Kinosaki Onsen is one of the Kansai region's leading onsen (hot spring) towns. Explore the town with its weeping willows and inns with wood-trimmed white walls, and then take the time to enjoy its seven public baths! Below is an itinerary recommended by Kinosaki’s Tourism Ambassadors. ＜*This information is from Kansai Walker (issued September 19, 2017)＞
- Wear Yukata While Walking on a Retro Path
- Useful Information on Kinosaki Onsen
- Have a Pleasant Ride on the Non-stop Limited Express Train to Kinosaki!
- ＜11:52 AM＞Start Day One at JR Kinosaki Onsen Station
- ＜1:30 PM＞Sato no Yu
- ＜3:00 PM＞Cultural Center and Museum KINOBUN
- ＜4:00 PM＞Maruyama Karyo Kinosaki Onsen Branch
- ＜4:30 PM＞kinsui
- ＜5:00 PM＞ Yanagi Yu
- There's More! Public Hot Springs
- ＜6:00 PM＞Gourmet Dining Tomiya
- Start Day 2 at JR Kinosaki Onsen Station
- ＜12:00 PM＞ Minatosushi
- ＜1:30 PM＞Nishitomo Kani Ichiba
- Places to Stop by If You Have Time
Wear Yukata While Walking on a Retro Path
Marina Butsuen, a 20-year-old college student who likes to dress in kimono, is the eighth tourism ambassador for Kinosaki Onsen. This photograph of the banks of Otani River lined with weeping willows and an arched stone bridge is full of atmosphere. It is an integral part of Kinosaki's charm. The light cotton yukata goes well with the landscape.
At light, it lights up, taking on a different atmosphere.
Useful Information on Kinosaki Onsen
【First, free yourself of your baggage】
The KINOSAKI INN CONCIERGE in front of the station will bring your bags to your accommodation (100 JPY/bag).
*Restrictions apply. Call 0796-32-4141 for more details.
【For those on a day trip】
If you’re visiting on a day trip, you should consider getting the Yumepa Ticket (1,200 JPY), which is a convenient pass that will allow you access to all the public hot springs for 1 day. It is sold at every public hot spring, and is a bargain if you plan to visit two or more baths!
【Rent cute yukata】
YUKATA Shop & Rental Iroha is a store that has more than 200 different yukata available for rental. They have great value sets that include accessories and dressing services!
＜Phone: 0796-32-0168; Hours: 10:30 AM - 6:00 PM, 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM; Closed: Thursdays (open if it is a public holiday); Rates: From 2,160 JPY＞
Have a Pleasant Ride on the Non-stop Limited Express Train to Kinosaki!
The limited express train, Kounotori, is a rapid train that dashes between Osaka and Kinosaki Onsen. It was named in recognition of the kounotori (storks) that are being raised in Toyooka City, Hyogo Prefecture.
＜11:52 AM＞Start Day One at JR Kinosaki Onsen Station
Orizuru is a sushi restaurant that was founded 75 years ago, and is said to be the oldest eatery in Kinosaki. It is located 9 minutes on foot from JR Kinosaki Onsen Station, and is a popular restaurant that even discerning owners of local ryokan (Japanese inns) frequent. Orizuru sources its fish from nearby fishing ports, such as Tsuiyama and Kasumi. The third-generation owner of the restaurant trained at a famous restaurant in Ginza, and wields their amazing knife skills to prepare the fresh fish.
This is the Orizuru Teishoku (1,080 JPY), which is only available at lunch time. The set is comprised of 3 types of sashimi and a popular chawanmushi (egg custard) dish. They also sell Nigiri Teishoku.
＜Phone: 0796-32-2203; Hours: 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM (last order at 1:30 PM), 5:00 PM - 10:00 PM (last entry at 8:30 PM); Closed: Tuesdays; Capacity: 26; Smoking: Non-smoking; Access: 9 minutes on foot from JR Kinosaki Onsen Station＞
【To the next stop】9 minutes on foot
＜1:30 PM＞Sato no Yu
This is a public hot spring with a variety of facilities, including jacuzzi tubs, mist saunas, and cold saunas. There are two open-air baths with great views. One is a traditional Japanese-style bath, while the other is an exotic Western-style bath. Entry is restricted by gender, which switches depending on whether it is an even or odd number day. You can see fantastic views of the majestic Maruyama River. The foot bath in front of the entrance is free to the public.
