an excellent way to escape from the hot weather. Moreover, near the waterfall there are a few benches where you can rest and enjoy the view. This place is always full of couples and it is the best spot for an iconic picture.

The romantic Minoo waterfall.

After enjoying Minoo Park what would be the best way to end the trip than enjoying a good hot spring? On your way down you must stop by Minoo Kanko Spa Garden. The hot spring is located on a high ground and has a spectacular view from Osaka city.

The spa offers different attractions to the visitors; pools, saunas, indoor and outdoor hot springs, game area and one of the largest buffets in Kansai area. For an exquisite experience, the rooftop indoor and outdoor baths are my recommendation; from there guests can view both the sunrise and sunset and during autumn, the city view contrasts with the red maple leaves in Minoo Park.

Caroline Pereira /JapanFor2