In the southwest of Osaka lies the Minami Kawachi area, with the Kongo and Katsuragi mountains looming in the background. The area borders Nara Prefecture, and includes Kawachi-nagano and Chihaya-akasaka. Opportunities for camping, hiking, and mountain-climbing make it popular among nature fans, and the many shrines, temples and roughly 300 burial mounds make it popular among history-lovers as well. Take a deep breath and imbibe the nature and history, and when you grow tired of walking, take a rest and warm yourself at a hot spring.
Mount Kongo attracts the most hikers in all of Kansai
The Kongo-Katsuragi mountain range is the tallest point of the mountains that stretch south from Ikoma. The tallest peak in Osaka is Mt. Kongo, with an elevation of 1125 meters. Its ropeways, hiking courses, and mountain climbing courses are popular throughout the year, from spring when the greenery is freshest, to the winter when the trees are covered in a fine frost. The mountain is housed within Chihaya Park, which also includes the Chihaya Stars Nature and Museum that has a star-gazing platform and monthly astronomy events.
Mount Katsuragi and its campgrounds
Rising in the north of the Kongo mountains, on the other side of Mizukoshi Pass, is. In May, the mountaintop is bathed in red from the countless azaleas that grow there. But it's worth visiting during any season, whether for the pampas grass in the autumn, or the frost-covered trees and flowers in the winter. There are even accommodation options at the campsites and Katsuragi Kogen Lodge near the top of the mountain should you want to stay overnight.
Enjoy Takihata's nature
Along the lakeshore near Takihata Dam one can hike along numerous course and stay at Kotakiji Camping Ground. Takihata Lake Park is a big hit with kids, with its 160 meter super slide and other athletic equipment. There's a fishing spot above the dam, stocked with satsukimasu salmon and trout. Also, the 48 Waterfalls of Takishita that are dotted throughout the area each have a unique look, and have been collectively voted to be one of Osaka's most beautiful natural sights.
Rest your bones at a hot spring
The many hot springs of Minami Kawachi are well-known among hot spring lovers. When you're tired after hiking or mountain climbing, these hot springs are a perfect place to rest. Try the natural Katsuragi Hot Spring at World Ranch, Amami Onsen that's been around since the Northern and Southern Courts period (late 1300s), or the peaceful Taishi Onsen at the base of Mount Nijou. Or, if you can't choose, why not try a hot spring tour?
The ancient area of Chikatsu Asuka
While the Nara part of the Asuka region uses the name Totsu Asuka (far Asuka), the Habikino and Taishi areas refer to the place as Chikatsu Asuka (nearer Asuka). Osaka Prefecture Chikatsu Asuka Fudoki-No-Oka is a historical park that includes over 300 burial mounds, as well as platforms for viewing them and routes for walking between them. At the Osaka Prefecture Chikatsu Asuka Museum, designed by Tadao Ando, you can learn about the burial mounds through words and pictures.