Visiting Japan at any time of year is magical. It’s even more so when you craft your Japan trip itinerary around the fall foliage season. Autumn in Osaka is no exception.
Along with spring, when Osaka’s cherry blossoms are full bloom, autumn is the best time to visit Osaka. In fall, a beautiful cavalcade of fall colours overtakes the city.
Ready to plan the ultimate fall trip? Get the most out of Osaka in autumn with this guide to the city’s best fall foliage spots for 2021…
When is fall foliage season in Osaka?
Osaka’s fall foliage season starts to kick up in mid-October. The change over the next couple months is gradual. The season hits its peak around the middle of November. In mid-November, the city’s foliage is at its brightest and most spellbinding.
In general, the fall foliage in Osaka is at its best between mid-November and early December. Nearby Kyoto and Nara are two other fantastic destinations for autumn in Japan. They hit their stride earlier than Osaka with their leaves starting to change a few weeks earlier.
Best fall foliage viewing spots in Osaka in autumn
Osaka Castle Park
One of Osaka’s most popular attractions, Osaka Castle Park, is also one of the best places in the city to catch the beautiful fall colours at their peak.
Osaka Castle Park is famous for its cherry and plum groves. Both are spectacular during the spring blossom. Lesser-known, though, are the park’s maple and gingko trees. They bring their A-game in fall.
Walk around Osaka Castle Park to admire its wonderful shades under pleasant autumn skies. After you’re done, save time to scoot up to the namesake castle’s 5th-floor observatory. You’ll be able to catch the fall colours descending upon Osaka from above.
How to get to Osaka Castle Park
It’s super easy to get to Osaka Castle Park via Osaka’s public transportation. Both Morinomiya Station and Osakajokoen Station on the Osaka Loop Line will spit you out into the park.
Even if you’ve carved out one day in Osaka, you’ll probably traverse Mido-suji more than a couple times. This mega-boulevard surges between the popular Kita and Namba areas.
Mido-suji is famous for hosting some of the best shopping in Osaka and some of the city’s best restaurants. But Mido-suji entrances visitors with one other thing: its autumn colours.
Strolling along Mido-suji in the fall season you’re treated to its brilliant golden gingko leaves. They add much-needed colour to Osaka’s sober cityscapes. With its central location, shops, boutiques, and eating joints, Mido-suji is the easiest place to get your fall fix in Osaka.
How to get to Mido-suji
Mido-suji is one of the main streets of Osaka. There’s numerous access points throughout the city. To take on the most popular stretch, find your way to Namba Station and advance to street-level via Exits 14 or 25. Walk north towards Dotonbori to start digging in.
Want to wallow among the best fall foliage in Osaka? Escape to the bliss of Minoo Park, located 25 minutes from central Osaka. Strolling around this Quasi-National park (weird concept, I know) unfolds a world of bright red maple trees. They’re punctuated by mountains, hiking trails, temples, and even a waterfall.
To get the most out of your visit to Minoo Park, take on the three-kilometre main hiking trail. It runs from Hankyu Minoo Station to Minoo Waterfall.
Along the way be sure to take in the autumn scenes at Ryuanji Temple. The distinctive vermillion bridge is a perfect match for the bright reds of its surrounding Japanese maples. For the full autumn experience at Minoo Park, taste some momiji tempura. This unique snack consists of a maple leaf deep fried in tempura batter.
How to get to Minoo Park
From Umeda Station, take the Hankyu Takarazuka Line to Ishibashi Station. Transfer to the Hankyu Minoo Line, riding it the rest of the way to Minoo Station. The total journey is only about 25 minutes from Umeda.
Like Minoo Park, Katsuo-ji Temple is the perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of Osaka. Located about 45 minutes the city, this Buddhist temple is beautiful year-round. It hits its peak in the fall, though, when its surrounding maples erupt into piercing reds.
There’s more to Katsuo-ji than wandering its hiking trails to admire the fall colours. The temple is also famous for its “winner’s luck.” From far and wide worshippers descend upon Katsuo-ji to pray for good fortune in their professional and personal lives. Good luck is embodied by the colourful daruma. These small Buddhist tumbling dolls are sprinkled around the temple.
How to get to Katsuo-ji Temple
From Kita Senri Station (Hankyu Line), take bus number 27 or 29. The journey to Katsuo-ji takes about 30 minutes.
A little outside of Osaka in Sakai City, Daisen Park presents one of the most colourful fall scenes in the area. Wandering through Daisen Park spins a tapestry of golden ginkgos and shimmering maples. They’re set among blissful Japanese garden scenery.
Even without its beautiful autumn scenery, Daisen Park chimes in as one of the Japan’s top 100 historical parks. It reveals a rich trove of important sites. The park is home to Daisen Kofun, the world’s largest burial mound. On top of that, Daisen Park is also one of the top cherry blossom viewing spots in Osaka!
How to get to Daisen Park
From Namba Station take the Nankai-Koya Line to Mikunigaoka Station. Transfer to the JR Hanwa Line and travel one stop south to Mozu Station. From the station, Daisen Park is just a short 5-minute walk west.
Where to stay in Osaka in fall
Whether you’re visiting in autumn or any other time of the year, many of the top places to stay in Osaka lie around the two downtown areas of Kita and Namba. Here are a few quick recommendations:
- MOXY Osaka Honmachi by Marriott: This hip 3-star offers excellent value in a quieter corner of Minami. Rooms are cozy and decked out with trendy designs that defy hotel chain norms.
- Mitsui Garden Hotel Osaka Premier: This delightful riverside hotel is one of Osaka’s best mid-rangers. It sports sophisticated decor and stellar nighttime city views over Osaka. The hotel offers a free shuttle bus to/from Osaka Station for guests’ convenience.
- InterContinental Hotel Osaka: This brilliant 5-star is located in the heart of Umeda. It’s one of the best luxury hotels in Osaka. The spacious rooms feature modern furnishings. You’ll also get incredible city views through large picture windows. Dine at the exquisite 20th-floor French restaurant, Pierre. Or sip a nightcap at Adee Bar and Lounge for the ultimate in-hotel experience.