Japan is known for its plentiful hot springs which are found throughout the country, offering ample opportunities to enjoy both a variety of hot springs themselves as well as the towns built up around them. Kinosaki Onsen is one such town!
Welcome to Kinosaki Onsen
Kinosaki is listed in the top 100 best hot spring towns in all of Japan, and having been around for some 1,300 years since the Heian period, it’s safe to say that the resort’s persistent popularity has landed it quite deservedly on that list. The charmingly romantic town of Kinosaki stretches north from the train station to the river that runs through the town. This quaint townscape meshes well with one of Kinosaki’s more famous draws – its public hot spring bath houses – as yukata-clad vacationers stroll about the town.
Besides the in-house hot spring facilities available at Kinosaki’s hotels and inns, a major draw is the 7 public bathhouses that dot the town, each offering a different hot spring bathing experience. For example, the aptly named “Ichinoyu” (meaning something along the lines of “first hot spring”) has been open for hundreds of years since the Edo period, and it has long been renowned for its health effects. “Yanagiyu”(“willow tree hot spring”) is so called because it is said that the spring’s source flows from beneath a willow tree brought from China’s famous West Lake. Doing a bit of bathhouse-hopping while in town, and staying at one of Kinosaki’s inns will land you a special ticket that grants you free admission to all seven.
Keep reading for 3 ways to make your Kinosaki adventure even better!
1. Dress for the Occasion
Going out and about for the aforementioned bathhouse-hopping would not be complete without getting decked out in a yukata – a light kimono – just like the Japanese vacationers. Donning one of these traditional garments for an evening stroll around the streets is a great way to really experience and be a part of the atmosphere. The town’s inns will have yukata ready and waiting for all of its staying guests, and some offer selections of brightly colored yukata for its female guests! Find some suggestions below.
Find out more and book a room at Ginka!
Find out more and book a room at Tajimaya!
Find out more and book a room at Koyado En!
2. Have a Bath All to Yourself
Kinosaki may be famous for its public bathhouses, which are indeed a great experience, but if you find yourself pining for the privacy of a hot spring bath all to yourself, check out the ryokan below. These inns have reservable private baths ready for its guests. Note that reserving the bath ahead of time is typically required, and at some ryokan, an additional fee may be required.
Find out more and book a room at Korakuen!
Find out more and book a room at Kiraku!
Find out more and book a room at Naruya!
3. Get a Taste of Tajima Beef
Meat lovers will undoubtedly know about “wagyu”, the Japanese word for domestically raised beef cattle, but did you know that many regions of Japan have their own local brand of wagyu? Here in Kinosaki, the local brand is Tajima beef. Originally raised as work animals, the focus was shifted to beef cattle around the end of the 1800s as eating beef was gaining popularity in Japan. Since then, the bloodline and quality of the beef has been carefully cultivated and protected, and Tajima beef is now well known as one of the top wagyu brands, with other local and also famous beef brands adopting Tajima cattle for to improve their own stock. Pretty much all of the ryokan in Kinosaki serve tasty Tajima beef in the meals included with the room, but find a few selections below!
Find out more and book a room at Shogetsutei!
Find out more and book a room at Yutoya!
Find out more and book a room at Nishimuraya Honkan!
Find out more and book a room at Ookawa!
Looking for more Kinosaki Onsen recommendations?
Check out our Hot Springs of West Japan feature!