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Kyoto Hot Springs: Relax at Ohara Sansou Spa, Kyoto's Mountain Village Getaway!

Kyoto Hot Springs: Relax at Ohara Sansou Spa, Kyoto's Mountain Village Getaway!

Date published: 25 November 2019
Last updated: 24 April 2020

We heard stories about the gorgeous Ohara Sansou, a Kyoto onsen hot spring where you can enjoy lunch made with local ingredients, plus relax in hot springs and foot baths!

Ohara Sansou is located in the Ohara in the northern region of Kyoto, is known for charming temple sites such as Sanzen-in Temple and Jakko-in Temple, and quiet mountain village scenery. It is perfect for a day trip from Kyoto, so we decided to check it out

Table of Contents
  1. Getting There: Ohara Sansou Access
  2. A Kyoto Onsen Hot Spring Nestled in a Rustic Mountain Village
  3. Enjoy Quality Kyoto Hot Spring Water in an Open-Air Bath
  4. Delicious Nabe using Local Ingredients and Homegrown Vegetables and Rice
  5. A Cozy Time at the Ashiyu Cafe at the Annex
The stone bath type open-air bath at Ohara Sansou. It provides a beautiful view of the four seasons

Getting There: Ohara Sansou Access

Take the Kyoto Bus heading towards Ohara (Yase-Ohara) from Kyoto Station for about 60 minutes to reach the final station Ohara Bus Stop.

You feel at peace in the countryside, surrounded by mountains.

Walking about 15 minutes towards Jakko-in Temple from the bus stop, you can see the destination Ohara Sansou.

A Kyoto Onsen Hot Spring Nestled in a Rustic Mountain Village

A Kyoto Onsen Hot Spring Nestled in a Rustic Mountain Village

Ohara Sansou is a hot spring inn that opened in 1970. It has a traditional homey atmosphere, and their hot spring is praised for its high quality. There are many repeat guests during cherry blossom season, autumn leaves season, and summer vacation.

In fact there are only a few hot springs in Kyoto City, and it has been a challenge for Kyoto tourism for a while. You can understand why Ohara Sansou is so popular, due to its convenient location for day trips.

We headed to the annex building to their much-touted hot spring.

Enjoy Quality Kyoto Hot Spring Water in an Open-Air Bath

We visited with the “Day-trip plan (requires reservation),” which comes with a meal and hot spring. It will be described later, but the price depends on the meal you select.

Once you arrive, take a break at the lounge. After a relaxing cup of tea looking at the garden, let’s take a look at the Kyoto hot spring!

Hinoki [Japanese cypress] bath type bathing area and the open-air bath. The hinoki bath is spacious, and you can enjoy relaxing moment.

At Ohara Sansou there are two types of baths, hinoki bath, and a stone bath. For lodging customers they swap male and female bathing in the morning and evening. For day-trip customers they swap male and female baths every month, which mean can enjoy both after a few visits.

Hot spring water straight from the source at Hinoki's tub bath. A warming 26 degrees Celsius.

At Ohara Onsen 120 liters of hot spring water flows every minute. The spring quality is a simple alkaline hot spring with pH8.7. The sodium and hydrogencarbonate ion in the spring water helps wash away dead skin and make your skin smooth.

The spring water is slightly white, and it’s not that intense, so after your bathe you will feel nice and refreshed. Entering the bath, the water felt nice to the skin, and it wasn’t too hot, so we were able to enjoy a long, relaxing bath.

Indoor bath in the Hinoki bath area

The pot bath with hot spring from the source is lukewarm, but the indoor bath temperature is the same as the open-air bath. In winter make sure you warm up in the indoor bath before heading outside to the open-air bath and pot bath.

The stone bath area open-air bath. On the day we visited (December 12th, 2018) there were still colored leaves left due to the warm winter, and the floating bright red leaves in the bath were very charming. Also in springtime they have a wonderful view of cherry blossoms, which we strongly recommend.

The stone bath area has a pot bath like the Hinoki bath area.

The indoor bath of the stone bath area

The relaxing bath makes you forget about time. By the way for day-trip customers the hot spring is available from 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Taking lunchtime into consideration, we spent about an hour in this Kyoto hot spring.

Now onto the long-awaited lunchtime!

