Kinosaki: my favorite hidden treasure of Japan
Founded 1300 years ago, Kinosaki is named as the best onsen (Japanese hot spring) town in Japan. Located in Hyogo Prefecture, City of Toyooka. The place is famous for its 7 public baths and a tradition of wearing yukata while wandering around the quaint small town and visiting bath houses. From the moment you step out of the Kinosaki station your mind will surely begin to think you’re being transported through time.
It is said that Kinosaki has always a deep connection with arts. Ever since the place had been rebuild after the devastation caused by the Tajima earthquake, writers and painters came here to find inspiration and relaxation.
Read the short story ‘Kinosaki nite’ (In Kinosaki) written by the famous writer Naoya Shiga who composed the story while he was staying in Kinosaki.
Two years passed since I first visited Kinosaki on summer and there were no single shadow of foreign tourist, not when we went there this Sakura season and almost 50 percent of the visitors were foreigners. The Ryokan staff told us that they were surprised on the increase of foreign tourist this year’s Sakura season. So why not include Kinosaki on your next itinerary.
If you visit Kinosaki, it is highly recommended to stay in one of the Ryokans (Japanese Inn) for even a night. For these reasons;
→ Ryokan offers half board Japanese course meals, Kinosaki is famous for matsuba crabs (snow crab) and Tajima beef (origin of kobe beef)
→ Free colorful Yukata for women which includes accessories like a bag or pouch matched to the yukata and hair ornament,
→ Free pass to the 7 bath houses that can be used from the time of check-in to 10 am the next day.
→ The best thing about Ryokan is you’ll experience the traditional Japanese rooms and service which is I think the best in the world. Whether you chose the cheapest or the most expensive rooms you still get the best service.
→ Some Ryokan’s offers free Tea Ceremony by Sadou sensei (Tea Ceremony teacher)
→ Ryokan’s also have in-house onsen
HOW TO GET THERE
→Limited Express Hamakaze or the Limited Express Kounotor (2.5 hours from Shinosaka Station)
→Limited Express Kinosaki (2.5～3 hours; some trains stop only at Toyooka City, so transfer to a local train Kinosaki Onsen/ Tottori Line travel time is few minutes only)
→Or from Kyoto Station travel to Shinosaka or Fukuchiyama and transfer to any express train that takes you directly to Kinosaki Station
→Travel to Kyoto or Osaka by shinkansen or plane. Then do the transfer at Kyoto or Shinosaka
→follow Toyooka route 312 to Kinosaki onsen
→The Tajima airport in Toyooka [Accessible only by a flight from Osaka International Airport (Itami airport) for 40 minutes). The airport provides bus service to Kinosaki Onsen.]
If you found an affordable place to stay at any booking sites then that’s good. Check the rating and reviews as well. But visting Kinosaki during the peak season like Sakura, Autumn and Winter most probably Ryokan’s are fully booked or are very expensive. What I suggest is, look around booking sites preferably those with high ratings and search for the Ryokan’s name at google then call the facility directly.
I found one available Ryokan this sakura season at this particular booking site which is situated at the center of Kinosaki near the three baths priced at 60000 yen for one night. Luckily, I got it almost half the price when I directly called the hotel. The price included free parking (or car pick up from the station), half board Japanese course meals, yukata for both men and women and another colorful yukata for woman, pass for the 7 baths and tea ceremony. Check my separate blog on the 7 onsen baths, and the Ryokan where we stayed.
Here is a gist of our Kinosaki travel. Watch the video on youtube,
Link here SAKURA SEASON IN KINOSAKI ONSEN. Thank You!