5 Kansai Hot Springs You Absolutely Have to Check Out!

5 Kansai Hot Springs You Absolutely Have to Check Out!

30 Jun 2021

The KANSAI Guide

You can't go on a trip to Japan without dropping by a hot spring (onsen in Japanese)! Refreshing your body in hot water brimming with minerals is a time-honored Japanese tradition. These are four of the best locations to enjoy Kansai's onsen.

How to Enjoy Onsen

For the Japanese, the onsen is a place to heal your mind and body. Whether as a resort providing some much needed recuperation, or as a natural remedy for mending wounds and warding off illness, onsen are beloved for their hot water abundant in natural minerals. Japanese onsen are typically entered naked. Sweat or any other impurities must be washed away before bathing, meaning a short pre-bath wash called a "kake-yu" is necessary. Also, entering a bath with a towel is considered poor manners! Similar to the pre-bath wash, this custom keeps the bath water pure and sanitary. Some facilities may not allow guests with tattoos to bathe. However, other facilities will let tattooed guests bathe so long as they cover it in some way, so be sure to contact the onsen and ask about their tattoo policy in advance. Please be mindful of local etiquette and rules to better enjoy the onsen.

1. [Hyogo] Arima Onsen / Kinosaki Onsen

Some of the first names that come to mind when discussing Kansai's best onsen are Arima Onsen, which is one of Japan's oldest onsen, and Kinosaki Onsen, which is a popular destination for trying out multiple outdoor baths ("onsen-hopping", as it were). If you want to enjoy Arima Onsen's traditional murky kinsen, or "golden hot spring", then we recommend the day-bathing facility Kin-no-Yu. At Kinosaki, you can start off with a hot spring tour right next to the station at a facility called Sato-no-Yu! Arima Onsen is about a 2 hour and 10 minute ride from Kansai Airport via train, while Kinosaki Onsen is about a 3-hour ride via a limited express train from Osaka Station.

【Facility Name】 Kin-no-Yu (Arima Onsen)
【Opening Hours】 8:00 am - 10:00 pm (last entry at 9:30 pm)
【Days Closed】 The second and fourth Tuesday of each month (closed the following day if either Tuesday falls on a national holiday), January 1st
【Price】 Adults: 650 JPY, Elementary Schoolers: 340 JPY
【URL】
Official Homepage
Kansai Tourism Bureau Homepage
【Address】 833 Arima-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

【Facility Name】 Sato-no-Yu (Kinosaki Onsen)
【Opening Hours】 1:00 pm - 9:00 pm
【Days Closed】 Mondays
【Price】 Adults: 800 JPY, Children (Aged 3 to elementary school): 400 JPY
【URL】
Official Homepage
Kansai Tourism Bureau Homepage
【Address】 290-36 Imazu, Kinosaki-cho, Toyooka-shi, Hyogo
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

2. [Tottori] Kaike Onsen

Kaike Onsen is one of the premier onsen in the San'in region overlooking the Sea of Japan. A number of onsen facilities line the shore as grand mountains rise behind them in the background. These onsen enjoy particular popularity among women, as the 4,000 liters of all-natural water they pump out every minute are known for their extraordinary beautifying effects on the skin. The onsen area offers day-trip hot spring facilities and relaxing footbaths that you can use without hassle. If you visit, you've got to try out the area's famous seafood like matsubagani (snow crab) and shiro ika (white squid)! First stop by the Yonago Tourist Information Center to get all the details, then enjoy walking around the town. Kaike Onsen is about a 2 hour and 40 minute train ride from JR Shin-Osaka Station and a 15-minute car ride from Yonago Station.

【Facility Name】 Yonago Tourist Information Center
【Opening Hours】 9:00 am - 6:00 pm
【Days Closed】 None
【URL】
Official Homepage
Kansai Tourism Bureau Homepage
【Address】 3-1-1 Kaike Onsen, Yonago-shi, Tottori
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

3. [Wakayama] Shirahama Onsen

Shirahama Onsen really gives off that tropical feel, and, similar to Arima Onsen, it is among Japan's oldest. Locations in the area like Shirarahama Beach, the rock plateaus of Senjojiki, and the Sandanbeki caves invite guests to experience the area's natural beauty. A must-have experience is "sotoyu meguri", a tour of the area's outdoor baths, and particularly its first stop, Saki-no-Yu, which looks out on the Pacific Ocean! You also can't miss out on Shirasuna, an open-air onsen that allows guests to enter in their bathing suits. Shirahama Onsen is about a 2 hour and 30 minute train ride from JR Shin-Osaka Station.

【Facility Name】 Saki-no-Yu
【Opening Hours】 8:00 am - 5:00 pm (April 1st - June 30th and September 1st - September 30th: Until 6:00 pm; July 1st - August 31st: 7:00 am - 7:00 pm)
【Days Closed】 None
【Price】 500 JPY (incl. tax, ages 3 and up)
【URL】
Official Homepage
Kansai Tourism Bureau Homepage
【Address】 1668 Yuzaki, Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

4. [Nara] Dorogawa Onsen

Dorogawa Onsen is located at the foot of Mt. Omine, considered to be a sacred mountain. The onsen village is lined with rustic wooden buildings, creating an atmosphere of old-time Japan. Such scenery makes a great background for a commemorative photo! After spending some time strolling through the town, you absolutely have to drop by the Sonei Dorogawa Onsen Center where you can relax and cleanse your body. Dorogawa Onsen is about a 3-hour journey by bus and train from JR Nara Station.

【Facility Name】 Sonei Onsen Center
【Opening Hours】 11:00 am - 8:00 pm (open until 9:00 pm in the summer)
【Days Closed】 Wednesdays (or the following day if a national holiday falls on Wednesday), December 29th - January 1st
【Price】 Adults: 700 JPY, Children: 200 JPY
【URL】
Official Homepage (Japanese only)
Kansai Tourism Bureau Homepage
【Address】 13-1 Dorogawa, Tenkawa-mura, Yoshino-gun, Nara
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

While these hot springs may be among the most famous in Kansai, there are a ton of other onsen hot spots for you to enjoy. Try searching online for other great onsen locations, and go for a warm, invigorating dip in their baths!

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