Koyo season is approaching again and hopefully by now you realize how nuts I am for it. I went hiking last week around Cloudland Canyon in Georgia where it is in full fall colors. It was beautiful and it had several waterfalls and the hiking was good. But without the Japanese red maple of Japanese koyo I was left wanting. All the other fall colors are beautiful, but that bright blood red of Japanese maple is special especially against its ashy branches.
I hate myself a little for feeling this way. I love to visit Japan but I’ve seen many other beautiful places in the world. Norway nature is just breathtaking. What has been built in Austria is nothing short of spectacular. But there you have… damn you Japanese maples! And in this post I actually eat Japanese maple.
Minoo Park (alt spelled Minoh, Mino, Minou | Japanese – 箕面公園) is a small valley a quick train ride away from Osaka and its considered Osaka’s outdoor area complete with waterfall. It’s a relatively easy paved hike that takes about 45 minutes from the station to reach the waterfall (where the trail stops). Minoo shines during koyo and everything is maple for that reason.
The easily paved hike. I was walking in heeled boots and it was no big deal.
Tiny cute souvenir shops dot the hike up.
This woodsy tea room was at the midway point. I love the natural decor of it.
The main goal was the waterfall, but the scenery up was always beautiful.
More beautiful colors up and down the hills
Walking up to the waterfall.
I was lucky to catch the light shining with all the perfect reds.
The lovely waterfall and autumn leaves.
Minoo is known for their Momiji tempura which is dipping a maple leaf into a sweetened batter and frying it. They were sweet and crunchy. I don’t think I can compare them to much maybe a sopapilla? Here’s a kotaku post all about them.
On the way up I noticed these temporary platforms. I think they’re part of Kawayuka/Kawadoko which is a Kyoto style of dining with kaiseki meals above rivers during the summer.
Food stall at the waterfall advertising fall specialities like hot sake, oden, and smoked fish.
My blonde head hiking up the hill
Food stalls were everywhere. I picked up a red bean taiyaki. I mean I was hiking I needed some sustenance.
We stopped by this beautiful pottery studio near the train station of Minoo. The older woman who worked the shop said her grandmother invented the red glazing done by the studio and she’s been doing it ever since. Reflecting all the red maples of Minoo park. My man’s parents are really into pottery (have their own studio) so we picked them up one of the beautifully glazed cups.
More info on Minoo here: japan-guide
More koyo posts: here