Kinosaki Onsen is a hot spring town with 1300 years of history behind it. As an onsen town formed in ancient times, Kinosaki had at least 50 onsen ryokan in 1870. At the time, the town was not so much a sightseeing spot as it was a place for people to heal in the hot spring waters. This method, called toji in Japanese, is a passed-down hot spring therapy that involves staying in a hot spring resort and entering an onsen with the health benefits needed to treat the person's sickness or health condition. A pharmacy book published around 1730 describes toji and introduces Kinosaki Onsen as the best out of the many hot springs all over Japan.
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.
Kinosaki Onsen, which is said to be the birthplace of the onsen-hopping, has seven hot springs each with their own charm. When you arrive at your ryokan, change into a yukata and relieve your daily fatigue by visiting the hot springs.
There are two legends regarding the founding of Kinosaki Onsen, one of which involves the Oriental White Stork. It is said that Buddhist priest named Douchi Shonin prayed for 1,000 days from 717 to 720 AD, resulting in the hot spring shooting up from the ground. There is also the legend that says people discovered the hot spring when they found an Oriental White Stork healing its wounds in it. The last wild oriental white storks in Japan died in Toyooka city in 1971, but their story didn't end there. Now, almost 50 years after they first went extinct, the storks fly again in Toyooka city, with the first wild chicks born in 2007.
Kinosaki Onsen Official Website
Take a walk around Kinosaki Onsen in yukata and enjoy the town's 7 hot springs
Visit the nursery center located next door and have lunch with the kids
Destress at a private spa in Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei
Return to Kinosaki Onsen Station by train or taxi
Learn how the formerly extinct Oriental White Stork was resurrected and observe the storks in the wild.
Take a stroll around Hachigoro Toshima Wetland to see how the locals help storks to thrive with their rice paddies, then enjoy a delicious lunch made with organically-grown rice.
Learn how to make salt from the ocean's saltwater, and then explore the town
Head to your next destination (Kyoto/Osaka/Himeji etc.)
Learn the Ancient Onsenji Bathing Method at Onsenji Temple
Visit Onsenji Temple and learn the ancient bathing method of Kinosaki Onsen. This tour will also bring you up to the summit of Mt. Daishi on a cable car, where you can enjoy panoramic views of Maruyama River and the Sea of Japan, and try your hand at disc throwing, a fun local custom for wish-making. By the end of the tour, you'd be able to put your new bathing knowledge to use on your own hot spring pilgrimage in Kinosaki Onsen!Learn More/Reserve
Gokurakuji Temple Zazen and Matcha Tea Near Kinosaki Onsen
Take a guided walking tour through Japan's famous resort town, Kinosaki Onsen, before reaching Gokurakuji Temple, a temple famous for its beautiful zen garden, featuring a careful arrangement of stones raked to mimic ripples in water. Try swapping your clothes for a 'Samue' (a Buddhist monk's traditional work clothes) before trying your hand a zazen meditation. Listen to an authentic Buddhist sermon, then enjoy matcha green tea and Japanese sweets while discussing your thoughts and impressions with the priest.Learn More/Reserve
Straw Craft Workshop Tour and Activity in Kinosaki Onsen
Learn about the traditional craft of mugiwara zaiku (straw craft), a technique unique to Kinosaki Onsen. Visit Kamiya Mingei store, a straw crafting store in the area and gain fascinating insights into the history and process of this art form. You’ll also enjoy a straw crafting activity by pasting brightly dyed strips of straws to decorate a straw box. You can take the box home as a souvenir. The craftsman will be teaching you directly with the help of an English-speaking guide. You can also enjoy the atmosphere and facilities 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
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
Stork Extinction and Resurrection Tour with Private Guide
Extinction wasn't the end for the oriental white stork. On this tour you'll learn how conservation efforts and international cooperation brought these birds back to the skies and fields of Toyooka City. With your guide, explore some of the wetlands specially created for the storks, as well as the facility where they are bred, raised and released into the wild. You'll also see how local agriculture has played a role in stork conservation, and enjoy a stork-friendly lunch made with locally grown rice and vegetables.Learn More/Reserve
Kannabe Highlands Cycling and Local Food Near Kinosaki Onsen
Enjoy nature in Kannabe Highlands near Kinosaki Onsen. Take a guided cycling tour through the lush forest near Mount Kannabe. Visit a local tofu shop for soymilk and tofu. Harvest seasonal organic vegetables and relish outdoor lunch at Rin-en Farm. You’ll stop at Fuketsu Cave for sightseeing. Cycle past the visually stunning Hyogo Prefectural Tajima Dome. And play in the waters of Hattan Falls (Hattan No Taki Waterfall). Bring a camera to photograph the Hattan Falls impressive 24-meter drop.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
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 hour, 50 minutes)Buy JR Pass