HOME Kansai Hyogo Kinosaki Onsen Kinosaki Onsen Guide: Bathing, Sightseeing, Food, and Shopping in Japan’s 1,300-Year-Old Hot Spring Town
Kinosaki Onsen Guide: Bathing, Sightseeing, Food, and Shopping in Japan’s 1,300-Year-Old Hot Spring Town

Kinosaki Onsen Guide: Bathing, Sightseeing, Food, and Shopping in Japan’s 1,300-Year-Old Hot Spring Town

Date published: 22 December 2019
Last updated: 7 November 2022

Kinosaki Onsen, located on the Sea of Japan side of northern Hyogo Prefecture, is one of Japan’s definitive hot spring regions boasting over 1,300 years of history. Donning a yukata kimono and geta sandals, guests can stroll between and soak in seven different public hot spring baths, making it feel like the entire town is one big Japanese inn!

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the appeal of Kinosaki Onsen, diving into the town’s best sightseeing spots, local food, shopping, and more, along with how to get there. Onsen fans, you haven’t seen the best of Japan’s hot springs until you’ve been to Kinosaki Onsen!

Top Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association

Table of Contents
  1. What sort of place is Kinosaki Onsen?
  2. Getting to Kinosaki Onsen
  3. The history of Kinosaki Onsen and its seven baths
  4. 5 Recommended sightseeing spots in Kinosaki Onsen
  5. 3 Things to eat in Kinosaki Onsen
  6. 5 Souvenirs to get in Kinosaki Onsen
  7. Events & more: How to enjoy each season in Kinosaki Onsen
  8. Sightseeing near Kinosaki Onsen
  9. 8 recommended hotels in Kinosaki Onsen

What sort of place is Kinosaki Onsen?

(Photo: Toyooka City)
(Photo: Toyooka City)

Kinosaki Onsen is a collection of ryokan inns, hot springs, souvenir stores, and restaurants concentrated along the Otani River, which is a tributary of the Maruyama River.

The main areas are “Ekidori,” which stretches towards the Otani River north of JR Kinosaki Onsen Station, Kitayanagi-dori and Minamiyanagi-dori, which travel alongside both banks of the Otani River, along with Yunosato-dori, which continues to the west. Further west of Yunosato-dori is the Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway, offering panoramas of the entire town.

The town is also compact and easy to explore on foot, and the ropeway station is just a 20-minute walk from JR Kinosaki Onsen Station.

Kinosaki Onsen at night (Photo: Toyooka City)
Kinosaki Onsen at night (Photo: Toyooka City)

In 2013, the townscape of Kinosaki Onsen was awarded two stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan, which means that it is a must-visit if you are nearby. It is often said to be Japan’s definitive hot spring town, most noted for its charming, traditional scenery. The best of this is centered around the Otani River, which is often surrounded by yukata-clad sightseers wearing wooden geta sandals.

To preserve the authentic character of the town, there is no multi-language signage outside. However, the Kinosaki Onsen official website and information centers in town have plenty of English information, including pamphlets, to help you explore.

Visitors walking in the hot spring town (Photo: Toyooka City)
Visitors walking in the hot spring town (Photo: Toyooka City)

The ryokan inns and hotels of Kinosaki Onsen have fewer rooms than most and are generally aimed at singles or couples rather than group tours. The town has become a hit for solo travelers worldwide, particularly attracting those from America, Europe, and Australia.

Since ancient times, Kinosaki Onsen has welcomed solo travelers seeking to heal in its nourishing hot spring waters, and the town strives to present itself as a single, unified inn.

In this sense, the station is the entrance, the roads are hallways, the hotels are guestrooms, the souvenir shops are stalls, the hot springs are bathrooms, and the restaurants are dining rooms.

Owing to this, visitors to Kinosaki Onsen can expect genuine, heartfelt service across the entire town, no matter where they stay or go.

(Photo: Toyooka City)
(Photo: Toyooka City)

Alongside a plethora of restaurants and souvenir stores are several old-school, retro Japanese-style arcades offering nostalgic shooting games and more, making every day feel like a festival!

Under the guidance of experts, Kinosaki Onsen has formulated the “Guidelines for the Prevention of COVID-19.” The entire hot spring resort follows these guidelines so visitors can enjoy sightseeing with peace of mind.