This is the Japanese-style open-air bath on the third floor. Hardly anything obstructs your sight, so you can enjoy a fabulous view of the gentle Maruyama River while relaxing in the bath.
Isn’t this a traditional Japanese-style entrance befitting of an onsen? There is a rest area with tatami mats inside, so you can relax after taking a bath.
■ Sato no Yu
＜Phone: 0796-32-0111; Hours: 3:00 AM - 9:00 PM (last entry at 8:30 PM); Closed: Mondays (open if it is a public holiday); Rates: 800 JPY; Access: In front of JR Kinosaki Onsen Station＞
【To the next spot】5 minutes on foot
＜3:00 PM＞Cultural Center and Museum KINOBUN
This museum displays materials related to writers that are connected in some way to Kinosaki Onsen. The permanent exhibit includes a list of writers connected to Kinosaki Onsen who played a big role in modern Japanese literature, such as Naoya Shiga. It details these relationships and includes a collection of their writings. The current exhibit, Kanae Minato and Kinosaki Onsen, features a writer called “Kanae Minato” who published the book, Kinosaki-e-Kaeru (Return to Kinosaki).
This is a photo of the permanent exhibit. Many things are on display, including Tessai Tomioka's Nakatakayukizu scroll and calligraphy by Kogoro Katsura.
This is the Cultural Center and Museum KINOBUN's original Hon-Tenugui (1,000 JPY). It is a simple and cute tenugui (towel) that depicts the museum's logo, which is a bookcase.
The museum opened in 1996 as the Toyooka City Kinosaki Bungeikan. It underwent extensive renovations in 2016, and reopened as a more familiar and fun museum.
■ Cultural Center and Museum KINOBUN
＜Phone: 0796-32-2575; Hours: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM; Closed: Wednesdays (if it is a national holiday, the next day will be closed instead); Fee: 500 JPY; Access: 5 minutes on foot from JR Kinosaki Onsen Station＞
【To the next spot】3 minutes on foot
＜4:00 PM＞Maruyama Karyo Kinosaki Onsen Branch
Though this is a karinto (traditional Japanese snack) specialty store, it also sells creamy flan pudding made with fresh milk that is delivered every day. The flan has a refreshing flavor that is not too sweet. On top, there is milk jelly, fresh cream, and caramel sauce made with brown sugar. There is limited availability, so be sure to get there early!
This is the Yurayura Yu-agari Purin (350 JPY/each). Although "yu-agari" means "after bathing", the pudding is not meant to be eaten after a bath. It has this name because the dish is made by boiling the pudding in hot water. It is a specialty sweet of Kinosaki Onsen.
There is space to eat in as well.
■Maruyama Karyo Kinosaki Onsen Branch
＜Phone: 0796-32-2361; Hours: 9:30 AM - 6:00 PM; Closed: Tuesdays *Open every day between November - March; Capacity: 8; Smoking: No smoking; Access: 6 minutes on foot from JR Kinosaki Onsen Station＞
【To the next spot】2 minutes on foot
This is an annex to Kinsui, a ryokan in Kinosaki Onsen. It is a stylish inn with 8 modern and traditional Japanese rooms. No meals are offered at this ryokan. It reduces costs by charging for amenities, such as toothbrushes and bath towels, so the prices are very reasonable. It comes with a free ticket to use the public hot springs.
This is a photo of the Type A guest room that accommodates up to two people. It is a contemporary space with a table by the window.
The Type C guest room is a relaxing space with traditional tatami mat flooring.
It accommodates up to four guests, and is recommended for groups.
■Accommodation Data (price per person)
Type A guest room: Single use (10,000 JPY), Double use (5,000 JPY each)
Type C guest room: Single use (12,000 JPY), Double or triple use (5,000 JPY each), Quadruple use (4,000 JPY for each person)
*Rates are raised by 1,000 JPY on nights before weekends and public holidays.
*Includes consumption tax and bath use fees. Special rates may apply during Golden Week, Obon, and New Year’s holidays.
