Osaka in Autumn: 10 Places to Enjoy the Changing Leaves

Lily Crossley-Baxter

Osaka’s autumn leaves transform quiet corners of the busy city into seasonal treats, from temples to mountains and beyond.

Turning a tempting blend of golden browns and pleasing reds from mid-November to early December, Osaka is a great city to explore in autumn. While some spots are day-trip destinations or hiking adventures, you can also pick from the central options if you’re short on time. Walking up Midosuji Avenue or visiting the castle are perfect ways to see Osaka autumn leaves even if you’re on a tight schedule.

This year the autumn leaves are expected to arrive a little earlier than usual, with the latest forecast released in early September. Depending on the leaves you would like to see (red maples or yellow ginkgo for example) the specific locations will vary, as their plants will determine the times within the Osaka-wide season, so be sure to check ahead if you want the absolute peak for each. Osaka’s yellow leaves are expected to peak around November 23, 2019, while the red leaves will be at their best on December 1 (strangely specific dates courtesy of the Japan Meteorological team).

1. Osaka Castle

2019 Peak: Mid-November to early December

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osaka castle autumn leaves
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The sightseeing spot that just keeps on giving, Osaka Castle’s hundreds of cherry and plum trees transform the surrounding Nishinomaru Park into an autumnal beauty spot. Rows of golden gingko trees line the paths leading to the iconic castle tower, with one aged at over a century old.

While enjoying the colors from ground level is pretty satisfying, a trip up the tower offers a vista of the whole city, with the various parks providing a seasonal take on the already stunning view.

Hours: 9 am to 5 pm (last entry 4:30 pm)
Access: Choose from Osaka Business Park, Osakajo-koen or Temmabashi Stations.
Entry: ¥200 for the gardens, ¥600 for the castle tower.

2. Hoshida Park Suspension Bridge

2019 Peak: Mid-November to mid-December



Hoshida Park Suspension Bridge
Photo by SuperTaiyaki used under CC

Located in a quasi-national park, the Hoshi no Buranko (meaning star swing) is possibly one of the most stunning autumn views in the whole of Japan, let alone Osaka. Offering views across the 105 ha park, the largely wooden suspension bridge is 50 m high and allows you to look down across the trees (assuming you’re not scared of heights of course).

The park is home to multiple hiking trails and a 16 ft artificial climbing wall, so there are plenty of ways to experience the foliage. The park is a 40-minute hike from the nearest station and they are currently expecting peak colors at around mid-November.

Hours: 9 am–5 pm, final entry to the bridge is at 4:30 pm.
Access: Hike from Kisaichi Station on the Keihan Line, 45 minutes from Osaka Station.
Entry: Free



3. Daisen Park | 大仙公園

2019 Peak: Late November to mid-December

maple leaves osaka
Photo by Tetsuji Sakakibara used under CC

Home to one of the country’s top 100 Japanese gardens, Daisen Park is a popular autumn spot as it combines landscaping with deep-red leaves. The views in miniature aren’t overwhelmed with autumnal colours, but the carefully selected trees provide a beautiful scene straight from traditional paintings. The garden has a small teahouse where you can try a seasonal sweet with green tea while enjoying the view before exploring the rest of the park.

Hours: 9:30 am–5 pm for the park, 4:30 pm for the Japanese Garden (last entry at 4 pm). Closed Mondays.
Access: Head to Mozu Station on the Hanwa Line – 35 minutes from Osaka or 10 from Tennoji.
Price: The park is free, the Japanese garden costs ¥200.

4. Expo ‘70 Commemorative Park | 万博記念公園

2019 Peak: Mid-November to early December

Expo ‘70 Commemorative Park Fall Foliage
Photo by TAKA@P.P.R.S used under CC

Known as Banpaku Kinenkoen in Japanese, this large park was once used to host the pavilions of the Japan World Exposition in 1970, and is still going strong on that claim to fame. Featuring forests, lawns, a Japanese garden, thousands of cherry trees and the Momiji Waterfall, it’s a great place to view the autumn leaves (70s clothing optional).

The Sorado Promenade is a great place to view the waterfall as the maple leaves turn a deep red as the season progresses. The park itself is also pleasant to stroll through, with plenty of pleasing hues surrounding the unusual park symbols like the Tower of the Sun by Taro Okamoto.

Hours: 9:30 am–5 pm, last entry at 4:30 pm. The park is closed on Wednesdays, but not in October/November.
Access: Catch the Osaka Monorail to Expo Memorial Park Station (bampakukinenkoen on hyperdia), about 20 minutes of you take the Midosuji Line from Umeda to Senri-Chuo and change there.
Entry: Park entry is ¥250, the Japanese garden costs an additional ¥250.

