Yep, it’s fall! The leaves are starting to turn in Osaka. Thank the maples for some of fall’s most beautiful colors—and yummy snacks.

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The Japanese maple is called “momiji” (もみじ), and Minoo City is famous for its momiji tempura. Minoo is known for its Japanese maples. Check out the city’s manhole cover.

[Photo: churateada]

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So yes, that’s right, fried leaves. They’re actually quite tasty.

[Photo: ekiblo]

But! These are not just regular leaves collected off the ground and then fried. They are preserved in salt barrels for over a year.

Then, they’re taken out of the salt and are fried in a delicious, slightly sweet batter for over twenty minutes until they are crisp.

[Photo: hosocoshi]

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They’re great relaxing with a beer (or two!) under the falling leaves.

[Photo: harukaze_0721]

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You can eat fried leaves year round, but honestly, the best time to enjoy leaf tempura is while looking at the autumn colors. There is a long history in Japan of getting close to nature, whether that is through seasonal art, poetry or food.

And there’s a long history of momiji tempura in Osaka with accounts saying the food was first prepared over a thousand years ago. Though, they certainly haven’t been sealed in plastic bags for that long!

[Photo: カプチーノ@食べログ]

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The current recipe is the result of being reworked numerous times over the years. If you are ever in North Osaka, give ‘em a try.

[Photo: yuzuru_minoh]

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For more photos, check out the Tabelog link below.

久國紅仙堂の投稿写真 [Tabelog]

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This article was originally published on October 2, 2014.

To contact the author of this post, write to bashcraftATkotaku.com or find him on Twitter @Brian_Ashcraft.

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