Osaka, which does not have a lot of green spaces in the city anymore, still has many nature-rich areas remaining in the outskirts! Here are five recommended hiking spots where you can fully enjoy nature, centering on the places that you can reach within an hour from Osaka's city center. If you suddenly feel tired of city life, then how about going outside the city for a change of air?
Hoshida Park, which is located in Katano, is most famous for its Hoshi no Buranko (“swing of stars”), more than anything. This wooden suspension bridge, which is one of the longest in Japan, measures 280m in length and 50m in height, so it is very thrilling! If you’re on the bridge and you look down, you'll feel like you’re floating in the forest. The best time to come here would be during fall because you'll be able to marvel at the overwhelming sight of autumn leaves in red and yellow blanketing the forest. There is a hiking trail where you can enjoy the different seasons, as well as a viewing deck that offers a panoramic view of the region, including Kyoto. There is even an artificial rock climbing wall you can use. This park is fully equipped with everything you would need, such as drink vending machines and toilets inside the Information Center.
1. Fumin no Mori Hoshida Park
This forest is located on one side of Nambu Kyuryo hill in idyllic town of Sakai. This facility was built around the theme “forest school,” and it's a rich natural environment and living space of various creatures. It's also as a place that promotes the satoyama culture that comes about from small hills and forests being directly adjacent to human habitation sites. Inside this space are cozy promenades with sunlight filtering through the trees and a piazza with an excellent view where you can enjoy a relaxing walk through the woods while looking at trees, flowering plants, insects, wild birds, and other creatures. There are also organic rice and vegetable fields cultivated using traditional farming methods.
※Photo is for illustration purposes
2. Sakai Shizen Fureai Forest
Mt. Nijo is a mountain that stretches between Taishi and Nara, and it has twin peaks: the Odake peak with an elevation of 517m and the Medake peak with an elevation of 474m. The appeal of this mountain is that it can easily be scaled by novices. There are several trails up the mountain, but the route going up Medake peak from the trail-head Mt. Nijo Tozanguchi (Manyo no Mori) from the Osaka side is the easiest. Most of the routes to the mountain are paved, so beginners and even families can have a great time. The scenery from the summit and the viewing deck is exceptional, too. You can get a full view of the Osaka plains and the Nara basin. It takes about an hour to reach Medake peak from the trailhead and then back. If you want to conquer both peaks, it takes around 4 hours.
3. Mt. Nijo
Mt. Kongo is one of the main peaks in the Kongo mountainous district that also includes Mt. Nijo. Mt. Kongo is the highest peak in all of Osaka at 1,125m, and it sits on the border between Chihaya Akasaka and Nara. There are mountain climbing routes so it's possible for everybody to climb easily. The model route from the trail-head up to the peak, which runs through the ruins of Chihaya and Kunimi Castles and the viewing deck, will require approximately 3 hours to complete. If you ride on the cable car, you can be transported to the viewing deck while gazing at the mountain range and Osaka Bay in no time.
4. Mt. Kongo
Mt. Inunaki, a popular area thanks to its rich natural environment and beautiful valley, is located in Izumisano, near Kansai International Airport. It is considered a sacred place for Shugendo (a unique Japanese religion in which worshipers go into the mountains and practice asceticism), so this is where followers of this religion converge from all over Japan. The valley is filled with an air of mystery, and has 48 waterfalls of all sizes, so you just might see Shugendo worshippers standing underneath some of these waterfalls. The hiking course, which is always gorgeous no matter the season, takes about 6 hours to and from the peak. In the summer, you can enjoy dazzling new green leaves, while in the fall, you'll be in awe of the picture-perfect autumn foliage. There is also a hot spring area at the base of the mountain that is feels very private, so how about checking it out after hiking?
5. Mt. Inunaki
If you stretch your legs and get out of the city a little bit, you will find yourself face-to-face with these picturesque views! Discover the beauty and appeal of Osaka that is quite different from the main tourist spots and the city by interacting with nature.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.