Presentation of the destination
Toyonaka has been a settlement of some size since ancient times, and now this compact city has a population of around 400,000. Represented by both the rose and the sweet olive, Toyonaka is a city of flowers, and is famous for the pivotal role it played in the Jōkyū War of 1221, between the military Kamakura Shogunate and the retired emperor Go-Toba. Nowadays it's a colourful modern town, full of character and local traditions, temples and universities. It's very popular as a residential area as it boasts a peaceful atmosphere coupled with speedy access to neighbouring Osaka. The currency is the yen, the time zone is Japan Standard Time (UTC +9), and Toyonaka enjoys a humid subtropical climate with four distinct seasons, including hot, humid summers and mild winters.
Points of interests / things to see
This lovely outdoor attraction, situated at 1-13 Terauchi, Toyonaka, is open daily, showcasing some of the most beautiful plants to be found in Japan. The park itself sprawls over rolling hills, featuring dense deciduous woodland and large ponds. There's plenty to see and do here, including playing tennis, riding horses, swimming and taking the kids to the playgrounds. You can also stroll through gardens of bamboo and flowers, or take a trip down the stunning ‘flower road’ in springtime. Culture vultures can also catch a play or other performance at the concert hall. One of the highlights of the park is the Hattori Ryokuchi Arboretum, boasting colourful bamboos, beautifully manicured bonsai and some 2,500 cherry trees. Springtime visitors will find that the Hattori Ryokuchi Arboretum is the best spot in Toyonaka for enjoying sakura, the traditional pastime of watching the cherry blossoms fall. Whatever time of year you visit, the park and arboretum are a wonderfully peaceful spot to relax, read a book, exercise or enjoy a picnic. The park is about five minutes walk from Ryokuchi-kōen Station.
Tucked away among the other attractions at Hattori Ryokuchi Park lies a very special site: Japan’s oldest open-air museum. The Open-Air Museum of Old Japanese Farmhouses is exactly what it says on the tin, a collection of beautiful traditional Japanese country houses all carefully deconstructed, transported to their leafy new home and then reconstructed. These 11 vernacular ‘minka’ buildings represent architectural styles and cultural traditions from all over Japan, opening a window into the past to let you imagine how life must have been like in these historic buildings. English brochures are provided, but many of these beautiful buildings tell their own stories. For example, the gasshō-zukuri building with its huge pitched thatch roof is named for its resemblance to two hands held in prayer. The remarkable roof isn't just an architectural conceit, as the upper floor is used for silk making, with storage space provided for the trays of silkworms and their mulberry leaves. The farmhouse from Nagano, with such extending down the walls so that the building looks like some shaggy beast, is designed to keep the frosty winters of the Japanese Alps at bay. Events include traditional tea ceremonies, folk dances and handicraft days. Opening hours: 9.30am – 5pm.
If you fancy yourself as a bit of cowboy then head down to the Crane Riding Centre to put your skills to the test. Horse riding has become a very popular pastime in Japan, and offers an ideal way to explore the beautiful countryside. The Crane Riding Centre is a beautifully equipped, professional stables with highly trained staff, a lovely selection of horses for all ages, sizes and abilities, and a range of activities on offer. From exhilarating hacks through the mountains and romantic windswept rides along the beach to riding lessons in the school for beginners or specialist training in dressage, cross-country or show jumping for more proficient riders, there’s a huge selection for riders to choose from. The facilities are so good that they are used to train Olympic athletes. Children will love the opportunity to practise grooming and tacking up their horse before hitting the saddle. In the clubhouse you'll find showers, a cafe and a shop selling everything from tack and rugs to jodhpurs and hard hats, but you can also rent the necessary equipment. The stables even operates a shuttle bus connecting with the nearest train station. Address: 1-5 Hattoriryokuchi, Toyonaka. Phone: +81 6-6863-0616.
Hop over to Suita, one district over from Toyonaka, to discover more about beautiful Japanese art at the Japan Folk Crafts Museum. Situated just ten minutes walk from the monorail station, this elegantly low-slung minimalist building, created for the 1970 Osaka Expo, houses a breathtaking collection of folk art including pottery, textiles and jewellery. Although the focus is on Japanese crafts, visiting exhibitions also focus on other folk traditions from destinations as far-flung as India. From delicate silk kimonos to expertly woven baskets, paper-thin china teacups to traditional ink wash paintings on washi paper, the artistry and talent behind these objects is clearly evident. Learn more about Japanese aesthetic values including ‘wabi-sabi’, a philosophy of incomplete, imperfect and impermanent beauty embodied in simple forms such as roughly thrown black tea bowls, in the fragile beauty of ageing paper or in the traditional Japanese method of preparing broken pottery by filling the cracks with gold. There is a wonderful shop onsite offering a range of beautiful handcrafted items. Address: 10-5 Bampaku Koen, Suita. +81 6-6877-1971.