＜Phone: 0796-32-2024 (Kinsui); Hours: (Check-in) 3:00 PM - 8:00 PM; (Check-out) 10:00 AM; Closed: None; Access: 7 minutes on foot from Kinosaki Onsen Station＞
【To the next spot】3 minutes on foot
＜5:00 PM＞ Yanagi Yu
This is a public onsen that is said to have sprung under a willow tree that was transplanted from the famous and scenic West Lake in China. It is the smallest of the seven public hot springs, but it has the highest temperature, so it is popular among those who like hot baths. Its flat wooden roof reflects Kinosaki perfectly. The free foot bath in the front entrance is perfect for relaxing while enjoying a view of the town.
With a willow tree swaying over it, this hot spring goes perfectly with the atmosphere of a hot spring village. You’ll definitely want to photograph this spot to share it on social media!
There is a bath with ultrasonic waves. It has a retro feel, so it is recommended for those who like traditional bathrooms.
＜Phone: 0796-32-2097; Hours: 3:00 PM - 11:00 PM (last entry at 10:30 PM); Closed: Thursdays (open if it is a public holiday); Fees: Bathing fee (600 JPY); Access: 7 minutes on foot from JR Kinosaki Onsen Station＞
There's More! Public Hot Springs
This is the second oldest onsen in Kinosaki. It is believed that it gushed forth as a result of a 1000-day mandala prayer by Dochishonin, who founded Kinosaki Onsen Temple.
＜Phone: 0796-32-2194; Hours: 3:00 PM - 11:00 PM (last entry at 11:30 PM); Closed: Wednesdays (open if it is a public holiday); Fees: Bathing fee (600 JPY); Open-air bath: Yes＞
【Gosho no Yu】
This is an elegant hot spring designed in the image of the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
■ Gosho no Yu
＜Phone: 0796-32-2230; Hours: 7:00 AM - 11:00 PM (last entry at 11:30 PM); Closed: First and third Thursdays of the month (open if it is a public holiday); Fees: Bathing fee (800 JPY); Open-air bath: Yes＞
【Ichi no Yu】
The bath was designed to evoke the image of a Momoyama-style Kabuki theater. It is considered to be a symbol of Kinosaki, and has a partial open-air bath in a cave.
■ Ichi no Yu
＜Phone: 0796-32-2229; Hours: 7:00 AM - 11:00 PM (last entry 10:30 pm); Closed: Wednesdays (open if it is a public holiday); Fees: Bathing fee (600 JPY); Open-air bath: Yes＞
This is Kinosaki's oldest hot spring. There is a legend that states that storks used to bathe in its waters to heal their wounds. The open-air bath is popular.
■ Kono Yu
＜Phone: 0796-32-2195; Hours: 7:00 AM - 11:00 PM (last entry at 10:30 pm); Closed: Tuesdays (open if it is a public holiday); Fees: Bathing fee (600 JPY); Open-air bath: Yes＞
This building was designed using the image of Genbudo Caves, with features such as hexagonal windows giving it a modern look. There is one bath and an utase-yu (stream of water cascading onto one's back).
＜Phone: 0796-32-2228; Hours: 7:00 AM - 11:00 PM (last entry at 10:30 PM); Closed: Fridays (open if it is a public holiday); Fees: Bathing fee (600 JPY); Open-air bath: None＞
【To the next spot】
＜6:00 PM＞Gourmet Dining Tomiya
This restaurant offers a wide selection of menu items that centers on local seasonal fish served as sashimi, simmered, or grilled. In addition to that, it has a full offering of approximately 30 different local sake. Enjoy a fun time with the owner, who calls himself the "yushu" (proprietor of fun).
The Tsukuri no Moriawase (front, 1,600 JPY) and Salty Grilled Kichiji (back, 1,000 JPY) are pictured above. Kichiji is a high-quality fish with light and fatty meat. The recommended sake to go with these dishes is a dry local sake, Daiginjo Tanba (1,000 JPY/180ml).
This is a cozy and peaceful restaurant. One perk of traveling on your own is getting to have a conversation with the owner across the counter!
■Gourmet Dining Tomiya
＜Phone: 0796-32-2703; Hours: 6:00 PM - 20:30 PM (last order); Closed: Sundays; Capacity: 22; Smoking: Allowed; Access: 10 minutes on foot from JR Kinosaki Onsen Station＞
Start Day 2 at JR Kinosaki Onsen Station
The first train available after checking out at 10:00 AM leaves at 10:24 AM. The train after that leaves at 11:09 AM. Take a 30-minute train ride to JR Kasumi Station.
