Spent a couple of hours first thing arranging rail passes and picking up tour guides, etc.
As I’d hoped, the trip to Minoo National Park was fairly straight forward: subway to Umeda, railway to Ishibashi then connecting train to Minoh. All in, maybe an hour and a half travel from my base at Namba.
The highlight of the park is the 33m waterfall which is approximately 3km walk along a well laid out path which climbs steadily up through a forest of Momiji and cedar trees and passes some traditional tea-houses and temples. (Not to mention regular vending machines supplying ice cold beers – we could do with some of them back in Scotland!)
The area around the falls is apparently home to wild monkeys and deer, although I saw neither on my visit.
The park is clearly very popular with the locals with families making the most of the beautiful scenery.
I can imagine that in spring and autumn, the forest colours must be amazing. The first signs of autumn were just visible in some of the trees and most guide books recommend November for a visit when the trees are blood red and orange. I’d love to visit again then!
Followers of my photo page on Facebook will know I regularly visit national parks back in Scotland and the first thing that that struck me about Minoo Park was just how busy it was compared to the Scottish parks!
I’m certainly going to have to work hard to get some photos that do justice to the place as the number of people at each location is quite incredible!
The evening was spent with a walk around the entertainment and shopping districts of shinsaibashi and dontonburi and a lovely meal of raw salmon and rice with wasabi and soya sauce. Also had some vegetable tempura and gyoza.
So, a day of contrasts – beautiful forests and waterfalls to begin with and neon lights, karaoke bars and pachinko malls to finish!
Weather permitting, I’m hoping to set off for the bamboo groves of Arashiyama near Kyoto tomorrow.
I’ve been pre-warned that they can be busier than Minoo, but fingers crossed for some nice photo opportunities!
The small tripod I brought has developed a small problem so unless I can locate a small toolkit to fix it, I may be back to handheld shots for the rest of the trip. (Anyone know the japanese for “do you sell Allen keys” ??)
I’ll update you all tomorrow! Thanks for all the nice comments and messages. 🙂