Before my trip to Wakayama prefecture earlier this month, I had a bit of time to kill when my flight arrived in Osaka super early. Luckily, the Minoh Waterfall was only a short 20 minute train ride away from the airport and I had high hopes of catching the start of the autumn foliage without massive crowds.
Minoh is considered one of the top spots in the Kansai region (Osaka/Kyoto area) to see fall foliage, as evidenced by this colorful manhole cover found near the train station:
Seeing how many maple trees lined the 45 minute trail to the waterfall itself, the reputation as a prime leaf peeping spot is totally justified. Sadly, I was a tad too early. Only one or two trees were red and the rest were still green. The waterfall itself was lovely – it tumbles 33 meters from clifftop to pool and is framed by, you guessed it, maple trees.
Despite being too early for the fall foliage, there were plenty of vendors along the path making the seasonal specialty momiji tempura (battered and fried maple leaves). They can only use yellow maple leaves, which they seemed to have in abundance (despite the lack of them on the trees), and I have to say, it was a fairly tasty treat. You taste more of the sweetened batter than the leaf itself but it definitely made for a unique treat!