Featured Photo Kinosaki - Kinosaki, Japan

Kinosaki: A Hot Spring Town in Japan

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Kinosaki Onsen, or Kinosaki for short, is a popular destination for tourists and people living in Japan.  The town’s various onsen, hot spring baths, account for Kinosaki’s reputation as a top destination.  Most visitors flock to Kinosaki for the chance to relax in the warm and restorative hot spring water.  Besides the onsen people will find a quaint town full of charm.

Manhole Cover - Kinosaki, Japan

Manhole cover in Kinosaki

Train Station - Kinosaki, Japan

Kinosaki Train Station

Arrival in Kinosaki

Accessible by train, tourists reach Kinosaki via Japan Rail from Kyoto or Osaka within three hours.  Tourists spending the night will stay either at a hotel or a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn.  Upon arrival at the Kinosaki train station, tourists with lots of luggage and reservations at a hotel or ryokan should stop at the nearby Hotel/Ryokan Information Center.  Located across from the train station, you can use the Center’s luggage check service.  For 50 yen per piece of luggage, the Center will send the luggage direct to your hotel or ryokan.  This will free you from the constraints of your baggage and allow you your first opportunity to explore Kinosaki on foot.

Street in Kinosaki, Japan

Street in Kinosaki

Restaurant serving crab, a local specialty of Kinosaki, Japan

Restaurant serving crab, a local specialty of Kinosaki

The Town of Kinosaki

Kinosaki has few cars, making it ideal for walking.  Upon exiting the train station, notice that buildings reach only a few stories high. You won’t find skyscrapers or subways, but instead a peaceful town where time saunters at a slow pace.  Head west from the Kinosaki Onsen train station to one of the town’s main streets.  Here you will pass by souvenir shops, storefronts, and restaurants.  Those visitors not staying at a ryokan that includes meals should eat at restaurants that serve Kinosaki’s local specialties of crab and beef.  For meat eaters make sure the menu serves the local Tajima beef, the root of the beef known the world over as Kobe beef.

Daytime in Kinosaki, Japan

Daytime in Kinosaki

Night in Kinosaki, Japan

Night in Kinosaki

At the end of this main street, you will reach a river that flows through the town.  Here you can walk along the river, using small bridges to reach both sides of the street.  Sprinkled throughout the town you will find various temples.  From the temples, to the buildings, the river and bridges, makes Kinosaki charming whether it be day or night, sunny or rainy.

Onsen – Japanese Bathhouses

As you walk around Kinosaki, you will see visitors wearing yukata.  Yukata are light, casual, versions of kimonos, the traditional Japanese garment.  Those wearing yukata are most likely heading to a bathhouse, known as onsen.  The yukata allows for quick changing while at the onsen.  Kinosaki has seven public onsen.  Those staying at either a hotel or ryokan should receive free passes that allows access to each of the seven public onsen.  Anyone visiting Kinosaki for the day may pay an entrance fee to access a particular public onsen.  If you prefer a more private bathing experience check with the various ryokan in town.  A few ryokans may offer, with a reservation fee, private hot spring rooms.

Bathing in an Onsen

Anyone new to using Japanese onsen will want to know the rules associated with visiting a hot spring bathhouse.  Public onsen have separate bathing facilities for men and women.  You will bath without clothing, not even a swimsuit.  When you arrive at an onsen use the provided lockers to disrobe and to store your clothing and belongings.  Before entering the hot spring, rinse yourself with the showering stations set along the wall.

At the shower station, wash yourself with the provided soap and shampoo.  Rinse the soap and shampoo off before entering the hot spring.  This way you are clean when you enter the bath and no soap or shampoo chemicals will get into the hot spring water.  Place the small towel provided by the onsen either on your head or beside the bath.  Do not put the towel or your locker key in the water.  Nothing but your skin should enter the hot spring or touch the water.  Once in the hot spring sit back and relax in the natural waters.

