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Arima Onsen Day Trip: Japan’s Oldest Hot Spring Town is Just Like Stepping Into an Anime

Arima Onsen is one of Japan’s Three Ancient Hot Springs and is mentioned in The Pillow Book as one of the Three Famous Springs of that time.

Zuihoji Park, praised by Taiko Hideyoshi who said, “I never tire of the view,” embodies the traditional Japanese atmosphere especially when the leaves turn red in the fall.

This is a place we heartily recommend for a pleasant day-trip to a famous hot spring area where you can enjoy the famous Kin-no-Yu and Gin-no-Yu onsen as well as some famous hot spring products.

Getting to Arima Onsen: Access

Getting to Arima Onsen from Kobe is very straightforward. From Shinkaichi Station, take the Kobekosoku-Nanboku Line to Arimaguchi Station, then transfer to the Kobe Dentetsu-Arima Line to the final stop, Arima Onsen Station. The trip will take around 45 minutes.

Arima Onsen’s autumn leaves extend throughout Zuihoji Park

Zuihoji Park is said to be one of the best places in the Kansai region to see the colorful autumn leaves. It is only about a 15-minute walk from the center of Arima Onsen. Previously this was the site of the Zuihoji Temple, but after it was abandoned in 1873, it was made into a public park.

▲From early to mid-November the leaves turn a beautiful color

There are walking paths inside the park and when the leaves are at their best, the whole park is dyed in bright reds. The park is not that large so that even at a leisurely pace you can walk around it in about 30 minutes, but you may find yourself stopping often to enjoy the colorful leaves above you.

▲ The paths are very easy to walk.

The views are absolutely gorgeous. The bright reds and oranges make a beautiful mosaic creating a kaleidoscope effect as you walk beneath them. It is easy to see why so many people come from other prefectures just to enjoy the autumn leaves.

▲ This is the stone Go board that is said to have been loved by Hideyoshi

Taiko Hideyoshi is said to have enjoyed playing go on this stone board so much under the beautiful autumn leaves that he spent the whole day there admiring them and subsequently this was called the Higurashi [dawn to dusk] Garden. In addition, there are many other attractions besides the autumn leaves, such as the 13-tiered stone pagoda and the main gate of the Fushimi Momoyama Castle relocated from Kyoto.

▲You can enjoy a light meal or tea at the Momiji Tea House

There are no shops or vending machines in the park, but the Momiji Tea House is open only during late October to late November when the autumn leaves are at their best, making it a popular spot with tourists. The bright red bankasa [coarse oilpaper umbrella] add to the mood.

▲Kuromitsu Dango [rice cake dumplings with brown sugar syrup] (2 sticks) 400 yen including tax. *Price may be subject to change.

In addition to sweets typical of a tea house, such as dango, zenzai, and amazake [sweet sake], you can also get an authentic pizza cooked in a stone oven and also wine.

Explore history at Taiko-no-Yu while enjoying the Kin-no-Yu and Gin-no-Yu hot springs

▲ Taiko-no-Yu is a hot spring facility offering many types of baths that can be enjoyed on a day trip.

Arima Onsen’s Taiko-n…

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