For those of you who like onsens, an overnight trip to Kinosaki Onsen town is an absolute must if you’re visiting Kyoto or Osaka. Kinosaki Onsen town is a popular town with lots of public onsen bathhouses to visit, as well as plentiful ryokans with private onsens as well.
We visited Kinosaki onsen town as an overnight trip and stayed in the ryokan by the name of Kinosaki Onsen Higashiyamasou. It was my first time in a ryokan so quite an experience! It’s definitely recommended to stay in a rokyan here and if you do, don’t plan any breakfast or dinner plans and go with the package that includes these meals because it’s gonna be delicious!
For dinner, we had a kaiseki style multi-course meal which included generous servings of snow crab – a specialty in the area, as well as sashimi, prawn salad, a little hot pot bowl of meat and veggies, udon noodles, pickles, rice, tofu, a serving of tajima beef on the side, as well as dessert and miso soup. I told you, big servings!
For breakfast, we had delicious Japanese style breakfast with lots of tofu, pickles, fish, rice, miso and more. Definitely prepare big bellies for these meals.
At Kinosaki Onsen Higashiyamasou, their overnight stay packages also had options including kimono dressing/hire which was a lovely photo opportunity. You choose from the available designs near the reception on ground floor and then one of the lovely staff members come to your room to dress you in your kimono.
This ryokan also has a private onsen which you can book on the day you check in. It operates on a first come first served reservation basis and you can book 40 minute slots to enjoy their private onsen which was spectacular and a great experience if you’re not keen on the idea of public onsens but still want to try it out. Note, I felt that the onsens in Japan are extremely hot compared to the hot springs you go to in Australia which are normally quite mild in comparison. I could only last a few minutes in one before needing to cool down haha!
In Kinosaki Onsen town, you can easily get around by foot. It’s the way this town has been designed, so that visitors can dress about in their yukatas visiting all the bathhouses conveniently and easily.
Things to check out in Kinosaki Onsen
There are lots of public onsen bathhouses in Kinosaki Onsen and so totally the perfect place to be if you would like to check these out. Guests visit dressed in their yukatas – most hotels provide these so when walking along the street, you can tell who is staying at the same hotel as you! Our ryokan provided a onsen pass where you can access numerous public onsens using the one pass which you scan upon entry.
Public onsen footbath
Tired of walking around or feel like having a rest? Spot one of these steaming public footbaths on the side of the streets and dip your feet in for a relaxing soak. We tried the public footbath near Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway and it was a totally refreshing experience. The water is extremely hot to begin with but you slowly get used to it. Do bring a towel along with you so that you can dry off when done.
Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway
The Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway is reachable by foot from Kinosaki Onsen town and provides a 7 minutes ride to the the mountain top where you can enjoy the beautiful view of the onsen town from above.
At Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway, there are two stations, the onsenji station – which is the middle station and the mountain top station, which is the top.
At Onsenji station, you can get off and visit Onsenji temple and Onsenji Buddhist Museum. entry is 300 yen for each, or 400 yen for both.
At Mountain Top station, there’s a lovely cafe you can sit and order a snack at, as well as a viewing platform directly above the cafe where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the town.
The ropeway operates 10 past, half past, and 50 past the hour (9:10, 9:30, 9:50 etc) starting at 9:10am and ending at 4:30pm (final car going up) with 5:10pm being final car coming down.
Genbudo Park is just 15 minutes taxi ride from JR Kinosaki Onsen Station. It’s a unique place containing five caves that were formed by volcanic activity some 1.6 million years ago to create basalt columns and pillars.
I visited the Genbudo Cave and Seiryudo Cave – the two biggest caves in the park and was amazed by these geological formations. Allow maybe 30 minutes here for the two caves, or longer if you wish to visit them all!
A lunch recommendation for those staying in the area is to try tajima beef – a specialty in this region. We had tajima beef curry for lunch and it was a real unique and delicious dish.
The restaurant’s name is ‘Tajima Beef Irori Dining Mikuni‘ and they have an english menu. It’s located on the first floor along the main street just around the corner of Kinosaki Onsen – it gets busy here though, so you might have to wait in line for a little. Fear not, they have a spacious seating area for this purpose!
Hope you guys enjoyed this guide and get the chance to visit Kinosaki Onsen town soon!