Our 24 hours in Kinosaki Onsen
We took the Shinkansen to Himeji Station then took the Hamakaze JR line to Kinosaki Onsen. As denoted by the name, Kinosaki is the onsen district of the city of Toyooka. Onsens are the traditional Japanese baths, typically with water from natural hot springs. Kinosaki has been regarded as one of the best onsen towns in Japan, with over 1,400 years of onsen history.
We booked a room for one night at the Nishimuraya Honkan onsen ryokan, for a room with a private outdoor onsen (hot bath). With a history over 150 years, Nishimuraya is a luxurious ryokan with various onsen, exquisite dining, beautiful gardens, and an onsite museum. We wanted to have a day of relaxation between all our days of heavy travel, and the traditional Japanese ryokan was the perfect way to do so. We elected to splurge on a room with a private garden and onsen so we wouldn’t have to book specific times.
Photos from our room with private onsen
During our stay at Nishimuraya Honkan we elected to have the traditional Japanese meals. Be warned that when they say traditional, they mean it the most literal of senses. A lot of the food was wonderful, but a some of the dishes required a Japanese palate. A few of the traditional dishes we tried that you may never have heard of were: uni (sea urchin gonads), Sazae (horned turban sea snail), and Chirimen jako (young salted dried sardines or anchovies). For more information about this kaiseki style meal check out this blog post on Japanese cuisine!
While we enjoyed the onsen as much as we could, we also took a nice walk through the quaint town of Kinosaki Onsen. There were various local souvenir shops, sweets shops, and restaurants. We stopped at a place called Gubigabu and enjoyed a nice brunch with a cheese platter (which I would skip) and hot cakes that were delicious!.
While our visit to Kinosaki Onsen was brief, we enjoyed every moment of this beautiful and quaint town far from the hustle and bustle of the big cities and deep into the mountains of Japan. After enjoying our relaxing stay in Toyooka we hopped on a train to our next stop, Tokyo!