Getting to Kinosaki Onsen

While Kinosaki Onsen is located in a relatively remote area of northern Hyogo Prefecture, its popularity has earned it several easy-to-use public transportation systems, including trains and buses. Even when driving, the highway can be used most of the way. However, snow accumulates in winter, so ensure you have winter tires if coming by car.

Getting to Kinosaki Onsen From Osaka
- Train: Approx. 2 hrs 40 mins on the “Kounotori” limited express train from JR Osaka Station to JR Kinosaki Onsen Station.
- Bus: Approx. 3 hrs 10 mins on the highway bus from the Osaka Umeda Terminal to Kinosaki Onsen Station.
- Airplane: Approx. 35 mins from Osaka International (Itami) Airport to Tajima Airport, and approx. 40 mins from Tajima Airport to Kinosaki Onsen Station.
*Currently, there is no direct bus service from Kansai International Airport, so you must first travel to the Osaka city center. It takes approx. 70 mins by train from JR Kansai-Airport Station to JR Osaka Station.

Getting to Kinosaki Onsen From Kobe
- Train: Approx. 2 hrs 30 mins on the Hamakaze limited express train from JR Sannomiya Station to JR Kinosaki Onsen Station.
- Bus: Approx. 3 hrs 10 mins on the highway bus from the Kobe Sannomiya Bus Terminal to Kinosaki Onsen.

The history of Kinosaki Onsen and its seven baths

1. Mandara-Yu

The outside of Mandara-Yu (Photo: Toyooka City)
The outside of Mandara-Yu (Photo: Toyooka City)
The inside of Mandara-Yu (Photo: Toyooka City)
The inside of Mandara-Yu (Photo: Toyooka City)

Kinosaki Onsen boasts seven public baths, each with a different character, water temperature, and more, and touring them all is one of the most popular activities.

As mentioned, the history of Kinosaki Onsen can be traced back more than 1,300 years. Legend states that Buddhist monk Dochi Shonin chanted a sutra called “Hachiman Darakyo” for over 1,000 days to save those suffering from incurable diseases.

After doing this, hot water from the spirit realm is said to have welled up from the ground, forming the base of Kinosaki Onsen. In connection with this Buddhist origin story, one of the seven public baths of Kinosaki Onsen is named after the “mandala.”

  • Mandara-Yu
    まんだら湯
    • Address 565 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-32-2194
    • ・Hours: 3:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m.
      ・Admission:
      - Adults: 700 yen
      - Children: 350 yen (aged 3 to elementary school)
      ・Closed: Wednesdays

2. Kono-Yu

(Photo: Toyooka City)
(Photo: Toyooka City)

An additional, even older legend surrounding Kinosaki Onsen can be traced back around 1,400 years. It is said that a stork with a wingspan of two meters soaked its injured legs in the local water and became healed and able to fly after just a few days.

Those who witnessed this miracle noticed that hot water was welling from the ground, and the hot spring “Kono-Yu” takes its name from this legend, with “ko” meaning “stork” in Japanese.

  • Kono-Yu
    鴻の湯
    • Address 610 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-32-2195
    • ・Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
      ・Admission:
      - Adults: 700 yen
      - Children: 350 yen (aged 3 to elementary school)
      ・Closed: Tuesdays

3. Goshono-Yu

(Photo: Toyooka City)
(Photo: Toyooka City)

Later, according to the historical tale of Masukagami written during the Nanboku-cho period (1337-1392), Princess Kuniko, sister of Emperor Go-Horikawa, visited the area to bathe in 1267.

Owing to this, “Goshono-Yu,” meaning “Imperial Bath,” was built, enjoying a long history of development by locals, sightseers, writers, artists, and influential figures, eventually leading to Kinosaki Onsen becoming what it is today.

  • Goshono-Yu
    御所の湯
    • Address 448 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-32-2230
    • ・Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
      ・Admission:
      - Adults: 700 yen
      - Children: 350 yen (aged 3 to elementary school)
      ・Closed: Wednesdays

4. Yanagi-Yu

(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)
(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)

Yanagi-Yu, meaning “willow bath,” is named after the hot water gushing out from under a willow tree brought over from the famous Xi (West) Lake in China.

