Relaxing Getaways Near Osaka! 9 Top Rated Hot Spring Inns in Kinosaki Onsen, Hyogo
If you're in Kansai and you love onsen (hot springs), you cannot miss Kinosaki Onsen - a famed hot spring town in Hyogo Prefecture. Nothing beats a steaming hot bath to unwind and completely forget about the daily grind. It's way better when you get to stay overnight! Here is a list of the most recommended accommodation options in the area.
Jun 28 2018 (Oct 06 2021)
What is Kinosaki Onsen?
Toyooka, Hyogo Prefecture. This is where you can find several hot springs dating back to the Heian period (794 - 1185) that are collectively called "Kinosaki Onsen". This area is a full-fledged hot spring resort, comprising of lots of facilities where you can relax, eat gourmet food, and spend the night.
Its beautiful townscape is characterized by rows of ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) that face a willow-lined river called Otani River (Otani-gawa). This river connects all 7 of the public bathhouses that make up the Soto-yu Meguri, which usually consists of wearing a yukata and walking along the river to go from bath to bath. It is believed that they all enshrine a deity and that bathing in every single one of them brings good luck.
Other than the beautiful scenery and many comforts of the area, this oasis is particularly popular because of its convenient location. Whether you're in Osaka, Kobe, or Kyoto, there are bus lines and limited express trains that can take you there in a few hours with little to no transfers. For example, from Osaka, you can reach Kinosaki Onsen in just 2 and a half hours with a direct train.
If you stay in one of the ryokan in Kinosaki Onsen, you'll get a free pass for the 7 public bathhouses, so let's take a look at the best inns available!
You'll feel at home in this beautiful and cozy inn. The staff will do literally whatever it takes to guarantee you a memorable experience, from a welcoming tea ceremony to a free car ride to the station!
Their rooms are beautifully furnished in a perfect Japanese style and, of course, super clean. The bathrooms are shared, but you'll get free toiletries and everything else needed for your comfort. They also have several small indoor hot springs that can be reserved for a maximum of 40 minutes on weekdays.
Their food is just as delightful! As is typical of traditional inns, you'll be served gorgeous and colorful kaiseki cuisine, which is a Japanese course meal that includes small servings of many different delicacies: appetizers, sashimi, miso soup, rice, grilled fish or meat, and even dessert. All the ingredients used are carefully chosen, such as luxurious Tajima beef (a variety of Kobe beef) and meaty Matsuba crab.
When in Kinosaki Onsen, you can't miss the opportunity to stroll around in a yukata! Guests at this inn can choose from a wide variety and borrow them for free. The staff will even help you put it on!
2. Kinosaki Yamamotoya
Treat yourself to the countless amenities of this lovely inn. Not only are there fully-equipped rooms, eateries, and free Wi-Fi, but also massages, free parking, and great craft beer brewed by the inn itself!
Of course, you can rent a yukata here too. They have over 100 yukata with different designs and colors. If you really love one of them, you can actually purchase them for yourself!
This is their privately chartered open-air bath, but there are also free common baths for men and women. If you're new to using hot springs, don't worry! The friendly English-speaking staff will be more than glad to give you instructions on how to use them and how to enjoy your stay in a traditional inn.
3. Kinosaki Onsen Hanakoji Saigetsu
If you want to dive into Japanese culture, pick this beautiful ryokan! Established in an old building that was renovated while preserving all its original features, they aim to offer a comfortable adult getaway. Children under junior high school age are not permitted to enter this facility.
Instead of traditional futons, you'll find super soft and comfortable beds in their wide and bright tatami rooms. They use Slumberland mattresses to ensure that you'll get a good night's sleep.
Beautiful furniture with Japanese patterns and decorations are scattered all over the place, making every inch of this place the perfect setting for any souvenir pictures. This studio, in particular, is worth visiting at least once!
Wearing a yukata, soaking in a free private bath, and enjoying kaiseki are not the only activities you can enjoy here. This inn also provides lessons in shodo (Japanese calligraphy). You'll be taught how to write your name in kanji!
They only have Japanese-style rooms, meaning that you'll get to live, eat, bathe, and even sleep like regular Japanese people. These rooms come fully equipped with private toilets, DVD players, and even refridgerators!
They have 3 private baths that can be reserved for free. One of them has a garden view, making it great for guests who may feel uncomfortable bathing in public bathhouses. You can also borrow bathing amenities like shampoo, conditioner, soap, body lotion, and even a hairdryer!
