5 Best Onsen in Osaka
Osaka's Hidden Gems: The Top 5 Onsen for Ultimate Relaxation
Visiting a hot spring, or onsen, is a quintessential Japanese experience, and while Osaka may not be widely recognized for its onsen, the city harbors many hidden treasures.
For international travelers, an onsen visit isn’t just about relaxation; it’s a deep dive into Japan’s rich bathing culture, offering a unique mix of serenity and cultural insight.
Osaka, known for its lively urban atmosphere, also provides tranquil onsen escapes, perfect for unwinding after a day of city exploration. This article introduces the top 5 onsens in Osaka, each a gateway to both rejuvenation and an authentic Japanese experience.
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1. Fushio Onsen
The first place on our list is Fushio Onsen (伏尾温泉). Situated in Fushio-cho within Ikeda City, this Onsen lies north of Osaka city, close to Hyogo Prefecture. This hot spring is a mere 30-minute drive from central Osaka, making it a perfect retreat for visitors touring prominent Osaka attractions like USJ and Osaka Castle.
Renowned for its scenic beauty in the fall, the area attracts many visitors eager to see the autumn leaves. Nearby, visitors can explore significant historical sites such as Kuon-ji Temple, a cultural treasure. Additionally, Mount Satsuki, famous for its cherry blossoms and autumnal foliage, offers a scenic backdrop that varies beautifully throughout the year.
Founded in 1933, predating the hot spring itself, the Ryokan Fushioukaku (不死王閣) discovered its source through drilling in 1967, boasting two unique spring locations. Accessible via a shuttle bus that requires a prior reservation or a short 15-minute taxi ride, the facility offers various plans, including day trips. It’s also workcation-friendly and equipped with Wi-Fi, making it ideal for those seeking relaxation and productivity.
2. Inunakiyama Onsen
Inunakiyama Onsen (犬鳴山温泉), nestled in the lush greenery at the base of Mount Inunaki, is a secluded hot spring with a rich history dating back to the Nanboku-cho period (1337-1392), where it was believed to heal the wounds of soldiers.
Located just an hour’s drive from Osaka city, this onsen is set in an area known for its stunning natural beauty and scenic valleys, recognized as one of “Osaka Prefecture’s Top 100 Green Sights.” Mount Inunaki, a scenic spot, is particularly breathtaking during the fresh greenery of spring and the vivid autumn leaves, attracting hikers nationwide. The entire area, dotted with various waterfalls and sites for Shugendo (Japanese mountain asceticism) practice, exudes a mystical ambiance.
Inunakiyama Onsen is renowned for its skin-beautifying properties. The spring is classified as a bicarbonate spring, known for its therapeutic effects on neuralgia, rheumatism, gastrointestinal diseases, and diabetes, offering both physical healing and a serene nature retreat.
Two of the more popular Ryokan in Inunakiyama Onsen are Minamitei (み奈美亭) and Fudouguchikan Ryokan (不動口館). Minamitei, located alongside the Inunaki River, is a scenic ryokan offering seasonal kaiseki featuring local seafood and diverse hot pots. Fudouguchikan Ryokan, in a national park, provides exceptional outdoor baths with views of the illuminated forest, offering a unique experience of nature’s beauty throughout the year.
3. Ushitaki Onsen
Next on our list, we have Ushitaki Onsen (牛滝温泉). Located east of Inunakiyama Onsen in the lush nature of Kishiwada, Osaka, emerges from the Cretaceous period strata. The hot spring, sourced from a depth of 1,645 meters in these ancient layers, is renowned for its abundance of fossils like ammonites and snails, displayed in local inns. The area is rich in historical and cultural sites, including Kishiwada Castle, the ancient Kumeda Temple, and Tsugawa Shrine.
Nearby, the Ushitaki River leads to Mount Izumi Katsuragi, known for its beech forests designated as a national natural monument. The expansive grounds of Ushitaki Onsen offer a variety of accommodations including Japanese and Western-style rooms, glamping facilities on water, log houses, dining areas, BBQ spots, and camping sites, providing a perfect blend of leisure and relaxation.
