Kinosaki Onsen: The Complete Guide

Kinosaki Onsen: the best Onsen town in Hyogo

One of the best hot spring destinations in the country! Kinosaki Onsen Town is the prettiest Onsen gem in western Japan and it’s a perfect spa treat option for visitors to Kyoto and Osaka 🙂

In this article, I will explain the appeal of Kinosaki Onsen as well as share with you what you can do in the town as well as nearby areas. I will also introduce some great ryokan and hotels you can stay at.

*Please note that this article contains affiliate links.

What is Kinosaki Onsen?

kinosaki onsenKinosaki Onsen (城崎温泉), situated on the coast of the Sea of Japan in northern Hyogo Prefecture, is one of the most renowned hot spring destinations in Japan’s Kansai Region.

With a history dating back to the 8th century, the town celebrated its 1300th anniversary in 2020. The origins of Kinosaki Onsen trace back to 717 AD when the monk Dochi Shonin sought to heal the sick through divine guidance and intense spiritual practice, leading to the discovery of these therapeutic waters in 720 AD. He later founded Onsen-ji Temple, enhancing the area’s spiritual significance.

Today, Kinosaki is distinguished by its historic bathhouses, traditional ryokan hotels, and picturesque scenery, characterized by stone bridges over small rivers and rows of willow trees.

Things to Do in Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen offers a blend of historical hot springs and a nostalgic townscape, making it a top Onsen destination recognized by Lonely Planet. The town’s old-fashioned charm is enhanced by its scenic river lined with willow trees.

Visitors typically enjoy the traditional experience of wearing Yukata and Geta sandals, provided by local ryokans, to stroll the streets in the evening. The town, illuminated by dim lights, features retro architecture, restaurants, ryokan hotels, and souvenir shops.

Key attractions include seven public bathhouses, each offering a unique hot spring experience. Notable among them are “Sato no Yu” (さとの湯) with its scenic open-air bath and “Ichi no Yu” (一の湯) known for its cave-like setting. This bathhouse tour is complimentary for guests staying at local ryokans.

gosho no yu

For a touch of nature and culture, visitors can explore Genbudo Park (玄武洞公園), a natural power spot, enjoy panoramic views from the Kinosaki Ropeway, and visit Gosho no Yu (御所の湯) with its high ceiling. Literary enthusiasts will appreciate the Kinosaki Literary Museum (城崎文芸館), while the Hyogo Prefectural Kounotori no Sato Park (兵庫県立コウノトリの郷公園) showcases the graceful storks. Additionally, the Otani River’s willow-lined banks offer a picturesque setting to experience the town’s atmosphere.

Kinosaki Onsen also offers great hiking courses for people to immerse themselves in nature. There are also famous spots for Sakura (cherry blossoms) watching.

3 Best Onsen Ryokan in Kinosaki Onsen

Just as we have explained in this article, there is a lot you can experience in Kinosaki Onsen and its surrounding areas. To maximize your experience at this place, we suggest you stay for a couple of days at a Ryokan or Hotel.

Here are some great options for you to stay when you visit Kinosaki Onsen.

Kinosaki Onsen Nishimuraya Honkan

Nishimuraya Honkan
Copyright © Nishimuraya

Nishimuraya Honkan (西村屋本館), a distinguished ryokan in Kinosaki Onsen, boasts a rich history dating back to the Edo Ansei era. Nestled in the heart of Kinosaki, a scenic hot spring town with a 1300-year history, it offers easy access to local attractions and eateries.

This 5-star establishment provides exceptional hospitality, featuring 34 elegantly designed Japanese-style rooms overlooking a meticulously crafted garden. Guests enjoy free Wi-Fi, parking, onsens, massages, and a spa.

The ryokan’s tranquil setting by the Otani River, lined with willows and stone bridges, enhances its traditional charm.

<<Book “Nishimuraya Honkan” at the best price!!>>

Reyzenit-Kinosaki Suite Villa

Reyzenit-Kinosaki Suite Villa

Reyzenit-Kinosaki Suite Villa (レイセニット城崎スイートVILLA), situated in Kinosaki, is perfect for families, including those with babies or pets. Close to Kinosaki Onsen Station, it offers a convenient location for exploring the area.

The villa features spacious Japanese-Western-style rooms, equipped with LAN internet for a comfortable stay. Guests can relax in the “Kounotori Natural Onsen” and enjoy local seasonal cuisine. Ideal for both business and leisure, it’s a great place to unwind and experience local hospitality.

Pick-up at the train station is available (booking required).

<<Book “Reyzenit-Kinosaki Suite Villa” at the best price!!>>

Tsuki no Shizuku Ryokan

Tsuki no Shizuku Ryokan
Copyright (C) 2010 Tsuki no Shizuku

Tsuki no Shizuku Ryokan (月のしずく) in Kinosaki Onsen is a serene hideaway offering 12 distinctively designed rooms. This intimate setting is perfect for experiencing Kinosaki’s charm and Tajima’s seasonal delicacies.

The ryokan features elegant tatami corridors, a tranquil courtyard, and beautifully lit spaces. It boasts exquisite baths made of black granite and private baths crafted from hinoki wood and natural stone. Guests are treated to a culinary journey with fresh, seasonal local fare, capturing the essence of Tajima’s culinary richness.

<<Book “Tsuki no Shizuku Ryokan” at the best price!!>>

How to Get to Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki (train)

Kinosaki Onsen, located in the northern part of Hyogo Prefecture, is conveniently situated near the Sea of Japan, just 2-3 km to the north. The town is accessible via the San-in Main Line railway, and the Tajima Airport is about 12 km to the south.

Once you arrive at Kinosaki Onsen Station, you can walk to the various ryokans or take a shuttle bus provided by the Kinosaki Onsen Ryokan Association.

For those coming from Kyoto, Osaka, or Kobe, Kinosaki Onsen is an ideal side trip, easily explored in one or two days.

From Kyoto, it’s a 2-hour and 25-minute journey by either the Kinosaki or the JR San-in Main Line Limited Express trains. From Osaka, the trip takes approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes, with options including the Konotori Limited Express or the JR Fukuchiyama Line Limited Express.

What did you think about Kinosaki Onsen?? Onsen is not only about taking a bath but also enjoying the great atmosphere of the town!

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"The world is my oyster" A globetrotter 🌎 and hammock lover 🌞 who loves taking adventures to fuel wanderlust. Born and raised in Japan, I have lived and explored countries around the world. As a resident of Japan and based on my travel experience, I'd love to share my knowledge and tips for travelling Japan with my readers. I hope my story will help you plan your trip and have a great time in Japan 🌈