  • Yanagi-Yu
    柳湯
    • Address 647 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101

5. Satono-Yu

5. Satono-Yu
Right next to the station!
Right next to the station!

As soon as you leave JR Kinosaki-Onsen Station, or even while you're waiting for your train to depart, whenever you have a short period of free time, you can hop into the hot spring baths of "Satono-Yu." This one is relatively new among all the bathhouses that make up the historic Kinosaki Onsen.

Buy a bath ticket from the automated ticket vending machine and hand it over to the front desk along with the key to your shoe locker, and you will be given a changing room locker key. The two baths, one Western style and one Japanese style, are rotated in shifts between men and women, so be sure to check which shift it is before you enter.

This is the interior of the Western-style bath. When you go inside, you will notice the blue tiling's exotic atmosphere and the relaxing herbal scent that make the bath such an intriguing space.

Western-style Open Air Bath
Western-style Open Air Bath
Japanese-style Open Air Bath
Japanese-style Open Air Bath

In contrast, the open-air bath or rotenburo, with its dynamically flowing waterfall of onsen water, is filled with a rustic atmosphere. Thanks to the blinds that are at the perfect height to hide only the city landscape, you can relax comfortably while gazing out at the leisurely flow of the Maruyama River and the mountains.

An onsen isn’t only about soaking in the bath. Here, in addition to a traditional, high-temperature sauna, there are abundant bath and sauna variations to try, including the refreshing mist sauna, a steam bath that will wrap you in warm, moist air, and a hammam (Turkish bath) style resting room with aromatherapy qualities.

It’s best to arrive with plenty of time to savor the baths, but for those without much time or who need a quick rest after a long walk, an excellent option is to try out the foot bath (it’s free).

  • Satono-Yu
    駅舎温泉 さとの湯
    • Address 290-36 Kinosaki Imazu, Toyooka, Hyogo
    • Phone Number 0796-32-0111
    • ・Hours: 1:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
      ・Price:
      - Adults: 800 yen
      - Children: (3 years to elementary school): 500 yen
      *all prices tax included
      ・Closed: Mondays

6. Jizo-Yu

6. Jizo-Yu

One of the Kinosaki Onsen bathhouses is “Jizo-Yu” (also known as “Shujo-sukui no Yu”), which you can reach by walking straight north on the road in front of JR Kinosaki-Onsen Station.

In the Edo period, many villagers visited to bathe here, and it was beloved as an open-air bath for village people. Back then, it was said that Jizo, the guardian deity of children, came from the water of the onsen, which is where the onsen got its name. There is also a shrine dedicated to Jizo in the onsen garden.

The building’s exterior is the most modern building of all the bathhouses and is designed in a Japanese garden lantern style. The large, hexagonal windows were inspired by the tourist spot Genbudo Cave, and at night the light seeping in through the windows is very beautiful.

This onsen’s baths are all indoor, with no rotenburo. The water here is the highest temperature of all seven bathhouses, so it may be most suitable for warming your body quickly in a short time.

Also, there is even a family bath so parents and children can enjoy hot spring bathing together! The water is slightly cooler so children can bathe safely, and the bath is less than 35 cm deep. Another feature is the pictures on the wall of Toyooka City’s mascot characters “Ko-chan” and “O-chan” and the basaltic rock character “Gen-san.”

  • Jizo-yu
    地蔵湯
    • Address 796 Kinosaki-cho Yushima, Toyooka, Hyogo
    • Phone Number 0796-32-2228
    • ・Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
      ・Price:
      - Adults: 600 yen
      - Children: (3 years to elementary school): 300 yen
      *all prices tax included
      ・Closed: Fridays

7. Ichino-Yu

7. Ichino-Yu

Located right in the center of Kinosaki Onsen, the bathhouse “Ichino-Yu” can be called a symbolic presence. It is said to have been given its name because, in his work “Yakusen,” the founder of hot spring medicine Shutoku Kagawa lauded the onsen as the best on earth, although it was newly discovered.

The onsen's exterior design, reminiscent of the theaters where Japan's traditional kabuki theater is performed, is awe-inspiring. It's common practice to take a photograph with the willow trees from the Tama-bashi Bridge in front of the onsen. The night is another great time to visit, as the onsen is lit up, and the historic atmosphere instantly becomes magical.