Delicious Nabe using Local Ingredients and Homegrown Vegetables and Rice

Delicious Nabe using Local Ingredients and Homegrown Vegetables and Rice
Miso Nabe made with homemade miso (the above portion is for two people)

Lunch is served in the lounge with a view of the garden. The price of the Day-Trip plan, which includes lunch and hot spring, depends on the lunch menu. There are menus such as the “Onigiri Teishoku Plan (Adult 1,600 yen, 3 years old to elementary school student 1,400 yen)” and the “Oden Teishoku Plan (Adult 2,000 yen, 3 years old to elementary school student 1,800 yen)”. This time we ordered the popular “Miso Nabe Plan (Adult 3,500 yen, 3 years old to elementary school student 3,000 yen).” (tax included for all items. Select your lunch menu when making a reservation).

The vegetables in the nabe (Japanese style stew) such as Chinese cabbage, mizuna (Japanese mustard greens) and negi (spring onions) are grown by the owner at his personal garden. The nabe also has ingredients like sweet potatoes, carrots, tofu, and konjac. There is a whole lot of food here! By the way they use seasonal vegetables so the ingredients will be different throughout the year.

For the meat, they use chicken thigh and breast of the Kyo Aka Jidori, which are raised in an environment that is close to nature, so they have low fat. It is a chicken brand with fine meat quality.

These ingredients are placed in dashi (soup broth) made with homemade miso. Put on the lid and let it stew for about 10 minutes. Open the lid and...

Voila! The appetizing aroma rises, and the ingredients are stewed. To finish it off add some mizuna and negi on top and let it stew for a little more, and the Miso Nabe is complete!

It looks so good! The appetizing aroma of miso fills the room.

Let's dig in!

First, the meat! The Kyo Aka Jidori is much tenderer than I thought, but it still has a nice texture when you bite into it. The fat on the thigh is sweet and delicious!

Next, the vegetables. The Chinese cabbage is sweet, and the negi has great texture! You can taste the natural flavor of the vegetables, and not just the nabe flavor. We were expecting rich flavored miso dashi; however it was light. The nabe is pretty big, but the cameraman and I finished it up in no time!

And we can’t forget about the shiny rice! The rice is koshihikari brand grown by the owner. It is freshly cooked, and it has some sweetness, it is so good that you can’t stop. I ended up eating two large serving of rice with the nabe. We are so stuffed!

I don’t think I can move for a while. Take a break until lunchtime (11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.) ends. The comfortable lunch and delicious lunch is satisfactory!

A Cozy Time at the Ashiyu Cafe at the Annex

After you enjoyed the bath and lunch, how about exploring the area for some exercise. Jakko-in Temple is a quick walk from Ohara Sansou, and Sanzen-in Temple is about a 25-minute walk.

The exterior of the Ashiyu Cafe

After exploring shrines, temples, and the area with a charming landscaper, we recommend relaxing at “Ashiyu Cafe,” located in the annex building of Ohara Sansou.

The same hot spring used at Ohara Sansou eases your legs from the walk. The temperature is just right. Soaking your feet for 10 minutes makes your whole body warm-up.

Homemade Shiso Juice (beefsteak plant juice) (720 yen tax included)

You can use the foot bath for about 40 minutes, which requires ordering a drink and towel. People who stayed a night at Ohara Sansou will receive 200 yen discount, and day-trip customers will receive a 100 yen discount. On a cold day warm drinks like coffee and herb tea (720 yen tax included) are nice, but the homemade shiso juice is the most popular drink. The refreshing sour flavor taste makes it feel like good nutrients are being absorbed into your body.

Interior of Ashiyu Cafe. They also have pottery making activities.

A rejuvenating spot located in a serene landscape where time flows slowly. How about stepping out of the city to enjoy lunch and a relaxing Kyoto hot spring bath.

  • Ohara Sansou
    • Address 17- Kusao-cho, Ohara, Sakyou-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto
    • Phone Number 075-744-2227
    • Hours: Day-trip 11:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. (Meal until 2:30 p.m.) *requires reservation
      Ashiyu Cafe: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
      Closed: Tuesday (open for lodging guests)
      Price: Day-trip plan tax included starting from 1,600 yen

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