5. Kinosaki Onsen Tsubakino Ryokan
This old inn is nicknamed the "Gallery Inn" because of the late owner's artworks picturing Ksitigarbha (the bodhisattva of travellers and children) that are hung throughout the whole facility.
The rooms were constructed in a classic Japanese architectural style, resulting in each and every room giving off a zen-like atmosphere that will help their guests relax. The rooms in the annex, which is connected to the main building through an underground passage, look out onto a beautiful Japanese garden.
Here, you can enjoy a wide variety of traditional Japanese dishes with an original flare. All the ingredients used are local, from fresh seasonal seafood like crab and shrimp to Tajima beef and delicious vegetables harvested from the surrounding hills.
Most inns in Kinosaki Onsen have their own small baths, but Sinonomesou actually has a rock bath ("iwa-buro" in Japanese) that's famous nationwide! Take note that the hours for men and women for this bath are different.
After bathing in their famous rock bath, you can sleep in one of their large Japanese-style rooms. These rooms come fully furnished with traditional furniture like futon and zaisu (chairs with no legs), but they also have electronics like TVs and fridges. A few of the rooms even come with ensuite toilets, which is a rarity for this type of accommodation!
If you plan to stay here, make sure to try their crab dishes, which they're well-known for! They also only use produce grown on their farm to ensure that they're serving safe and healthy dishes to their guests.
7. Kawaguchiya Kinosaki Riverside Hotel
This huge ryokan is dressed up like a hotel! Established in 1916, they are extremely popular for their beautiful open-air bath on the top floor that you're allowed to reserve all for yourself. Alternatively, you can stay in a suite with its own open-air bath, like the one in the picture below. For special occasions, they will even decorate it with colorful floating flowers!
They offer both Japanese-style and Western-style rooms. If you're used to cozy beds or suffer from back pain, this is an advantage that shouldn't be underestimated! The inn's remarkable size also allows them to offer large banquet rooms with stages. There's even a karaoke room for people who just need to belt a tune!
They also have a rental shop where you can borrow yukata, geta (sandals), socks, and everything else needed to get a perfect Japanese look for free! Once dressed, you can hop on board a shuttle bus to get to the center of Kinosaki Onsen for your Soto-yu Meguri.
8. Koyado Enn
Only 3 minutes on foot from Kinosaki Onsen Station, this lovely accommodation has a whole new concept that makes it stand out from the many traditional inns that line the streets of Kinosaki Onsen. It is a hotel-style ryokan that combines Japanese architecture with the attentiveness towards comfort that you'd find at hotels. This means that staff will not enter your room after initially showing you around and smoking is prohibited inside (other than designated spots).
Here, you'll find Japanese-style, Western-style, and Japanese-Western rooms. All of them come with super soft beds, as well as all the amenities and equipment you may need. This facility is only for adults, so there won't be any loud noises disturbing you from a good night's sleep!
Aside from their special Tajima beef-based dinners and British teas that you can enjoy at their cafe, the best feature of this inn is probably their bathing facilities. They have two indoor baths that can be utilized for free! They don't accept reservations for these baths, so please make sure to lock the door from the inside using the keys provided.
9. Sento Otani Hotel
If you're looking for something more affordable that's not too far from the 7 public bathhouses that make up the Soto-yu Meguri and is somewhat quiet, this is the place for you!
Strategically positioned so that it faces the stunning landscape of the Maruyama River (Maruyama-gawa) and the surrounding rice fields, this hotel offers rooms with great views all year long. Although it has no restaurants or private baths, its amenities and services will be more than enough for a nice stay!
All the rooms here are Western-style and fully equipped with things like a refridgerator, free Wi-Fi, TV, teaware, yukata, and various toiletries. The facility is also very close to the station, so don't miss this chance to enjoy the beauty of Kinosaki Onsen at an incredibly reasonable price!
From budget-friendly hotels to picture-perfect traditional inns, Kinosaki Onsen offers all kinds of accommodations. Rich in minerals like sodium chlorine and calcium, its hot spring waters are great for digestion issues, muscle stiffness and pain. Come to one of these places for a soul-soothing weekend! The prices written in this article are just an estimate and may vary according to the season, so just make sure you check the inn's official website before making your choice.
Thumbnail: Rei Imagine / Shutterstock.com
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.