TRAVEL: Minoo park and brewery

25 Feb

On a recent national holiday, I went with a group of English teachers and new Japanese friends to Minoo park, a nice forested area just north of Osaka. Minoo is well known for the beauty of its fall foliage, but it was still very nice to visit the park in late winter.

The park has a path that takes about 45 minutes to walk to the waterfall, a highlight for most visitors.

A beautiful February day in Japan.

A beautiful February day in Japan.

Save for the cute restaurants, temples and shops along some parts of the path, it’s nice to have such a dense forest so close to the city. And of course, little restaurants allow for many snacks along the way! Minoo is well known for momiji tempura, which is deep fried maple leaves. I have no idea why Canadians haven’t thought of this. Possibly because they’re just greasy dough balls and eating more than two is dangerous. And Japanese people will deep fry anything!

Momiji tempura - looks like a maple leaf, doesn't taste like maple.

Momiji tempura – looks like a maple leaf, doesn’t taste like maple.

I also tried another Japanese winter food favourite — oden. Previously known to me as that weird open pot of strange shapes in hot soup at convenience stores, oden is actually quite delicious. It’s a stew with vegetables, tofu, meat and egg in a kelp and dashi-based soup, dashi being the fish stock used in many Japanese dishes. The soup contents are in large pieces, which are bought by the piece at around 100 yen each ($1.20).

Oden - egg, tofu and daikon radish with mustard.

Oden – egg, tofu and daikon radish with mustard.

Like any good end to a day filled with outdoor exercise, we then went for beer. Minoh Beer has its brewery with a small tasting bar in what seemed like a Japanese suburb one train stop away from Minoo. While Japan produces very refreshing lagers, such as Asahi and Sapporo, it was great to try some other types of beer. The weizen, a wheat beer, was my favourite. I also tried the very hoppy IPA and the disappointingly flavourless pilsner.

Some of the types of beer at Minoh Brewery.

Some of the types of beer at Minoh Brewery.

Minoo Park can be reached by taking the Hankyu Takarazuka line from Umeda to Ishibashi, then transfer to the Minoo line to Minoo station. Minoh brewery was a bit difficult to get to. It’s near Makiochi station, which is one before Minoo, and about a 15 to 20 minute walk. Directions can be found on their website.

 

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