Located just north of Osaka city lies a hidden gem that has been captivating visitors for decades. With its tranquil ambiance, breathtaking beauty, and unique museum dedicated to insects, Minoh Falls should be on every nature lovers bucket list!
Tucked away in the scenic Minoh Quasi-National Park, Minoh Falls and the Minoh Park Museum of Insects offer a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of the big city. In this blog post, we'll delve into the wonders of Minoh Falls, the best times to visit, and what to expect. We'll also talk briefly about the captivating Minoh Park Museum of Insects, and the experiences these places offer visitors.
Note: Minoh Falls can also be spelled Mino, Minoo, or Mino-o.
About Minoh Falls
Minoh Falls (箕面大淹 in Japanese), is a stunning 33-meter-high waterfall located in the northern outskirts of Osaka, within the Minoh Quasi-National Park. The journey to Minoh Falls involves a scenic hike through lush greenery, providing an opportunity to connect with nature and enjoy the beauty of the surrounding forested mountains.
It's common to have the path all to yourself if visiting early in the morning, or during the off season, however, be aware that during autumn Minoh Falls is an extremely popular place to visit and the path gets very crowded, especially on weekends.
During your hike to the falls, expect to come across towering trees, moss covered rocks, a bubbling river, old bridges, and maybe even a monkey!
When is the Best Time to Visit Minoh Falls?
Months: March to May
Weather: Mild, with occasional rain showers toward the end of the season
Spring is a great time to visit Minoh Falls, thanks to the excellent weather. As the elevation is a little higher than Osaka city, the cherry blossoms here will bloom a little later in the season. The mountain is not covered in cherry blossoms but you can expect to see some along the walk between the station and the falls.
Months: June to August
Weather: Hot and humid, with occasional rain showers at the beginning of the season
In the summer months, Minoh Falls transforms into a lush oasis. The elevation, dense foliage and running water help a little with the extreme heat and humidity, however, be prepared to sweat to the top of the mountain. It's prime season for cicadas, and in the evening you may even get the chance to see some fireflies.
Months: October to November
Weather: Mild, with cooler temperatures in the early morning and late evening
Autumn brings a breathtaking transformation to Minoh Falls, as the lush greenery gives way to a kaleidoscope of fiery colors thanks mainly to the gorgeous Japanese maples lining the path. The colorful leaves create a stunning backdrop against the cascading waterfall. It is the most common time to visit, so go early if you wish to avoid the crowds, Be sure to check online for peak leaf viewing time to make the most of the colorful leaves.
Months: December to February
Weather: Cold temperatures, occasional snowfall
As winter descends upon Minoh Falls, the crowds die down and the area becomes tranquil and serene. Due to the elevation, the mountain area will be much cooler than Osaka city, and its common for snow and ice to form along the upper end of the path. Be sure to dress according to the weather, and wear appropriate shoes.
Practical Information about getting to and from Minoh Falls
To embark on the journey to Minoh Falls and the Minoh Park Museum of Insects, the best way is to arrive by train.
If travelling to Minoh Falls from Osaka, take the Hankyu Takarazuka line train to Ishibashi Handai-mae station (石橋阪大前駅). Here you will need to change trains to the Hankyu Minoh line. Once on the Minoh line, catch the train to Minoh station (箕面駅), which is the end of the line. From here you will see a clearly marked path directing you to the waterfalls.
Although the hike is not difficult, nor extremely long, I'd allocate a couple of hours to getting from the Minoh train station to the falls and back again.
There are some family run stores lining the path at the start of the hike, in addition to some stores at the base of the waterfall that sell snacks like warm taiyaki, ice-cream in various seasonal flavours, and the famous deep-fried Japanese maple leaves (called momiji tempura in Japanese). If visiting in autumn (the best time to visit in my opinion!) you can expect to find stores selling delicious persimmons, and freshly roasted chestnuts soon after exiting the station.
Be sure to look for the free foot bath on the way back down the mountain at the end of your hike. It's sure to help soothe your tired feet. Look for the sign below!
Choose Your Level of Adventure
The hiking trails surrounding Minoh Falls offer a delightful adventure for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. The well-marked paths cater to different levels of difficulty, making it accessible to both novice hikers and seasoned adventurers. The easy hike will take you along a sealed path from the Minoh train station all the way to the waterfall. The hike is steep in some parts, but it is not difficult. Just be sure to wear comfortable shoes for the walk. The more difficult path will require sneakers or hiking boots, as the path tends to get muddy and a little slippery at times.
As you traverse the trails, immerse yourself in the serene ambiance of the forest, encounter babbling streams, and perhaps catch glimpses of local wildlife. The hike to Minoh Falls becomes an integral part of the experience, heightening the anticipation for the majestic waterfall that awaits.
Reaching the Falls
There are signs along the way informing hikers of the distance between themselves and the Minoh train station and Minoh Falls. For those with no sense of direction, it's impossible to get lost on the sealed path.
Once you reach the waterfalls, be sure to take some photos to remember the occasion, enjoy a snack or a drink, and take in the ambience.
Minoh Park Museum of Insects
Located between the Minoh train station and Minoh Falls, the Minoh Park Museum of Insects is a great place to visit for those who are travelling with children. The museum is only small, however it showcases an extensive collection of insects. From intricately preserved specimens to live exhibits, the museum offers a unique opportunity to see some fascinating insects up close. The butterfly house is definitely a highlight.
The museum is catered towards children, so if visiting on a weekday you can expect to bump into school groups visiting the museum. Please note that the majority of displays are in Japanese only.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Minoh Falls
Minoh Falls and the Minoh Park Museum of Insects offer a peaceful escape from Osaka city. From the captivating waterfall to the beautiful butterfly house, these attractions provide an enchanting experience for visitors seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of Japan's big cities.
Minoh Falls is a nature lover's paradise, offering a serene escape and a glimpse into the country's natural wonders. With easy accessibility from Osaka city, it's somewhere that all nature lovers should have on their Osaka itinerary. With its cascading waters and lush surroundings, Minoh Falls promises an unforgettable experience for visitors, especially in autumn!
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