5. Mino Falls & Katsuoji | 箕面公園 & 応頂山 勝尾寺

2019 Peak (Katsuoji): Mid-November to late November
2019 Peak (Mino Falls): Mid-November to early December

mino falls osaka
Photo by Go Imai used under CC

One of the most popular spots for an afternoon out in Osaka, Minoo Park is a soft hike along a river with a few bonus spots along the way. Ending in the picturesque view of Mino Falls complete with small bridge (and probably lots of people), the walk is about 3 km long and has a few bonus spots along the way, like Katsuoji, a small but popular temple known for its links with Daruma (the small red figures). There are shops and small restaurants along the way so be sure to try the fried manju leaves—an autumn specialty. They hold a momiji festival through November, with stalls and plenty of tasty autumnal treats.

Hours: Always open
Illumination: Katsuoji is lit up during early evening on weekends and holidays during the season, but transport is limited so plan ahead.
Access: From Umeda Station take the Takarazuka Line to Ishibashi and change to the Minoo Line, getting off at Minoo Station. It takes just under half an hour and costs ¥270.
Entry: Free

7. Ushitakisan Daitokuji | 大威徳寺

2019 Peak: Mid-November to early December

Fall color, walls of Daitoku-ji
Photo by Kim Unertl used under CC

An area of mountains well known for autumn foliage, Ushitikayama is home to Daitokuji—a temple with a two-story pagoda designated as an Important Cultural Asset. Framed with the colors of autumn, the Tahoto pagoda, bell tower and Daishodo Hall all make for a stunning view, and although it’s at the end of a pretty long bus journey, it’s worth it.

There is a momiji (maple) avenue to stroll down, the beautiful Kinryu Falls nearby and stalls selling local, seasonal goods. The temple is one of Japan’s oldest and was used by Kukai in the 9th century.

On the same bus route, get off at Ushitaki-Onsen Seseragiso-mae bus stop if you fancy a soak in the feather-like waters of Iyoyaka no Sato—an onsen with outdoor baths.

Hours: No closing hours but public transport is relatively limited, so check in advance
Access: From Kishiwada Station (25 minutes from Namba Station on the airport express) catch the local Nankai bus to Ushitakayama (50 minutes). You can also catch the bus from Kumeda Station on the JR Hanwa Line (50 minutes from Osaka Station with one change).
Entry: Free

8. Midosuji Avenue | 御堂筋

2019 Peak: Mid-November to early December

Midosuji Avenure autumn leaves
Photo by iStock.com/gyro

A 4 km stretch of unusually wide road, Midosuji Avenue is lined with ginkgo trees and transformed into a golden haven every autumn. Located in Shinsaibashi, it includes high-end stores and boutiques as well as becoming a romantic place for a stroll in the evening.

Nicknamed the Champs Élysées of Japan, it has over 800 trees and is an easy-to-visit autumn spot right in the heart of the city.

Hours: Open 24/7
Access: The street is between Hommachi or Yodoyobashi stations but is within walking distance of Shinsaibashi, Kitahama and Higobashi stations too.
Entry: Free

9. Mount Kongo

autumn leaves koyo
Photo by Takashi .M used under CC

On prefectural border with Nara, Mount Kongo is Osaka’s tallest mountain and is popular in winter for ice trees (juhyo), but also has some stunning autumnal foliage to admire. Part of the Kongo Katsuragi range, it is 1,125 m tall and home to castle ruins, temples and shrines as well as plenty of hiking routes perfect for all levels.

There is a ropeway and views from the top can stretch all the way to Kobe on a clear day. The Chihaya Castle ruins are an unmissable spot during autumn. Please note: The ropeway is currently closed, you can check here to see status updates (and enjoy the 80s website design of nightmares).

Hours: Open all year round but the ropeway closes at 5 pm.
Access: Catch the Nankai Koya line from Namba Station to Kawachinagano where you can catch a bus to the Mount Kongo Ropeway – Chihaya Station. (¥720 for adults, 9 am–5 pm).
Entry: Free

10. Kyuanji Temple

2019 Peak: Mid-November to early December

Kyuanji Temple
Photo by Lindsay Bernsten used under CC

One of the most popular spots to enjoy fall leaves in northern Osaka, Kyuanji has its own festival which is generally held on the third Sunday of November, although this has not been confirmed for 2019 as of this writing.

Kyuanji Temple
Photo by Lindsay Bernsten used under CC

The event has a tea ceremony, as well as traditional practices and is a great way to celebrate the sights and flavors of autumn.

The ancient temple is known for its traditional and long-lasting buildings as well as its maple leaves which enhance the already beautiful gardens. Be sure to see the pagoda, bell tower and ancient trees—and if you have time, try the forest-bathing course.

Hours: 9 am–4 pm
Access: Head to Ikeda Station on the Hankyu Takarazuka Line and catch the bus for Kyuuanji from there (15 minutes).
Entry: ¥300

This post is updated annually. Last update: October 2019.

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Filed under: Things to Do
Tags: Autumn, Autumn Leaves, Fall, Featured, Koyo, Momoji, Nature, Outdoors
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