＜12:00 PM＞ Minatosushi
This sushi bar is popular among local fishermen. It is located right in front of Kasumi Fishing Port, which is around 12 minutes on foot from JR Kasumi Station. Their sushi made with large nodoguro (blackthroat seaperch) caught offshore is popular. The skin-on nodoguro that is grilled on-site is aromatic and has a texture that seems to melt in the mouth. Their nodoguro soup has a rich umami flavor that is also outstanding!
Their Grilled Nodoguro Nigiri (430 JPY/piece) is served with homemade ponzu (Japanese citrus) sauce. The Nodo-jiru soup (540 JPY) has half the head of a nodoguro in it.
There is a unique elliptical counter with a fish tank at the foot.
＜Phone: 0796-36-1262; Hours: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM, 4:00 PM - 10:00 PM *Open all afternoon on weekends; Closed: Tuesdays (the next day if it is a public holiday); Capacity: 15; Smoking: Allowed; Access: 13 minutes on foot from JR Kasumi Station＞
【To the next spot】5 minutes on foot
＜1:30 PM＞Nishitomo Kani Ichiba
Nishitomo Kani Ichiba is packed full of blessings from the Sea of Japan that you can take home as souvenirs. You can find fresh seafood straight from Kasumi Port – such as Kasumi Crab, which is in season now – being sold at the prices they were auctioned at. You can also eat the fish that you bought on-site! There is a souvenir shop that sells products that were processed at the market’s own factory, so you can be sure of the freshness and flavor!
【Kasumi Crab season started from September 1】
This is a picture of a Kasumi Crab (two for 3,000 JPY - 5,000 JPY). They are boiled as soon as they are brought onshore, so you can enjoy their freshness.
This market is chock-full of boiled Kasumi Crab. On Saturday mornings, there is a morning market where you can buy fresh fish at great prices. Kasumi Port, where Kasumi Crab are brought onshore, is also famous for its squid. Specialty seafood such as Nodoguro (starts from 800 JPY) and Neon Flying Squid (starts from 5,000 JPY/each) are also available.
*Prices vary depending on the season and size.
■Nishitomo Kani Ichiba
＜Phone: 0796-36-1500; Hours: 8:00 AM - around 5:00 PM; Closed: Tuesdays and other irregular days; Access: 8 minutes on foot from JR Kasumi Station＞
Places to Stop by If You Have Time
Minatoya is an established store that originally opened as a ryokan during the Edo period. It has been manufacturing and selling Japanese sweets since the Meiji period. Their wagashi (Japanese sweets) are adorable to look at. They are made with carefully selected ingredients, including dainagon (large-grained azuki beans) from Tanba and wasanbon (refined sugar) from Sanuki, resulting in elegant and gentle flavors.
Tajima Bijin (860 JPY/pack of 4) is a snack that a local resident came up with. It was made in the image of traditional brides in Tanba, which is why it depicts the 12-layered bridal kimono using colorful yokan (sweet bean jelly).
Traditional crafts made with straw are also sold here.
＜Phone: 0796-32-2014; Hours: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM, 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM; Closed: None; Access: 8 minutes on foot from JR Kinosaki Stattion＞
The Kinosaki Spa Ropeway is a ropeway that connects the hot spring town to the top of Mt. Taishi. You can enjoy a 7-minute stroll in the air with a view of Maruyama River and the majestic Sea of Japan. At the mountain top, there are various facilities available, such as Onsenji Temple and several cafes. The best time to see the beautiful autumn foliage on Mt. Taishi is in November.
■Kinosaki Spa Ropeway
＜Phone: 0796-32-2530; Hours: 9:10 AM (up) - 5:10 PM (down); Closed: Second and fourth Thursdays of every month (runs if it is a public holiday); Rates: Round-trip (900 JPY)＞
GUBIGABU is a craft beer restaurant that serves local beer made with 100% malt, along with food made with local ingredients. Enjoy a cold glass of beer after soaking in the onsen! In the photo, you’ll find the slightly bitter Crab Beer (500 JPY, 470 JPY for a bottle), as well as a plate of 6 home smoked foods (1,000 JPY).
＜Phone: 0796-32-4545; Hours: 11:30 AM - 10:00 PM (last order at 9:30 PM); Closed: Thursdays and every third Wednesday of the month; Capacity: 38; Smoking: No smoking＞
[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 10.02.2017]
*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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