Inside are spacious large bathing areas, private baths, a cave bath carved out of the bedrock, and others. Taking a bath surrounded by rock feels a little like being wrapped up, and you can rest and relax in peace and comfort.

This is the most popular bath out of all the bathhouses in Kinosaki Onsen, so on weekend evenings, there is sometimes a line to get in. Taking a bath in the morning is highly recommended, as wandering through the onsen town and then taking a dip before breakfast is an excellent way to start the day.

  • Ichino-Yu
    一の湯
    • Address 415-1 Kinosaki-cho Yushima, Toyooka, Hyogo
    • Phone Number 0796-32-2228
    • ・Hours: 7:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.
      ・Price:
      - Adults: 600 yen
      - Children: (3 years to elementary school): 300 yen
      *all prices tax included
      ・Closed: Wednesdays

Each of these public baths has unique health benefits and more, so it’s worth taking a dip in each. They also differ in hours and holidays, so make sure to look them up in advance. They generally permit tattoos and welcome international travelers.

Many of the inns and hotels in Kinosaki Onsen also provide guests with tickets allowing them to use these baths as often as they like for free between check-in and check-out. If you’re visiting for the day and plan on bathing in two or more hot springs, we recommend purchasing the “Kinosaki Onsen 1 Day Bathing Pass,” where you’ll be able to use all seven hot springs freely for 1,300 yen (adults).

When bathing at Kinosaki Onsen, you need to remember and follow these rules:
1. Rinse yourself with bathwater before hopping in the bathtubs
2. Wash and return all buckets and stools after use
3. Do not put your towel in the bathtub
4. Tie up your hair to ensure it does not touch the water
5. Do not run, make noise, or swim
6. Do not enter the sauna while wet
7. Dry your body after bathing before entering the changing rooms

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer available - Ventilation measures taken - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Masks requested/temperature check enforced - Some baths, like the family bath, are closed due to COVID-19.

5 Recommended sightseeing spots in Kinosaki Onsen

Between relaxing soaks in hot springs, we recommend also making the time to stop at the following sightseeing spots while at Kinosaki Onsen!

1. Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway

(Photo: Toyooka City)
(Photo: Toyooka City)

Alongside the two stars earned by the townscape, the scenery of Kinosaki from Mt. Daishiyama also received 1 star in the Michelin Green Guide Japan.

You can reach the summit of Mt. Daishiyama via the Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway (Adults: 910 yen roundtrip). The ride takes around 7 minutes, after which you’ll be able to gaze upon a sweeping panorama of the Sea of Japan and the valley cradling Kinosaki Onsen, encompassed by mountains and rivers. If you want to really soak it all in, there is a cafe on the summit, which we’ll introduce later in this article.

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer available - Ventilation measures taken - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Masks requested/temperature check enforced.

  • Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway
    城崎温泉ロープウェイ
    • Address 806-1 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-32-2530
    • ・Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (final service down the mountain)
      ・Admission (return ride to the summit):
      - Adults (middle school and over): 910 yen
      - Children (6+): 460 yen
      ・Closed: 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month (open if public holiday)

2. Onsenji Temple

Photo: Onsenji Temple
Photo: Onsenji Temple

Halfway up the Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway is Onsenji Station, which was built for worshippers visiting Onsenji Temple, the oldest temple in the region boasting 1,300 years of history. The temple can also be reached on foot via a designated path.

Onsenji is a temple connected with Buddhist monk Dochi Shonin, who is said to have made the water spring from Mandara-Yu around 1,300 years ago to found Kinosaki Onsen. Within the temple grounds are the main hall, tahoto pagoda, temple bell, inner sanctuary, and numerous other ancient cultural treasures. While here, feel free to strike the temple bell to give it a ring!

In ancient times, visitors to Kinosaki Onsen would first pray at Onsenji before bathing in the hot springs. They would receive a “yushaku” ladle, which they would use to enter the baths.

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer available - Ventilation measures taken - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Masks requested/temperature check enforced.

  • Onsenji Temple
    温泉寺
    • Address 985-2 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-32-2669
    • ・Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
      ・Admission:
      - Adults: 300 yen, or 400 yen for a combined ticket to the Onsenji Treasure Museum (Kinosaki Museum of Art)
      ・Closed: 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month (open if public holiday)
      *May close if ropeway is shut.

