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WPCS 2.1.3
1.866.316.7268 [email protected]
WPCS 2.1.3

Kinosaki Onsen Add-On

Recommended Length: 3 days/2 nights / Best Access: Kyoto, Osaka
Kinosaki Onsen Details

Kinosaki Onsen is located in northern Hyogo Prefecture on the coast of the Sea of Japan. This pleasant town, built along a willow-lined river, is one of the top onsen destinations of the Kansai Region.

Hot springs were discovered in the Kinosaki area around the 8th century. Legend has it that storks would bathe in the marshes of Kinosaki to heal their wounds. Later, bath houses were built over these very sites to take advantage of the healing waters. Since then the town has developed into a charmingly old-fashioned onsen town. In the evenings guests of the local ryokan stroll about town in yukata (cotton kimono) and geta (wooden clogs), visiting the numerous public baths and nostalgic game arcades.

Today there are numerous ryokan in the area, all with their own baths. But the real draw to Kinosaki are its seven public bath houses (sotoyu). Visitors staying at a local ryokan can use Kinosaki’s seven public bath houses for free between check-in and check-out with a special pass that they receive from their ryokan. In fact, many guests skip their ryokan’s bath in favor of a sotoyu meguri (bath stroll), walking around sampling the various public baths. When visiting public baths, it is recommended that you bring your own towels or towels provided by the ryokan you are staying at, though towels are also available for purchase or rental at bath houses. Soap and shampoo are provided within the baths.

Kinosaki Onsen Map
Kinosaki Onsen
Sights in Kinosaki Onsen

Ropeway and Onsenji Temple

The Kinosaki Ropeway, on the western end of town, departs from near the Onsenji temple gate to an observation deck at the mountain summit, making an intermediate stop next to Onsenji’s main hall. The ropeway and observation deck offer great views of Kinosaki and surroundings.

Onsenji Temple is dedicated to a Buddhist saint who, according to legend, prayed for 1000 days to bring forth spring water to Kinosaki. In the old days, visitors had to first pay a visit to the temple before being admitted to any of the baths in town. While most people no longer make the journey to Onsenji before bathing, the temple remains a nice place to visit. Onsenji’s main treasure is a two-meter-tall, eleven-headed Kannon Buddha which is displayed to the public in its entirety only once every 33 years for a period of three years (it is currently being displayed from April 23, 2018 to April 24, 2021).

Kinosaki Onsen Canal

The canal runs through the main area of town and is lined with willow trees, bath houses, Japanese inns and small shops and restaurants.

Satono-yu Public Bath House

Hours: 13:00 to 21:00
Closed: Mondays
Satono-yu is Kinosaki’s largest bath house, located next to the train station. It has two styles of baths, traditional and Romanesque, which rotate daily between men and women. The large variety of baths includes waterfalls and mist rooms, as well as steam, dry and penguin (refrigerated) saunas.

Jizo-yu Public Bath House

Hours: 7:00 to 23:00
Closed: Fridays
Jizo-yu is located at the intersection of the river and Ekidori, the main road that leads to the Kinosaki train station. This bath house’s main baths feature high ceilings. Private family baths are also available for 3150 yen per 45 minutes.

Yanagi-yu Public Bath House

Hours: 15:00 to 23:00
Closed: Thursdays
Recently renovated, Yanagi-yu (“willow bath”) is Kinosaki’s smallest public bath house, but some find its traditional feel with hand-cut timbers and wooden baths particularly inviting. It also has a small street-side ashiyu (foot bath) next to its entrance.

Ichino-yu Public Bath House

Hours: 7:00 to 23:00
Closed: Wednesdays
Ichino-yu is located near the center of town and was last renovated in 1999. Its indoor baths are modern granite while its outdoor baths are located in a cave. Private family baths are available for 3150 yen per 45 minutes.

Goshono-yu Public Bath House

Hours: 7:00 to 23:00
Closed: First and third Thursday of each month
Completely redesigned and rebuilt in 2005, Goshono-yu (“imperial palace bath”) is one of Kinosaki’s larger bath houses, featuring a multi-level outdoor bath facing a waterfall, as well as a granite water bench and a steam sauna where onsen water is sprayed into the air to create a fine mist.

Mandara-yu Public Bath House

Hours: 15:00 to 23:00
Closed: Wednesdays
Mandara-yu is the only bath house that is located off the main road. You’ll find it one block south of the main road (Yunosatodori) just before the road turns north to the ropeway entrance. It has an enticing outdoor bath, and it is said that Mandara-yu is the most attractive of the public baths.

Kono-yu Public Bath House

Hours: 7:00 to 23:00
Closed: Tuesdays
Kono-yu is near the ropeway entrance located on the spot where legend says that storks would bathe to heal their wounds. It was the first bath house in Kinosaki, although it has been rebuilt numerous times since its founding. Kono-yu features an outdoor bath with a view of the surrounding forests.
Kinosaki Onsen Photo Gallery
Side Trips

Izushi Castle Town

Izushi is a castle town that flourished during the Edo era. There are several fine displays of traditional architecture found throughout the town, which is why Izushi is designated as a national preservation district of important buildings. The town is also famous for its own original style of soba, Japanese buckwheat noodles. Approximately 50 soba shops line the town’s streets. Eirakukan Kabuki Theatre is the oldest working kabuki theatre in the Kansai Area. The full access tour of Izushi’s Kabuki theatre, Eirakukan, will put you on, behind, and under the stage. This is a rare and fantastic experience will help you feel like a real kabuki actor and take a closer look at the mysterious workings of a traditional Kabuki stage. The best way to get to Izushi is by bus from Toyooka station.

Konotori no Sato Stork Park

The Oriental Stork (konotori) became extinct in Japan due to modern farming practices, killing off its food supply of frogs, fish and other wetland animals. The last bird died near Kinosaki in 1971. The park was built to reintroduce the storks to Japan using birds obtained from Russia. The storks themselves are now designated a special protected animal by the government, and have become a symbol of the Tajima region around Kinosaki.

Located 10 kilometers south of Kinosaki, the Konotori no Sato Park is part museum and part breeding habitat, where visitors can learn about the storks, the breeding program and conservation, as well as see the birds on the sanctuary grounds. The aims of the program are being realized as local farmers are altering their farming practices to preserve the wetland habitat, and the storks are being successfully reintroduced into the wild. In May 2007, for the first time since 1964, a stork chick hatched in nature. Its parents were born at the sanctuary and released into the wild. The park can be accessed by bus or taxi from Toyooka station, which is 10 minutes from Kinosaki by train.

Tours/Activities

Bag/Purse Making

The Tajima area of Japan has long been known for its bag making. Make you own leather bag/purse, using the techniques passed down from hundreds of years.

Bicycle Tour around the Kinosaki Onsen Area

Meet up with an English guide in Kinosaki Onsen and bike together past lush green rice paddies, quaint rural homes, and along the Maruyama River. See sights best reached by bike that very few tourists find.

Pricing

Kyoto

Travel Time: 2 1/2 Hours
With JR Rail Pass: $350.00 per person based on double occupancy
Without JR Rail pass: $500.00 per person based on double occupancy
Single Supplement: $250.00

Osaka

Travel Time: 2 1/2 Hours
With JR Rail Pass: $350.00 per person based on double occupancy
Without JR Rail pass: $500.00 per person based on double occupancy
Single Supplement: $250.00

Inclusions

  • Train tickets (If not using a rail pass, we will pre-purchase the tickets.)
  • Suggested train schedule
  • Detailed itinerary and directions
  • Appropriate number of nights at the Nishimuraya Shougetsutei with breakfast and dinner