Hot Springs Alternatives

Kinosaki’s hot spring water isn’t found just inside the onsen.  In a few locations around the town you will find foot massage pools.  Here you can dip your feet into water pools full of fresh hot spring water.  These spots are a perfect way to rest those tired feet after strolling around town.  Near one particular foot pool is Chaya.  This food stand serves drinks, ice cream, and a unique egg experience.  First, buy a small sack containing three eggs.  Then tie the sack to the wooden plank hovering above a pool of hot spring water.  Leave the eggs in the hot spring water for twelve to thirteen minutes and you’ll have a delicious soft-boiled egg.

Hot spring drinking water - Kinosaki, Japan

Hot spring drinking water stand in Kinosaki

Hot spring drinking water - Kinosaki, Japan

Hot spring drinking water in Kinosaki

Besides foot pools and egg cooking you’ll find around the town hot spring drinking water fountains.  These fountains are not your regular drinking fountains.  You don’t push a button for the water.  Use the provided cups by the fountain to capture the water to drink.  The drinking water is helpful for those suffering from chronic digestive organ problems or chronic constipation.  Be aware though that signs near the fountain will warn you not to consume the water over a long period of time.  The reason being that the water has sodium chloride and calcium chloride.  Infants and those with kidney disease, high blood pressure, or are prone to swelling should not drink the water.

Entrance to Kinosaki Ropeway - Kinosaki, Japan

Entrance to Kinosaki Ropeway

Kinosaki Ropeway gondola cable car - Kinosaki, Japan

Kinosaki Ropeway gondola cable car

Kinosaki Spa Ropeway

Another popular site to visit is the Kinosaki Spa Ropeway, for its panoramic views of Kinosaki.  In total the Ropeway has three stations along a mountain.  The first of these stops is at the foot of the mountain, next to the earlier mentioned food stand Chaya.  Buy tickets for riding the gondola cable cars at the first station.  Those not wanting to ride the Ropeway can use pathways to walk up the mountain.  The pathway is not an easy hike, and it takes up to an hour to reach the top of the mountain.  Taking the gondola cable cars is a much faster way to ascend to the top of the mountain.

Statue found at the mountain top of the Kinosaki Ropeway - Kinosaki, Japan

Statue found at the mountain top of the Kinosaki Ropeway

View from the mountain top of the Kinosaki Ropeway - Kinosaki, Japan

View from the mountain top of the Kinosaki Ropeway

At the second station of the Ropeway you will find the Onsenji Temple and Kinosaki Art Museum.  The top most station of the Ropeway has a viewing platform.  Here you can see Kinosaki, the surrounding town, Maruyama River, and the Sea of Japan.

 

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Kinosaki

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Jizouyu Bath: 35.626658, 134.812567
Kinosaki Train Station: 35.623680, 134.813460
Goshonoyu Bath: 35.625903, 134.807370
Mandarayu Bath: 35.624462, 134.805707
Satonoyu Bath: 35.624288, 134.813457
Chaya: 35.625585, 134.804290
Kinosaki Spa Ropeway: 35.624004, 134.800590
Yanagiyu Bath: 35.675147, -224.121094
Ichinoyu Bath: 35.626448, 134.810470
Kounoyu Bath: 35.626260, 134.804486
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Jizouyu Bath
Kinosaki: A Hot Spring Town in Japan
Kinosaki Onsen-eki, Japan
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Kinosaki Train Station
Kinosaki: A Hot Spring Town in Japan
Kinosaki Onsen-eki, Japan
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Goshonoyu Bath
Kinosaki: A Hot Spring Town in Japan
御所の湯, Japan
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Mandarayu Bath
Kinosaki: A Hot Spring Town in Japan
まんだら湯, Japan
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Satonoyu Bath
Kinosaki: A Hot Spring Town in Japan
さとの湯, Japan
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Chaya
Kinosaki: A Hot Spring Town in Japan
Kinosaki Onsen-eki, Japan
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Kinosaki Spa Ropeway
Kinosaki: A Hot Spring Town in Japan
城崎温泉ロープウェイ, Japan
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Yanagiyu Bath
Kinosaki: A Hot Spring Town in Japan
Kinosaki Onsen-eki, Japan
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Ichinoyu Bath
Kinosaki: A Hot Spring Town in Japan
一の湯, Japan
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Kounoyu Bath
Kinosaki: A Hot Spring Town in Japan
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