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Minoh Falls Hike: Easy Day Trip from Osaka, Japan

The Minoh Falls hike (also referred as Mino or Minoo) is a 6km out-and-back trail through Minoo Park, one of Japan’s oldest National Park. The picturesque riverside trail passes local shops, food stalls, insectarium, Buddhist temples and ends at Minoh Waterfall.

The scenic hiking trail can be visited all year round but it is especially popular during the fall season when all the trees change colours. Plus, Minoo Park is only 20km north of Osaka, which is one of the closest spot to Osaka where you can find a spacious natural recreation area.

Spending the day in Minoo Park was one of my favourite memories when I was travelling solo to Osaka. If you want to spend a day hiking an easy trail, follow my itinerary and learn about all the places you will see along the Minoh Falls hiking trail.

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Minoh Waterfalls Trail: what you need to know

Before starting the Minoh falls hike, take a look at my post on everything you need to know before going to Japan. I included a lot of tips on how to get around Japan and other travel tips.

Here are a few additional travel tips that you may find useful for your day hike to the Minoh Falls:

  • Trail length: 6km (there and back)
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Facilities: many public toilets, vending machines, snack vendors
  • What to bring: comfortable shoes, sunscreen and cash for snacks
  • Trail condition: paved path
  • Best time to go to Minoh Falls: possible all year round, but best in the fall and spring
  • Festivals and events in Minoh:
    • Minoh no Tomi (October 10) – 3 lucky winners will receive a special good luck charm at Ryuanji Temple
    • Minoh no Mori Art Walk (October) – contemporary art installed along the path to the waterfall

Minoo Park Falls Trail Map

The Minoh Waterfalls trail is pretty straight forward. The trail starts from Minoo Station and the paved road will lead you directly to Minoh Waterfall. Here is a visual of the trail:

How to get to Minoo Park

The easiest way to get to Minoo Park is by taking the Hankyu Train from Osaka.

From Osaka-Umeda Station, take the train on Hankyu-Takarazaka Line to Ishibashi handai-mae Station. Then switch trains on the Hankyu-Mino Line and take it all the way to the last stop, Minoo Station. The journey takes 25 minutes and costs ¥280.

If you want to, pick up a hiking map from the tourist information centre next to the station. But this post has all the info that you need.

FYI, there is a special shuttle bus from Minoo Station (20 minutes) to Minoh Waterfall (15 minutes) to Katsuoji Temple. It costs ¥500 each section or ¥2000 a day. You can buy a ticket on the bus. The bus runs between 10am and 6:30pm. The shuttle bus starts from the area in front of Minoo Station.

How to Hike to Minoh Waterfall

1. Find the trailhead for Minoh Falls hike

Exit Minoo Station and find the Yuzuru-kun Stone Statue sitting on the bench, this is the start of the Minoh Falls hike. Yuzuru-kun is a character from Minoh. There is also a manhole cover of Yuzuru-kun nearby.

Not far from the statue are several family-run souvenir shops selling Momiji tempura (deep-fried maple leaves). I bought some at Momijiya but other stores further up the trail sell them too. FYI – the symbol of Minoh City is the Japanese maple, which make up most of the lush greenery in Minoo Park.

Near the stores, there is a sign on the right for Saikoji Temple. I read that the entrance is across a bookshop. There is a steep driveway and after 10 minutes of walking up the path, there is an elevated viewpoint. I missed it completely (maybe because it was too hot) but I’m including it here so you don’t miss it.

2. See Minoh Park Insectarium

Continue up the gentle slope and soon you will see the Minoh Park Insectarium (10am-5pm; closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays; ¥280) on the left. The centre is devoted to insects and it has live specimens, photos and exhibitions. It is tailored to children mostly but might be worth looking if you like bugs.

I didn’t take a photo of the insectarium but it is right before the entrance to Ryuanji Temple.

Across from the entrance, where the red cushions are, is Isoyoshi Kawadoko, a Japanese Kaiseki restaurant. Make reservation ahead of time if you want to have a Kaiseki set meal by the river bed.

3. Wander around Ryuanji Temple

You can either follow the paved path or walk across Ryuanji Temple and continue on the Minoh Falls Trail further up the mountain. I think wandering around the temple is a bit more interesting, plus it is free.