3. Onsenji Treasure Museum (Kinosaki Museum of Art)

(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)
(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)

Near the main hall of Onsenji Temple is the Onsenji Treasure Museum (Kinosaki Museum of Art).

Opened in 1972, this facility serves to preserve and display the numerous ancient cultural treasures possessed by Onsenji Temple. It’s made up of the “Onsenji Buddhist Art” and “Ancient Archives and Materials” sections, showcasing the true historical depth of Kinosaki Onsen.

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer available - Ventilation measures taken - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Masks requested/temperature check enforced.

  • Onsenji Treasure Museum (Kinosaki Museum of Art)
    温泉寺宝物館(城崎美術館)
    • Address 985-2 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-32-2669
    • ・Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
      ・Admission:
      - Adults: 300 yen or 400 yen for a combined ticket to Onsenji Temple
      - Students: Free
      ・Closed: 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month (open if public holiday)
      *May close if ropeway is shut.

4. Kinosaki Straw Craft Museum

(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)
(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)

Within a traditional white-walled “dozo” storehouse sits the Kinosaki Straw Craft Museum, which preserves and promotes the local craft of “mugiwara zaiku” (straw crafting).

The craft is said to have originated around 300 years ago from a craftsman named Hanshichi, who visited Kinosaki Onsen to recover from illness, and would make colorful flutes, spinning tops, and more from straw and sell them at inn storefronts to pay for accommodation. Nowadays, the art form is a designated Traditional Craft of Hyogo Prefecture and an Intangible Cultural Asset of Toyooka.

At the museum, you’ll be able to view a fantastic collection of around 40 works by modern straw craftspeople, along with 200 antiques from the Meiji, Taisho, and early Showa eras spanning 1868 to 1920. While straw crafting is practiced worldwide, such intricate, exquisite works are a true rarity.

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer available - Ventilation measures taken - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Guests are asked to wear masks & sanitize hands.

  • Kinosaki Straw Craft Museum
    城崎麦わら細工伝承館
    • Address 376-1 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-32-0515
    • ・Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. (entry until 3:30 p.m.)
      ・Admission:
      - Adults: 300 yen
      - Middle and high school students: 200 yen
      - Elementary school students and younger: Free
      ・Closed: Wednesdays, New Year’s period

5. Gokurakuji Temple

(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)
(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)

A brief walk south of the busy ropeway platform will bring you to the tranquil, nature-rich surroundings of Gokurakuji Temple.

The main highlight here is the “Seikantei” dry rock garden. The garden radiates with purity and stillness, presenting the pinnacle of authentic Japanese beauty. Also on the temple grounds are the grand Sanmon Gate and gorgeous ink-painted sliding doors. When visiting, be sure to leave a donation in the designated box (you can choose the amount).

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer available - Ventilation measures taken - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Masks requested/temperature check enforced.

  • Gokurakuji Temple
    極楽寺
    • Address 801 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-32-2326
    • ・Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
      ・Admission: Donation of your choice

3 Things to eat in Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen is also a renowned foodie hotspot! Here are three local joints we’re sure you’ll adore!

1. Kinosaki Coffee Miharashi Terrace Cafe

(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)
(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)

At the top of the Kinosaki Ropeway is the Miharashi Terrace Cafe, serving home-roasted specialty coffee complemented by stunning panoramas. Along with the famous Miharashi Terrace Coffee (430 yen), there are plenty of other drinks to enjoy, attracting large crowds on weekends.

For food, we recommend grabbing one of the signature gourmet hot dogs. There is the “Yoka Pork Hot Dog” (single sausage, 730 yen), made with famous local pork, the “Tajima Beef Hot Dog” (960 yen), and the “Tajima Duck Hot Dog” (860 yen), featuring naturally-raised regional duck meat.

All come wrapped in homemade buns, making them the most sought-after items on the menu. Other popular dishes include the “Hon Warabi Mochi” (650 yen) and the “Hon Warabi Mochi Parfait” (6,000 yen).

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer available - Ventilation measures taken - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Masks requested/temperature check enforced.

