Kinosaki Onsen, Toyooka, Japan

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

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Ramune | Kinosaki Onsen Limited Edition
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A widespread map of Kinosaki Onsen

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Entrance to Nishimuraya Honkan
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While shopping on the streets of Kinosaki Onsen a Japanese film crew stopped us and asked to film us for a documentary they were working on. In exchange they snapped this photo on my cell phone. We were excited to be able to were traditional summer Yukatas provided by our ryokan.

 

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The Streets of Kinosaki Onsen
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The Streets of Kinosaki Onsen
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Farm lands nearby

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!

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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!.

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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!

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20 Comments

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  1. That is a lovely city. I love natural baths but I didn’t have the time to visit one when I was in Japan. Although I love tasting traditional things everywhere I go, I would prefer a continental breakfast!

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    • It was a beautiful experience! The natural baths are an added bonus to this quaint town. If you do visit this specific ryokan they do have a “Westernized” breakfast option that would be what you’re hoping for. 🙂

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  2. I love your photos of the Japanse Gardens – the green and the details are just beautiful. And you’re room looked pretty special too! I can’t wait to get to Japan and experience an Onsen for myself!

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    • Thank you Vicki! It was a cooler, slightly rainy day when we were there which made the green of the garden pop even more. We loved it! The room was a splurge but well worth it for the experience. I hope you are able to visit and experience this as well!

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  3. Such a lovely post and amazing photos. Japan has always fascinated me the most and I hope to travel there once again in the future. I was there as a kid so not many memories from that trip. I actually saw and TV episode on Onsen and since then have been intrigued about the area. Certainly looks like a must visit place.

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    • Thank you very much! Japan has been our favorite country thus far. The people are so considerate and the culture is fascinating to us both; especially Logan as he is part Japanese. I hope you’re able to make a return trip soon!

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  4. There’s something special about spending time at a Japanese onsen. The traditional bathing rituals are timeless and the gardens are beautiful. I think it’s a chance to rebalance your soul.

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  5. This looks like such a great traditional Japanese city. I love all of the koi ponds, they’re so peaceful.

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    • We enjoyed the koi ponds as well. This town was far from typical and had very little tourism except that of Japanese people coming from nearby cities. It was very nice to get away from the urban hustle and bustle for a short while.

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  6. I always thought those outfits were kimonos. But the name yukatas sounds so much cooler! The private onsen sounds wonderful! Great trip 🙂

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    • You’re actually right as well! Kimonos are typically make from silk, while Yukatas are made from cotton and are more typically worn in the summer months as the fabric is lighter. 🙂

      We LOVED having the onsen right in our room, it was very beautiful and the light rain we had that day was soothing as well.

      Thanks for reading!

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  7. What a lovely 24 hours! Those gardens look beautiful. Also, how cool to have a hot spring in your room! Lovely, thanks for sharing 🙂

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  8. I loved Japan when we went skiing there. Disappointing however we did not have enough time to visit a onset and I would really love to return in order to do so. Looks fab

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  9. Lovely city, full of greenery and a lot of good people and not to forget talented visitors.

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  10. I can totally live there! Loved the koi pond and the gardens. I don’t know how you can stay for only 24hours. Should stay longer but I bet it was expensive?

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