The Buddhist temple was founded by En no Gyoja, a legendary mystic, and the temple has several interesting buildings and features scattered around the premise.

Cross the red Zuiun Bridge on the right and walk up the long stone staircase on the left and explore the temples in the upper section. And this is where you will find Bentendo (main hall) which enshrines one of Japan’s four statues of the Buddhist goddess Benzaiten (Saraswati).

During the fall season, Ryuanji has many red maple trees making it a picture perfect spot for photography. Since the temple is also known as the birthplace of lotteries in Japan, there is an annual event in the fall which gifts three lucky winners a special good luck charm.

Address: 2-23 Minookoen, Minoh, Osaka | Hours: 10am-4pm | Admission: free

4. Continue up the gentle slope

The scenery along the hike is quite spectacular. During summer, the trees provide a lot of shade along the way. This was welcoming especially during the height of summer.

And there are restaurants, coffee shops and little local shops selling food and drinks. I didn’t get any but I certainly appreciate the overall aesthetics of these shops.

5. See Minoh Waterfall

At the end of the trail is the Minoh Waterfall, one of the 100 best waterfalls in Japan. It is 33m tall and the water falls off the steep rocky cliff and flows directly into the Minoo River.

I read somewhere that the name comes from the fall’s appearance. It resembles a winnowing basket used in traditional farming where the basket separates grains from the husk. And in Japanese, the word for winnow basket is “mino”. This name was also applied to the park.

When you visit during the summer, the riverside path and Minoh Waterfall are illuminated from sunset to 10pm. And if you visit during Autumn, you can see all the colours of fall foliage around the majestic waterfall. This is the precise reason why Minoh Falls is so popular during the fall.

6. Retrace your steps to Minoo Station

The Minoh Falls hike is an out-and-back trail (a hiking trail where you hike from the start and return the same way); all you have to do is backtrack the entire way to Minoo Station.

But before you head back, you can enjoy snacks like dango, oden, or ice cream. Several food vendors at the waterfall sell these yummy snacks.

Options for completing the Minoh Falls hike

As mentioned, you can retrace your steps back to Minoo Station and complete your day trip.

But there are add-on options if you have time or want to see more of the area. I went at the end of summer, which was still really hot. So, I chose the beer option. Ha! But I would’ve loved to see the view from the observation deck or go to Katsuoji Temple. I’ll have to go back when it’s cooler.

Here are some options to consider if you want to see other things around and outside of Minoo Park:

  1. Katsuoji Temple – walk up the stairs next to the food stalls near the waterfall. The main road will lead you to the temple famous for its Daruma fortune dolls. The hike is 3km long. Or take the shuttle from Dainichi Parking Lot. From Katsuoji Temple, take the shuttle bus back to Minoo Station or bus 29 to Kita-Senri Station, then train back to Osaka. Note: shuttle bus and bus 29 do not run frequently.
  2. Observation Deck – about 2/3 on the way back to Minoo Station, the steep stairs on the left will lead you to a (sunset) panoramic view. It takes about 20 minutes to reach the top.
  3. Derailleur Brew Works (11am-5:30pm) – grab a craft beef next to Minoo Station before heading back to Osaka.
  4. Minoh Beer Warehouse (11am-7:30pm; closed Thursdays) – it is a 20-minute walk from Minoo Station. It might be worth the trek because they make Mino’s famous craft beer, which has won international awards.

When will you hike the Minoh Waterfalls trail?

The hike to Minoh Falls can be done any time of the year. Springtime can be pleasant, while summer can be a bit hot, and there could be a bit of snowfall in winter.

But most people will probably go in Autumn to catch all the beautiful colours of fall. I read that November is a busy month for Minoo Park, so be prepared for the crowd.

I hope this post inspires you to take a trip outside Osaka and experience a bit of nature. Minoo Park is an excellent day trip destination and suitable for all ages. Let me know in the comments when you are going to Minoo Falls and what it is like during that time of the year.

Thank you for reading my Minoo Falls hiking itinerary

You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Japan:

Introduction to Japan

Kansai region

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 20+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

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