  • Kinosaki Coffee Miharashi Terrace Cafe
    城崎珈琲 みはらしテラスカフェ
    • Address 806-1 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-32-3365
    • ・Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
      ・Closed: 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month (open if public holiday)
      *May close if ropeway is shut.

2. Kinosaki Machiya Local Beer Restaurant Gubigabu

(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)
(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)

To satisfy the growing demand for a beverage after bathing, many shops around Kinosaki Onsen have begun selling beer.

If you’re partial to a brew while on holiday, we recommend checking out “Kinosaki Machiya Local Beer Restaurant Gubigabu,” which sits next door to the outdoor bath Yanagi-Yu. This restaurant serves authentic local cuisine made with carefully-selected regional ingredients like Tajima Beef paired with local 100% malt craft beer.

Most first-timers opt for the tasting set featuring four freshly-brewed, unpasteurized local beers, including pilsner, stout, weizen, and “kani beer,” which was specially developed to be paired with crab, a winter delicacy in Kinosaki Onsen.

The set, called the “Four Local Beers Taster + Smoked Finger Food,” is 1,730 yen. The kani beer is a particular delight, boasting a fresh, sharp taste with a hint of subtle sweetness.

(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)
(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)

They also sell bottled beer, making for easy-to-carry souvenirs to bring back home. If you’re craving the taste of high-quality beer in Japan, then definitely give the local brews of Kinosaki Onsen a try!

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer available - Ventilation measures taken - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Masks requested/temperature check enforced.

  • Kinosaki Machiya Local Beer Restaurant Gubigabu
    城崎町家地ビールレストラン「グビガブ」
    • Address 646 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-32-4545
    • ・Hours: 11:30 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.
      ・Closed: Thursdays

3. Orizuru

The most famous sushi restaurant in Kinosaki Onsen is Orizuru, a beloved community staple founded in 1942. Here you’ll be served exquisite seafood fresh from the Sea of Japan, along with a range of top-quality ingredients from the surrounding mountains, prepared by master sushi chefs.

During winter, a much-anticipated seasonal menu is released featuring crab, a beloved local delicacy. As demand is high, we strongly recommend making a reservation in advance, particularly if you want to try one of the course meals.

The popular “Tsuiyama Kani Full Course” comes in three versions at different price tiers: 27,500 yen, 33,000 yen, and 38,500 yen (2021 prices, subject to change, may not be available depending on conditions). For those on a budget, we suggest visiting at lunch for the “Orizuru Teishoku Set,” which is just 1,100 yen.

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer available - Ventilation measures taken - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Masks requested/temperature check enforced.

  • Orizuru
    をり鶴
    • Address 396 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-32-2203
    • ・Hours:
      - Lunch: 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. (L.O 1:30 p.m.)
      - Dinner: 5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. (L.O 8:00 p.m.)
      ・Closed: Tuesdays, 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month, other temporary closures

5 Souvenirs to get in Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen is packed to the brim with all sorts of fascinating shops selling a wide variety of local handicrafts and more. Here are our picks!

1. Kinosaki Straw Crafts

(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)
(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)

Kinosaki straw crafting is used to make a staggering variety of products, including brooches, bookmarks, accessory cases, ceramic bells, decorations, and more. The round ball-like item pictured above is a luxury sweets box, which is hollow inside and adorned by lacquer paintings. Being traditional crafts, prices vary considerably. However, you can pick up small knick-knacks for as little as 1,000 yen, while top-tier items costing tens of thousands of yen and more are also plentiful.

If you’re lucky, you may also see master craftspeople creating these magnificent works of art in person at Kamiya Mingei. There is also a straw crafting workshop for visitors too, so you can discover the techniques behind the art form for yourself (reservation required, starting from 3,500 yen).

Payment methods include major credit cards (VISA, MASTERCARD, JCB, AMERICAN EXPRESS, Diners Club), along with the cashless QR code payment system PayPay.

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer available - Ventilation measures taken - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Masks requested/temperature check enforced.

