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Kinosaki Onsen (Hyogo-ken) [E]
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PostYou have posted in this forum: Thu Apr 12, 2007 1:30 pm Back to top

Location : Kinosaki Onsen (城崎温泉)

Prefecture : Hyogo-ken (兵庫県)

Attractions : Its 7 public baths – go to your ryokan, put your yukata on and start visiting those bathhouses before and after the dinner.

When : all year round; December to Mars is the popular crab (kani) season; April is also favored for the cherry blossom, while the place is more quiet in October and November.

Internet : Official web site of Kinosaki Onsen - (English section available, with short description of the 7 public baths)

Where to stay :
There are probably more than a hundred accommodations in Kinosaki Onsen. Just try to find a large selection. While some ryokan are beautiful and extremely expensive, there is a good choice a more affordable alternative.
You absolutely have to stay overnight in Kinosaki Onsen. The greatest fun arises from wandering at night in yukata from onsen to onsen, together with many other guests. Plus if you stay overnight, you can access the 7 bathhouses for free (it would cost you 4600 yens to visit all of them otherwise!).
To lower the cost of the accommodation, you can stay in a ryokan a little farther from the center of the town. Here is our recommendation:
Tenboen (天望苑) : a very nice ryokan located 2 km away from the center. This ryokan provides a free shuttle bus until 11 pm. It is surprisingly cheap, as single room starts from 8000 yens with a crab hot pot for dinner (in season) and a great breakfast (half European, half Japanese); their onsen is excellent, including a small rotenburo.
address - 兵庫県豊岡市城崎町桃島85-3
phone - 0796-32-3661
internet -

Access by train :
from Osaka : Ltd. Exp. Kitakinki (160 minutes, 5450 yen, 6 per day); by local lines: via Himeji
from Kyoto : Ltd. Exp. Kinosaki (149 minutes, 4710 yen, 3 per day); by local lines (4 hours 26, 2520 yen)
from Himeji : Ltd. Exp. Hamakaze (112 minutes, 3760 yen, 3 per day); by local lines (160 minutes, 1890 yen, change 3 times)

Festival :
The Aki Matsuri is held on October 14th and 15th. During this festival, many of the residents wear traditional clothing and carry shrines through the main street.


Kinsaki Station


Sato no Yu


Jizo Yu


Yanagi Yu


Ichi no Yu


Gosho no Yu


Mandara Yu


Ko no Yu



If you are a regular visitor of onsen towns, you probably must be quite disappointed of the villages themselves. Finding great ryokan with excellent food and beautiful baths is possible, even sometimes for surprisingly reasonable prices. But when you walk around, you always find the same faults: some huge concrete buildings inconveniently built in the middle of the rustic homes, flashy signs for karaoke and pachinko, and an overall commercial atmosphere that turns to a ghost town after dinner time!

After visiting hundreds of onsen, I am very pleased to announce that I found a great and accessible onsen village to stay in (Kurokawa Onsen in Kyushu island is fantastic, but really far from everywhere). If you want to enjoy a great stay and bath in good onsen, and still be able to walk around at night in a lively place, head off to Kinosaki Onsen, in Hyogo-ken! Due to its (relative) proximity with Osaka, and to the possibility to find cheap accommodation, Kinosaki is very popular among young adults, and more than half of the people walking around at night are either young couples or small groups of friends. This also changes from the usual onsen town, where most guests staying overnight are older people (ski resorts being the exception).

Image 457   Image 458

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Some (very short) historical information: Kinosaki was founded by Douichi Shonin, who is said to have prayed 1000 days to bring forth onsen waters from the rocks.

Soto-yu ("outside baths" - doesn't mean rotenburo, but just "out of ryokan")

There are 7 bath houses in the village, most of them open from 7 in the morning to 11 in the evening (2 open only at 3 pm). While all use the same hot spring water, which contains a large amount of sodium chloride, all building are very different and propose diverse type of baths. It is a tradition to visit all of them during your stay in Kinosaki.

Here is a short description of all of them, starting from the train station.

Satono-yu (さとの湯)
Open from 7:00 to 23:00; Entrance fee : 800 yens.

A very good place to start your bathing experience in Kinosaki Onsen, as this place is located immediately next to the train station. It is also the biggest bath complex in Kinasaki Onsen. The yellow building itself is quite imposing, as baths are located on two floors - the second one being also used for outside baths. There is a Japanese and a Western section in this bathhouse, and it alternates between men and women. The Western section is interesting, resembling to one of those spa resorts found in Europe. On the second floor, there are several types of furo including jet baths, and a sauna. The third floor features vapor baths (hammam) and an outside bath on the roof! The view from the roof is not fantastic, but the sight is unusual enough to be interesting. After all, where in Japan can you enjoy a vapor bath before soaking in a rotenburo... just 20 meters from a train station?