Just over the road from the Japan Folk Crafts Museum on the sale 1970 Expo complex, the National Museum of Ethnology is one of Japan's premier museum's, and the largest research Institute in humanities and social sciences in the country. The museum collects both artefacts and documentary evidence such as film, photography and sound recordings to create a picture of everyday life in Japan. From old farming equipment to a comprehensive guide to the culinary traditions of Japan, from Tokyo's towering skyscrapers to the ancient Shinto religion, all aspects of this fascinating country are represented here. As well as Japanese items of interest, the museum has a fantastic ever-changing schedule of exhibitions on other countries and themes. Recent exhibitions include ‘Unknown Land, Greenland: Its Nature and Culture’ and ‘The Power of Images’, and there is also an information zone including a library and videotheque focusing on life and culture around the world. Special events include lectures, films showings and hands-on activities for kids. Learn more at the website: http://www.minpaku.ac.jp/english.
Around an hour from downtown Osaka, stunning Settsukyo Gorge is an unmissable attraction for nature lovers. A favourite of Japanese royalty, the gorge boasts clear water and beautiful natural displays of blossom in spring and red maple leaves in autumn. Watch fireflies playing around the waterfalls as dusk falls, visit the hot springs at Meiji-no-Mori Mino, spot wild monkeys and enjoy deep-fried red maple leaves. Address: 569-1036 Tsukawaki, Takatsuki City, Osaka.
Take a tour of some nearby attractions that showcase the best in Japanese food and drink. Your first stop should be the Suntory Yamazaki Distillery, home of Japan’s wildly popular first single malt whisky, at 5-2-1 Yamazaki, Shimamoto-cho in Mishima-gun, where you can sample this delicious drink. Then it's on to the Asahi Beer Factory in Suita, where you can observe brewing and sample a glass. Finish a visit to the Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum at 8-25 Masumicho, Ikeda, where you can find out everything there is to know about this student staple.
Just an hour by bullet train north of Osaka, Kyoto is an unmissable city, packed with ancient historical monuments, lavish temples and fabulous architecture. Visit the serene and wonderful 6th century Shimogamo Shrine, and then head to the Buddhist temple Sanjūsangen-dō to view the 1000 statues of the Thousand Armed Kannon. Enjoy a traditional folk dance performance and tuck into a bowl of delicious yudofu, a tofu and vegetable broth that’s a local speciality.
Mount Koya is one of the most beguiling and beautiful Buddhist sites in Japan, home to Shingon Buddhism, founded by Kobo Daishi in 805. With over 100 temples set among the towering pine trees and tiny shrines, this deeply sacred place offers visitors an opportunity to connect more deeply with Buddhism, and it's possible to stay overnight or longer, eating the delicious yet simple monk’s cuisine known as shojin ryori, attending prayers and meditating in this misty and mysterious setting.
Vacation rentals in Toyonaka (Osaka Prefecture)
How to get there ?
Many of Toyonaka’s residents are commuters, travelling daily into Osaka City for work or play, and both Osaka University and Osaka Music College have campuses here, so the city is very well connected by public transportation. Osaka International Airport is conveniently located on the border of Toyonaka and Ikeda, and is a hub for All Nippon Airways and Japan Airways. Despite its ‘International’ appellation, all the flights here are domestic, but they make it quick to get into Toyonaka from larger airports such as Tokyo. As for trains, Toyonaka is well served by the Osaka Monorail, noted in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest monorail at over 21.2 kilometres long. The monorail has five stops in Toyonaka: Senri-Chūō Station, Shōji Station, Shibahara Station, Hotarugaike Station and Osaka Airport Station. The Kita-Osaka Kyūkō Railway connects Toyonaka with neighbouring Suita, and the Hankyu Takarazuka line runs into downtown Osaka for speedy access to the bright lights, museums, restaurants and cultural attractions of this colourful city.
Toyonaka city hall
Hotels in Toyonaka (Osaka Prefecture)