  • Kamiya Mingei
    麦わら細工 かみや工芸店
    • Address Kiyamachikouji, 391 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-20-5206
    • ・Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
      ・Price:
      - Straw bookmark: 1,000 yen
      - Straw crafting experience: 3,500 yen (wooden box)
      ・Closed: Irregular

2. Kinosaki Onsen Limited-Edition Books (NPO Books and Onsen)

(Photo: NPO Books and Onsen)
(Photo: NPO Books and Onsen)

Kinosaki Onsen has a deep connection to Japanese literature and has long been adored by great writers, with many poems being written while in the town. After healing in the hot springs and relishing the charming townscape, it’s no surprise that many writers found inspiration for their works.

Even today, many modern writers continue to create new stories for Kinosaki Onsen. To help encourage this creativity, the “Books and Onsen” initiative was developed, whereby one-of-a-kind books only available to those who visit are sold in the town.

Based on the concept of “creating new books that will be read for 100 years,” a collection of novels, poems, essays, travelogs, photo collections, art books, and more have been published, all with delightful binding sure to surprise.

One of the most unique is the “Kinosaki Yunomatopoeia” (2,000 yen including tax), a cutout picture book of the hot spring town with a geta sandal as the cover, released in 2020. Even if you can’t read Japanese, this colorful, cute item will indeed act as a keepsake for your memories of Kinosaki Onsen.

You can purchase these books and more at ryokan inns, bookshops, souvenir stores, and even some eateries throughout town.

3. Furoshiki and Tenugui Towels

(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)
(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)

A “tenugui” is a unique towel used when bathing in hot springs, originally made of cotton. Even today, they appear in traditional festivals and are often used as headbands. Recently, souvenir stores throughout Japan have begun selling tenugui with their original designs, many flaunting gorgeous Japanese aesthetics popular overseas.

Kinosaki Onsen also boasts its own share of original tenugui on sale. The image above shows the stellar range available at the Marusan Souvenir Shop, sandwiched between the Ichino-Yu and Goshono-Yu hot springs. They boast over 100 different types of tenugui, along with high-quality regular towels, stylish Japanese handicrafts, confectionery, food, and more!

You can pay using major credit cards (VISA, MASTERCARD, JCB, AMERICAN EXPRESS, Diners Club), along with the cashless QR code payment systems PayPay, Alipay, and dBarai.

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer available - Ventilation measures taken - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Masks requested/temperature check enforced.

  • Marusan Souvenir Shop
    まるさん物産店
    • Address 406 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-32-2352
    • ・Hours: 8:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
      ・Closed: Irregular

4. Danjiri Taiko

(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)
(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)

The local sweet of Kinosaki Onsen is the beloved Danjiri Taiko, which has been hand-made by a local confectionary store for over 50 years. The sweet is named after the “Danjiri Festival,” held annually in autumn, and is a kind of thin-skinned manju with a filling of coarse anko (sweet red bean) paste. It has a moderate sweetness with a satisfyingly squishy texture and a simplicity that makes it an excellent pairing for Japanese tea. It is available all over Kinosaki Onsen.

5. Konpeito Bento

(Photo: Omiyage Kurafutoito)
(Photo: Omiyage Kurafutoito)

While Kinosaki Onsen is packed with alluring souvenirs of all kinds, the cream of the crop can be found at “Omiyage Kurafutoito” in front of JR Kinosaki Onsen Station. Designed like a traditional Japanese “kura” storehouse, this shop boasts a massive assortment of “kawaii” Kinosaki goods you won’t find anywhere else.

One of these is the Insta-worthy Konpeito Bento, which are boxes of both small “ame” candy and “konpeito” sugar candy, which are a must-buy for tourists with a sweet tooth. There are also textile accessories, Japanese crafts, traditional toys, and other scrumptious Kinosaki Onsen sweets sure to excite you.

You can pay using major credit cards (VISA, MASTERCARD, JCB, AMERICAN EXPRESS, Diners Club, DISCOVER, Union Pay), along with cashless QR code payment systems dBarai, PayPay, LINE pay, au Pay, Rakuten Pay, J-Coin Pay, and Alipay.

Health & Safety Measures
Indoor disinfection measures taken - Sanitizer available - Ventilation measures taken - Plastic partitions installed - Staff wear masks, wash hands regularly, and monitor body temperature - Masks requested/temperature check enforced.

