Visiting Japan at any time of year is magical, even more so when you craft your Japan trip itinerary around the country’s incredible fall foliage season. Osaka is no exception. Along with spring, when Osaka’s cherry blossoms are full bloom, autumn is the best time to visit Osaka as a beautiful cavalcade of fall colours overtakes the city.
Ready to plan the ultimate fall trip? Get the most out of autumn in Osaka with this guide to the city’s best fall foliage spots for 2018…
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When is fall foliage season in Osaka?
For the most part, Osaka’s fall foliage season starts to kick up in mid-October. The change over the next couple months is gradual, hitting its absolute peak around the middle of November when 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, two other fantastic destinations for autumn in Japan, hit their stride slightly earlier than Osaka with the leaves starting to change a few weeks earlier.
Autumn in Osaka: The best fall foliage viewing spots
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. Along with the park’s cherry and plum groves (both spectacular sights during the spring blossom), the park is home to a ton of maple and gingko trees that bring their A-game in fall.
Besides walking around Osaka Castle Park to admire its wonderful shades under pleasant autumn skies, scoot up to the namesake castle’s 5th-floor observatory 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 public transportation. Both Morinomiya Station and Osakajokoen Station on the Osaka Loop Line will spit you out directly into the park.
Even if you’ve only carved out one day in Osaka, you’ll probably traverse the mega-boulevard of Mido-suji, surging between the popular Kita and Namba area, more than a couple times. Famous for housing some of the best shopping in Osaka and some of the city’s best restaurants, Mido-suji entrances visitors with one more thing: its autumn colours.
Visitors strolling along Mido-suji during the fall season are treated to its brilliant golden gingko leaves, adding much needed colour to Osaka’s often sober cityscapes. With its central location and the multitude shops, boutiques, and eating options, Mido-suji is perhaps the easiest place to get your fall fix in Osaka.
How to get to Mido-suji
Since 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 just 25 minutes from central Osaka. Strolling around this Quasi-National park (weird concept, I know) unfolds a world of bright red maple trees 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 running from Hankyu Minoo Station to Minoo Waterfall. Along the way be sure to take in the autumn scenes at Ryuanji Temple whose distinctive vermillion bridge seems a perfect match for the bright reds of its surrounding Japanese maples. For the full autumn experience at Minoo Park, taste some momiji tempura, a unique snack consisting 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 but hits its peak in the fall when its surrounding maples erupt into piercing reds.
Besides wandering the hiking trails around Katsuo-ji to admire the fall colours, the temple is famous for its “winner’s luck.” From far and wide worshippers descend upon Katsuo-ji to pray for good fortune in both their professional and personal lives as embodied by the colourful daruma (small Buddhist tumbling dolls) 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 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, revealing a rich trove of important sites including the Daisen Kofun, the world’s largest burial mound.
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 autumn
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: A hip 3-star that 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: A delightful riverside hotel sporting sophisticated decor and stellar nighttime city views over Osaka. Offers a free shuttle bus to/from Osaka Station for guests’ convenience.
- InterContinental Hotel Osaka: A brilliant 5-star in the heart of Umeda that’s one of the best luxury hotels in Osaka. The spacious rooms feature modern furnishings and 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.