Drop by if You’re Traveling in Kobe! A Guide to the Famous Arima Onsen
Arima Onsen (Arima Hot Spring) is a famous sightseeing destination in Japan that is known for its quaint and elegant atmosphere. Read on and dive into the charms of one of Japan’s leading hot spring areas!
What is Arima Onsen?
Arima Onsen is a popular hot spring resort that can be reached in about 30 minutes by train from Kobe’s Sannomiya. You can also get there in around an hour if you’re coming from Osaka. It attracts large crowds – around 1.5 million people each year! Lined with ryokans (Japanese inns) and souvenir shops, this hot spring town has about 1,400 years of history, having been around since the hot spring opened to the public. Even famous military commanders like Toyotomi Hideyoshi apparently frequented this area to soak in the hot springs.
What are the Kin no Yu and Gin no Yu?
Arima Onsen is known for having two colors of hot spring waters gushing out from the ground – the dark and murky reddish-brown Kinsen (golden hot spring) and the colorless and clear Ginsen (silver hot spring). Visitors can soak in both hot springs at any of the inns in the area, but the most famous spots for these hot springs are the open-air baths (public bathing facilities), Arima Hon-Onsen Kin no Yu and Arima Onsen Gin no Yu.
Arima Hon-Onsen Kin no Yu (Kinsen)
Arima Hon-Onsen Kin no Yu is an open-air bath where you can soak in the famous Kinsen. This hot spring water contains high levels of iron and salt, so when it comes into contact with the air, it oxidizes and changes to a unique reddish-brown color. The high concentration of salt forms a thin film on the skin that works to retain heat, so you will not feel cold after soaking in the bath. It also has germicidal effects, so it is effective for treating issues like skin diseases.
Arima Hon-Onsen Kin no Yu admission fee:
Adults (junior high school students and older): 650 JPY
Children (elementary school students): 340 JPY
※Photo shows Kinsen
Arima Onsen Gin no Yu (Ginsen)
Arima Onsen Gin no Yu is an open-air bath that is tucked in a building with an elegant facade. You can enjoy bathing in Ginsen here. There are two types of Ginsen: the carbon dioxide spring water that does not change colors even if the air touches it, and the radioactive spring water that contains a small amount of radon. This hot spring is tasteless, odorless, colorless, and clear, and feels silky and mild on the skin. It has many health benefits, such as helping to boost metabolism, relieving chronic pains, and soothing joints.
Arima Onsen Gin no Yu admission fee:
Adults (junior high school students and older): 550 JPY
Children (elementary school students): 290 JPY
※Photo shows the Ginsen source
The appeal of Arima Onsen is not limited to the hot springs. It is also famous as a scenic spot that is surrounded by numerous famous historic remains and picturesque natural views. One such scenic spot is Zuihoji Koen (Zuihoji Park), which is famous for having beautiful landscapes created by sakura (cherry blossom) in the spring and momiji (autumn foliage) in the fall. It also houses a garden that is associated with Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Apparently, he would often come to this place to hold tea parties, so in memory of him, the Arima no Dai-Chakai tea ceremony is held here every year on November 2 and 3 – the best time to view the autumn leaves. Enjoy some tea outdoors while gazing at the beautiful and colorful foliage.
Tousen Jinja (Tousen Shrine) is a shrine that is dedicated to three deities (Onamuchi-no-mikoto, Sukunahikona-no-mikoto, and Kumanokusubi-no-mikoto) who were said to have first discovered Arima Onsen. Some theories claim that this hot spring’s origins came when these three deities saw how three injured crows healed their wounds by taking a bath in Arima’s Kinsen. At present, they are worshiped as guardian deities of Arima Onsen, and are believed to answer prayers for pregnancy and safe childbirth.
The term “tsuzumi” refers to a traditional Japanese percussion instrument. Tsuzumigataki Koen (Tsuzumigataki Park) was named after the sound of the instrument, which resembles the soft “pon-pon” (beat of falling water), echoing through dense woods. The clear water streaming from Mt. Rokko and the refreshing air in the forest are so pleasant that they are sure to wipe away your exhaustion from traveling. Fireflies can be seen fluttering about over the water during dusk in early summer, and they will make you feel the life of nature.
One of the best things about Arima Onsen is that you can relax in various ways. You can stay for the night in one of the lodging facilities in the area, or you can take a day tour in the middle of your trip to Kobe to soak in the hot spring. Try to visit it at least once!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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