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Kinosaki Onsen
Historic Hot Spring Haven

Historic Hot Spring Haven

Kinosaki Onsen is a hot spring resort town tucked away in the mountains of northern Hyogo prefecture by the coast of the Sea of Japan, in the Kansai region. Built along a picturesque canal lined with willow trees, Kinosaki Onsen evokes the charm of bygone Japan, partly due to the unique nature of its hot spring culture. Kinosaki Onsen is a highly-recommended side trip for those visiting the Kansai region and is easily accessible by limited express trains.

The reputation of Kinosaki Onsen's healing waters goes back some 1400 years ago, when a stork was witnessed bathing a wounded wing in the marsh. In 717 the town was officially founded and since then, Kinosaki Onsen has been a celebrated destination, featured in many international travel guides and magazines. Onsen aficionados come to Kinosaki Onsen in droves and yet the town manages to retain an intimate feel, having escaped over-development.

What sets Kinosaki Onsen apart from other hot spring destinations is the popularity of its public bathhouses, of which there are seven. Each bathhouse possesses a distinct character all its own and guests staying at local ryokan are encouraged to visit them all; it is believed that by visiting all seven, one will be blessed with seven kinds of good fortune. While most ryokan in the vicinity boast their own onsen bathing facilities, guests also enjoy complimentary access to each bathhouse in town. This long-standing custom of bathhouse-hopping is referred to in Japanese as sotoyu meguri (touring the outside hot springs).


Ready to relax? Start planning your onsen interlude at Kinosaki Onsen and check out some of our recommended ryokan!

Ryokan Spotlight

Access

Kinosaki Onsen is most easily accessed from major cities in the Kansai region, primarily: Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, and Himeji. Multiple limited express trains (covered by the Japan Rail Pass) will take you from these cities through beautiful rural scenery to Kinosaki Onsen in just 2 to 3 hours.

From Kyoto: There are 6 limited express trains departing daily from JR Kyoto Station: the Kinosaki (3 trains daily) and the Hashidate (3 trains daily). Of these, 4 trains require a transfer to the Limited Express Konotori train at Fukuchiyama Station, while the other 2 trains will take you directly to JR Kinosaki Onsen Station. The entire journey takes approximately 3 hours.

From Osaka: A total of 7 daily limited express trains, named either Konotori or Hamakaze will take you directly from JR Osaka Station to JR Kinosaki Onsen Station with no transfers required in about 3 hours.

From Kobe or Himeji: The Hamakaze limited express train takes passengers from both JR Kobe Station and JR Himeji Station to JR Kinosaki Onsen Station without having to make any transfers. From Kobe the ride is about 2.5 hours, while from Himeji it takes only 2 hours. As there are only 3 Hamakaze trains each day, please be sure to check the train schedule beforehand.

Town

Year-round, Kinosaki Onsen is a great refuge for weary travelers or simply those hoping to take in some traditional culture. From the streets to the people walking them to the buildings flanking each side, the town is filled with a special atmosphere. Visitors during the summer are especially lucky as they have a chance to experience Kinosaki Onsen's fun summer events.

  • Stroll in Yukata

    Stroll in Yukata

    As soon as you enter Kinosaki Onsen, you can sense right away that this is not your regular town. Yukata-clad tourists leisurely stroll the willow-lined streets from one bathhouse to the next. There are no skyscrapers here; the buildings are old, time passes slowly. What better way to recharge your batteries while getting your fill of traditional Japanese ambiance?

  • Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway

    Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway

    It's just a 7-minute ride from the foot of the mountain to the top, where you can enjoy spectacular views of Kinosaki Onsen and its surroundings. On clear days, you can even see all the way to sea! The Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway is a great way to get to Onsenji Temple. There is also a cafe at the observation deck on the top of the mountain.

  • Onsenji Temple

    Onsenji Temple

    An ancient temple founded in the year 738, it was customary to make a prayer at Onsenji before heading to the baths. To visit the temple, one can either hike up the mountain path from town, or simply take the Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway to Onsenji Station.

  • Tajima Beef

    Tajima Beef

    Culinary enthusiasts around the world praise Kobe beef for its exquisite marbelization and succulent tenderness, but did you know that all authentic Kobe beef originates from the Tajima strain of Japanese Black cattle? Born and bred in the Tajima region of Hyogo prefecture, these cows are on the menu in Kinosaki Onsen and are typically featured on the menu at restaurants and ryokan.

  • Onsen Tamago

    Onsen Tamago

    Japanese for "hot spring egg", this snack is a common specialty at onsen resort towns across Japan. The eggs are slow-cooked in the hot springs, resulting in heavenly custard-like texture.

  • Kiyamachi Koji

    Kiyamachi Koji

    Although built in 2008, this charming shopping area takes its design cues from traditional Japanese architecture and hosts several uniquely Japanese shops, selling anything from shrimp crackers to vinegar.

  • Nightly Summer Fireworks

    Nightly Summer Fireworks

    A yearly event, this beautiful fireworks display will be held every weekday evening from 9 p.m. from July 24 through August 24 (except during August 13-15). The breathtaking show only lasts for about 10 minutes so be sure you don't miss it!

  • Daily Summer Festival

    Daily Summer Festival

    In 2015, from July 24 through August 24, a traditional Japanese festival is held every evening from 8 p.m. at Shisho Shrine in Kinosaki Onsen to celebrate the summertime. It's a great opportunity to wear yukata and dance the traditional bon-odori festival dance, eat delicious snacks from festival stalls, and play all sorts of games.

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*Disclaimer: Prices shown are lowest available room rates per person per night based on double occupancy. Prices may vary from those listed above depending on room type, number of guests staying, schedule, and availability.