The town of Kinosaki in Hyogo Prefecture is one of the best places to experience Japan’s famous hot springs and the many charms of Japanese culture. The willow-lined canal running through the center of Kinosaki Onsen, as well as its many traditional houses, shops, and restaurants, offer a glimpse into the Japan of yesteryear.
Nestled in a valley, surrounded by mountains and sea, the classic architecture of Kinosaki Onsen offers a nostalgic ambiance. Slip back in time and soak up the relaxed atmosphere. Experience traditional Japanese hospitality and culture firsthand as you stroll along the streets wearing traditional Japanese spa wear, including a yukata robe and geta footwear.
Built around sacred natural hot springs, Kinosaki Onsen is home to seven unique public baths, each within walking distance of Kinosaki Onsen Station and one another. You can spend the whole day walking between each bathhouse to soak up the rich atmosphere. Choose a larger bathhouse like Satono-Yu, Goshono-Yu, and Ichino-Yu, or more intimate spaces like Jizou-Yu, Yanagi-Yu, Kouno-Yu, and Mandara-Yu.
You’ll eat beautifully in Kinosaki Onsen. From the land, relish tender and delicious Tajima beef. Beyond high marbling, delectable flavor, and superior texture, many believe that Tajima beef is also healthier than other beef thanks to higher levels of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids. From the sea, enjoy a bounty of fresh seafood, including Matsuba crab, the local name for the male snow crab harvested from the Sea of Japan. The Matsuba crab season in Kinosaki Onsen is from the beginning of November to the end of March.
Just a short train or bus ride can bring you to one of Kinosaki Onsen's neighboring towns. These include the beautiful beach town Takeno, the Edo era history-filled town Izushi, and the mountainous adventurers' town Kannabe. Visit Kinosaki Onsen's official tourism website for more information about each of these areas.
Kinosaki Onsen Official Website
Use your Japan Rail Pass to easily get to Kinosaki from Kyoto or Osaka via Japan Railway trains for no additional cost. JR Kyoto to Kinosaki Onsen (2 hours, 30 minutes) JR Osaka to Kinosaki Onsen (2 hours, 40 minutes) JR Kobe to Kinosaki Onsen (2 hours, 30 minutes) JR Himeji to Kinosaki Onsen (1 hours, 50 minutes)Buy JR Pass
Japanese Inn Stay with Guided Interior and Kitchen Tour
Experience a classic Japanese inn. Enjoy spacious Japanese tatami mat rooms with a private open-air bath and/or garden view. This experience includes guided tours of the inn's stylish architecture and the kitchen. English-speaking staff will introduce you to the unique features that make this space so special, including the garden and museum collection, as well as the kitchen. The kitchen will prepare a sumptuous kaiseki multi-course Japanese dinner, to be served in the privacy of your room. The menu features local seafood from the Sea of Japan as well as world-renowned Tajima beef. Breakfast will be served in your room as well. This experience includes mulitple options for customization. Add a yukata rental from the nearby shop, Iroha, to find the perfect yukata. Add a traditional Japanese cultural activity: choose tea ceremony, flower arrangement, calligraphy, koto, or sutra copying at Iroha's second shop. Wear your yukata during cultural experiences or walk around Kinosaki Onsen.Learn More/Reserve
Seafood Market Visit with Cooking Class and Seafood Okonomiyaki Meal
Visit Okesho Sengyo, a local seafood market well-known for in-season fish and shellfish, including rare fishes like rockfish and hairy stingfish, and shellfish like turban snails and freshwater clams. Okesho Sengyo is particularly popular during the winter crab season. In this rare experience, you can choose various types of fresh seafood from the market before visiting the kitchen at Tokiwa Garden for a cooking class. After learning how to cook seafood okonomiyaki, enjoy eating your creation plus one more dish.Learn More/Reserve
Private Meat Sommelier Lesson and Tajima Beef Meal
Enjoy a delicious Tajima beef lunch at Irori Dining Mikuni. Relish Tajima beef seasoned with wasabi or Takeno Kaigan sea salt and paired with Japanese sake. Learn the history of Tajima beef and watch a meat sommelier demonstrate beef cutting skills in a private dining space. Wagyu (Japanese beef) is famous around the globe, and Hyogo Prefecture is the birthplace of wagyu. Only pure Tajima, bred, raised, and slaughtered in Hyogo Prefecture can be certified as Kobe beef. Global gourmets prize Tajima wagyu for its extremely high degree of marbling.Learn More/Reserve
Kabuki Show at Eirakukan
A short bus ride from JR Toyooka Station, Eirakukan Kabuki Theater is a popular attraction in the quaint old town of Izushi, near Kinosaki Onsen. Eirakukan, the oldest kabuki venue in Kansai, hosts live kabuki shows every November (or occasionally October). Renowned kabuki actors gather in Izushi to perform classic kabuki works at this annual kabuki festival. Smaller than kabuki theatres in bigger cities, the venue makes for a more intimate performance, so you can see every detail up close. Whether you are already planning a stay in Kinosaki Onsen or plan to arrive from Kyoto or Osaka, this is a rare and excellent opportunity to see live kabuki shows, performed live in a classic Kabuki theater, by esteemed kabuki actors.Learn More/Reserve