Check this link for details on the baths.

Jizou-yu (地蔵湯)
Open from 7:00 to 23:00; Entrance fee : 600 yens.

This characteristic building, with its hexagonal windows, seems to be influenced by cubism. It is located a couple of hundred meters from the station. Only one inside bath of average size, with the shape of a mushroom (!). Not so special... unfortunately.

Yanagi-yu (柳湯)
Open from 15:00 to 23:00; Entrance fee : 600 yens.

The smallest of the 7 baths, this building is also easy to miss, as the entrance looks like that of a normal house. Just search for a small foot bath in front of it! Only one inside bath here, a small one directly surrounded by the washing area. This bath tend also to be a little less crowded, as visitors running out of time prefer to skip it.

Ichino-yu (一の湯)
Open from 7:00 to 23:00; Entrance fee : 600 yens.

A large, imposing building, and also a landmark serving as the heart of the town. With its tall windows, it reminds a little of a school. A perfect place to learn about onsen, at least! Note that private bathing is available, too. The bathhouse features an impressive "cave bath", which is in fact a bath almost completely covered by stones, forming an igloo shape with a small opening close to the top to let some fresh air enter. While soaking in what, technically speaking, is an inside bath, you still get refreshed by the outside air - an unusual and pleasant feature.

Goshono-yu (御所の湯)
Open from 7:00 to 23:00; Entrance fee : 800 yens.

Beautiful from outside, the building hosting this bath follows the strict architecture of a shrine - a shrine built to celebrate onsen, on course! Upon entering in the main hall, visitors will notice a beautiful ceiling of paintings on a gold background.
The inside bath is a large but classical bath. Because of the construction, made by tastely mixing concrete, glasses and wood, the room is extremely bright, opening on the small but pleasant rotenburo. In that room, apart the usual area reserved to wash yourself before soaking, you will also find a long bench on which hot water is flowing - a very pleasant way to relax while keeping your body warm. The outside bath, located next to a small waterfall, is also enjoyable. But the most interesting stuff is a vapor bath (hammam) facing the rotenburo, where you sit with your feet in about 10 centimeters of hot water! The outside bath is just between the beautiful building hosting the inside bath and a small artifical waterfall. The view is not so special, but it is relaxing...

Image 444

Mandara-yu (まんだら湯)
Open from 15:00 to 23:00; Entrance fee : 600 yens.

This small building is the only bath which is not directly on one of the main roads. It is however easy to find with its green roof. A rectangular stone bath, which was relatively hot. There is a so-called rotenburo, but it is of limited interest: a small wooden bath where you can pack (uncomfortably) 2-3 persons, facing a tall wall... so no view from that rotenburo at all.

Ko-no-yu (鴻の湯)
Open from 7:00 to 23:00; Entrance fee : 600 yens.

Close to the cable car, this is the last onsen you will reach from the station. The building, ressembling to a house from northern Europe, is a little isolated, unlike most bathhouse of Kinosaki Onsen. A large inside bath, plus the largest rotenburo of the 7 public bathhouses. Surrounded by large stones and a couple of trees, the bath itself is nice. The view is, of course, limited. You probably will anyway enjoy this bathhouse, as it is the most pleasant rotenburo accessible in town.

Pictures of the onsen, including some vintage ones :

Other interest

Onsenji Temple (温泉時) and the Ropeway - a temple built in 738 to commemorate the founding of Kinosaki onsen. This temple is reached by a ropeway (get out halfway to the top); don't miss the view from the top of the mountain if the weather is clear.

Kinosaki Marine World (城崎マリンワールド) - an aquarium 10 minutes by bus from the station. Open 9:00 - 16:30 (July 20 to August 31: 8:30 – 17:30), admission fee 2310 yen.

Gembudo Cave (玄武洞) - a famous cave with thousands of stalactites reached in 5 minutes from the station (by taxi).

Gembudo Museum (玄武洞ミュージアム) - a museum featuring a large collection of minerals. Open 8:30 – 18:00 (to 17:30 in winter), admission fee 600 yen.


JNTO Guide, including a section on Kinosaki

A blog with many pictures of Kinosaki Onsen

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PostYou have posted in this forum: Sun Sep 13, 2009 2:36 pm Back to top

On all of the pages for Kinosaki onsen you state that Kinosaki is in Kyoto-fu; it is, in fact, part of Toyooka in Hyogo. Not sure if this might lead to confusion or not....

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PostYou have posted in this forum: Sun Sep 13, 2009 3:34 pm Back to top

Indeed, Kinosaki is in Hyogo-ken, as state in the title of this guide and the first line. I have not find any reference on this web site linking Kinosaki to Kyoto-fu, where did you find this error?

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