  • Omiyage Kurafutoito
    おみやげ 蔵ふと 井藤
    • Address 85 Yushima, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka City, Hyogo 669-6101
    • Phone Number 0796-32-2644
    • ・Hours: 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
      ・Closed: Irregular

Events & more: How to enjoy each season in Kinosaki Onsen

The four seasons are felt remarkably strongly in Kinosaki Onsen, allowing visitors to bask in the peak beauty of summer, autumn, winter, and spring through scenery, food, and more!

Spring

(Photo: Toyooka City)
(Photo: Toyooka City)

Kinosaki Onsen has a stunning cherry blossom road starting from the central Ichino-Yu hot spring running up the Otani River for around a kilometer. Being a back street, traffic is light, allowing you to enjoy the blossoming cherry trees without concern for cars.

Season: Around late March - Mid-April
・Venue: Kiyamachi-dori Street and Sakura Koji

Summer

(Photo: Toyooka City)
(Photo: Toyooka City)

Fireworks, a summertime symbol in Japan, are launched in Kinosaki Onsen every weeknight for a month from 9:00 p.m. for around 5 minutes.

・When: Weekdays from the end of July to the end of August (Monday-Friday), except August 13-15 (Obon).
・Venue: Kitayanagi-dori Street
・Time: From 9:00 p.m. (around 5 minutes)

Autumn

(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)
(Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association)

In autumn, the “Kinosaki Autumn Festival” is held at Shisho Shrine to pray for the prosperity of the hot springs. The extravagant large-scale “danjiri” parade float is a sight to behold!

・When: Usually scheduled around October 14-15
・Venue: Shisho Shrine, throughout Kinosaki Onsen

Winter

Winter

Winter is the season for fresh crab, luring in flocks of hungry travelers seeking their share. There are numerous dishes throughout town utilizing local crab, and it can be enjoyed raw, roasted, boiled, or in a hotpot, each bringing out a different flavor.

Season: From November to March of the following year
・Venue: Ryokan inns, restaurants

Sightseeing near Kinosaki Onsen

The areas surrounding Kinosaki Onsen bristle with luxuriant nature. The pinnacle of this is in the Sanin Kaigan National Park, also a designated UNESCO Global Geopark, which is home to the remarkable Genbudo Park and Genbudo Museum.

(Photo: Toyooka City)
(Photo: Toyooka City)

Genbudo Park is all about Genbudo Cave, a National Natural Monument. It was the site where the reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field was discovered, and is an important place in international geological research. The countless pillars of hexagonal basalt rock present a true natural wonder of the world.

The Genbudo Museum, located at the entrance of Genbudo Park, is one of Japan’s largest rock-based museums, and also has a shop and restaurant. It can be reached via a 10-minute bus ride from JR Kinosaki Onsen Station or a 5-minute taxi ride. You can also rent a bicycle and ride there yourself, which should take around 15 minutes one way.

On the coastline is Kinosaki Marine World, an interactive aquarium where you can see, touch, and discover all kinds of underwater creatures. It is a popular spot for families, and takes around 10 minutes by bus from Kinosaki Onsen Station.

The city of Toyooka, which can be reached via a 15-minute train ride to Toyooka Station, is Japan’s largest producer of bags. On “Kaban Street” (Bag Street) are vending machines stocking bags, along with bag-shaped benches and other unique attractions. There are also numerous workshops selling bags directly, many with made-to-order service.

While you’re in Kinosaki Onsen, take a moment to look up at the sky for Oriental storks, called “Kounotori” in Japanese, which are white and black and have large wingspans. The Japanese species of the bird was once wiped out, however, owing to the efforts of locals to reduce the use of pesticides and more, along with breeding and natural release initiatives by the “Hyogo Park of the Oriental White Stork,” we are now once again able to enjoy their beautiful dances.

8 recommended hotels in Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen invites guests to enjoy the entire township as if it were a single inn. Take your time to soak in your accommodation’s private hot spring thoroughly, then tour the seven public baths before indulging in delicious local cuisine and embarking on a shopping spree for local crafts! With so much to do, your holiday is bound to go by in a flash, and you’ll soon be longing to visit again!

Text by: Takashi Tsukamoto from Copyz

*This article was updated in September 2022 from an article originally published in December 2019. For the latest information, always check on official websites, etc., before planning.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change.
*Unless stated otherwise, all prices include tax.

Share this article.

Search for International flights

Recommended articles for first-time visitors to Kansai
Search