Ushitaki Onsen’s water, originating from 7000-million-year-old Cretaceous strata, is rich in sodium and bicarbonate ions, giving it a silky, moisturizing quality, often referred to as “the feather robe of water.” Celebrated for its skin-beautifying properties and known as “beauty water”. The onsen offers a deeply comforting experience, warming the body to its core and providing a soothing and rejuvenating experience.
4. Ishikiri Onsen
Ishikiri Onsen (石切温泉), located at the western base of Mount Ikoma, near the Osaka-Nara border, is a radium-rich hot spring renowned for its therapeutic properties.
The area is culturally rich, hosting significant shrines such as Hyotan-yama Inari and Hiraoka Shrine. The approach to these shrines is lively, lined with shops, eateries, herbal medicine stores, and numerous fortune-telling parlors.
Mount Ikoma, a spiritually significant site with over a hundred small shrines and training sites for waterfall ascetics, also offers accessible hiking trails. Just a 5-minute walk from Ishikiri Station, the onsen is conveniently reachable.
Recognized for its simple radium spring, Ishikiri Onsen is particularly effective for treating rheumatism and arteriosclerosis. This blend of cultural, spiritual, and natural elements, coupled with its health benefits, makes Ishikiri Onsen a unique and sought-after destination.
Opened in 1980, Hotel Seiryu (ホテルセイリュウ), a solitary inn at the foot of Mount Ikoma, offers both lodging and day-use bathing options. The hotel’s large public bath and open-air bath are situated at an elevation equivalent to the 70th floor above Osaka city level. Guests can enjoy stunning views of the setting sun at dusk and a beautiful nightscape spanning Osaka to Kobe in the evenings.
5. Kaizuka Onsen
Located in the Sennan region, southwest of the city, Kaizuka Onsen (かいづか温泉) occupies a strategic position between the aforementioned Inunakiyama Onsen and Ushitaki Onsen. This onsen town has evolved around the Ganzenji temple area and is renowned for its cultural festivities, notably the vibrant Danjiri Festival in autumn.
Kaizuka Onsen is famous for its unique lukewarm springs, often dubbed “beauty water” for their skin-enhancing qualities, attracting numerous visitors regularly. The spring water, naturally at 20.8°C and warmed to 41.8°C, is alkaline and noted for its smooth, skin-friendly properties, offering both beautification and warmth.
Beyond its hot springs, Kaizuka Onsen appeals to those interested in historical explorations. The area is also home to attractions like the Kaizuka Ibuki Onsen Auto Campsite (かいづか いぶき温泉オートキャンプ場) and the Kaizuka Ibuki Village (かいづか いぶきヴィレッジ), perfect for nature enthusiasts who enjoy camping. Kaizuka Onsen’s blend of historical charm, traditional events, and therapeutic waters make it a diverse and inviting destination.
+ Onsen near Kansai International Airport (KIX)
As honorable mentions, we would also like to introduce Kanku Onsen (関空温泉) and Solaniwa Onsen (空庭温泉) which are both located near Kansai International Airport.
Kanku Onsen, situated in the Kanku Onsen Hotel Garden Palace, is just a 10-minute shuttle bus ride from Kansai International Airport. It provides a tranquil escape for travelers, conveniently located near the airport.
Solaniwa Onsen, the largest onsen theme park in the Kansai region, occupies multiple floors of the Osaka Bay Tower at Bentencho Station. This extensive facility exceeds 5,000 square meters, offering a unique blend of traditional hot spring relaxation and theme park entertainment, making it an ideal destination for those seeking an immersive onsen experience near Osaka.
I hope this article helped you find an Onsen that interests you. Osaka might be relatively lesser-known for its Onsen spots, but as you can see in this article, there are many great places for you to spend some relaxing time in the hot springs.
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