Yamamotoya, the Oldest Ryokan in Kinosaki Onsen
Located in the northern part of Hyogo Prefecture, Kinosaki Onsen is a popular hot spring spot that is easily accessible by direct train from Osaka or Kyoto. Last year, the area was listed in the Michelin Green Guide and Lonely Planet, drawing visitors from around the world. Situated in the middle of this hot spring resort is Yamamotoya, a long-established ryokan with over 350 years of history where guests can enjoy views of Taiko Bridge over limpid streams of the Daikei River.
- From Kyoto Station to Kinosaki Onsen Station: approx. 2 hours and 30 minutes by Limited Express Kinosaki
- From Osaka Station to Kinosaki Onsen Station: approx. 2 hours and 40 minutes by Limited Express Hamakaze or Kita-Kinki
Yamamotoya is 8 minutes on foot from Kinosaki Onsen Station.
Most of the rooms face the Otani-gawa River, allowing guests peaceful views of yukata-clad people strolling along the willow-fringed river.
The private bath use is limited to five groups per day, and costs JPY 1,080 per 40 minutes (advance reservation necessary).
If you’re not too fussed about being alone, large common baths for men and for women are also available.
A short walk from the ryokan is Gubi Gabu, the ryokan’s own brewery and restaurant where guests can enjoy a refreshing beer and Tajima beef dishes.
Speaking of beer, the ryokan also runs its own brewery, and guests can enjoy 4 different kinds of craft beer at the ryokan itself.
Tea Ceremony Experience
When you arrive at Kinosaki Onsen, you change into a yukata upon check-in, slip on some geta slippers and enjoy wandering around the onsen areas. Yamamotoya decided to add to the cultural experience by starting a tea ceremony experience workshop. You will participate in what is called 立礼 (ryurei), the technique of drinking tea using tables and chairs (as opposed to sitting on the floor).
After enjoying professionally-prepared tea and sweets, participants can try it for themselves. With the proprietress having 10 years, and the senior proprietress having over 60 years, of experience in tea ceremony, you can learn from the pros. You can also wear colored yukata just like your hosts.
The experience lasts roughly 30 minutes, and will surely leave warm memories as tea is one of the cornerstones of traditional Japanese culture, together with food, calligraphy, and architecture. An English-speaking staff will assist with the program, so participants can feel free to ask questions.
Why not add to your Kinosaki Onsen trip by enjoying an authentic tea experience?
If you wish to participate, please select room plans on JAPANiCAN.com with “Tea Ceremony Experience” included when booking.
* Program starts from 8:30pm. Please note that on-the-day bookings may not be possible.