Translated by Lester Somera
Kinosaki Onsen - Visit Outdoor Hot Springs And Try Tasty Local Snacks
Written by Riho Takada
Kinosaki Onsen in Hyogo is located by the Sea of Japan. Close to Osaka and Kyoto, the hot springs at Kinosaki are some of the most famous in Japan. Learn how to make the most of a trip here with discount passes for the town's famous hot springs, and delicious hot spring cuisine.
Kinosaki Onsen - A Picturesque Hot Spring Town
Kinosaki is beautiful in all seasons
Kinosaki Onsen is a famous hot spring town in Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture. Located on the Sea of Japan coast, around 2.5 hours from Kyoto and Osaka, it is a popular onsen that many visit when in western Japan. This onsen resort area is said to have been discovered around 1,300 years ago when someone saw the spring waters healing the wounds of a stork.
Kinosaki is one of the best places to enjoy soaking in hot springs in Japan. Continue reading to learn about which baths to try and all you need to know for a great trip to this famous onsen area.
Bathe at Seven Different Outdoor Hot Springs
Kinosaki is known for its seven outdoor hot springs (rotenburo) within walking distance of each other. Visitors can enjoy strolling from hot spring to hot spring while wearing yukata (a light kimono) for a traditional onsen-feeling experience.
Kinosaki Onsen has a handy pass called the Yumepa which is used for this tour, and it gives holders unlimited one-day access to all seven springs (1,300 yen for adults, 650 yen for children). The pass is sold at the counter of each open-air spring. Below are two of the seven hot springs you can go to.
Yanagiyu is famous for the legend that bathing in its waters will bestow the bather with the blessing of a child. Yanagiyu is notable for its depth, which will go up to a child’s head, and its comparatively high water temperature. Also, it is said that the waters are effective for treating wounds and swelling. There are two free foot baths outside. The one on the main street in the front gets crowded, but the one in the back is comparatively less-trafficked, so you can relax when using it.
Ichinoyu is so famous it was given a name meaning “Japan’s number one onsen.” It is known for its cave hot spring, surrounded by rock faces. One of Kinosaki Onsen’s most popular open-air hot springs, lines form to enter in the evening.
Special Hot Spring Area Food
Kinosaki Onsen has plenty of shops, from restaurants and souvenir shops to fishmongers who handle fresh catches of the day, making it a great destination for a relaxing weekend getaway. Below are two recommendations.
1. Kinosaki Gelato Cafe Chaya
At this shop you can make hot spring-boiled eggs to eat for yourself, which have soft yolks and firm whites. They are very easy to make. Buy eggs at the shop (three for 300 yen) and dip them in the hot spring source in front of the shop.
After up to 10 minutes, they are done! Take them out of the water, crack their shells and enjoy your slightly jiggly boiled eggs. How firm the whites are will depend on how long you cook the eggs, so if you prefer firmer boiled eggs, you'll want to wait the full 10 minutes.
The hot spring has some salt content, which imparts a faint saltiness to the egg. It was quite delicious. Even though it was a cold day in early February, customers were surging into the shop.
There is also a foot bath, so you can soak your feet and warm up while you wait for your egg to cook.
2. Maruyama Karyo
Maruyama Karyo is famous for its post-bath pudding, a syrup-filled dessert topped with brown sugar caramel sauce. They are made by hand every morning and there is a limited supply, so they sometimes sell out. If you want to try the pudding, be sure to come early in the day.
Kinosaki Onsen is much more than just hot springs - the whole town overflows with charm. How about coming to escape the winter cold and get rid of your fatigue?
How to Get to Kinosaki Onsen
Finally, let’s look at how to get to Kinosaki. Train access from major cities like Osaka and Kyoto is the most convenient way to reach the area. From Osaka, take the Limited Express Konotori from JR Osaka Station (three hours and 10 minutes, 5,500 yen). From Kyoto, take the Limited Express Kinosaki from JR Kyoto Station (two hours and 24 minutes, 4,730 yen)
Main image by Pixta