Kinosaki Onsen, located on the Sea of Japan side of northern Hyogo Prefecture, is one of Japan’s definitive hot spring regions boasting over 1,300 years of history. Donning a yukata kimono and geta sandals, guests can stroll between and soak in seven different public hot spring baths, making it feel like the entire town is one big Japanese inn!

In this guide, we’ll introduce you to the appeal of Kinosaki Onsen, diving into the town’s best sightseeing spots, local food, shopping, and more, along with how to get there. Onsen fans, you haven’t seen the best of Japan’s hot springs until you’ve been to Kinosaki Onsen!

Top Photo: Kinosaki Onsen Tourism Association

What sort of place is Kinosaki Onsen?

(Photo: Toyooka City)

Kinosaki Onsen is a collection of ryokan inns, hot springs, souvenir stores, and restaurants concentrated along the Otani River, which is a tributary of the Maruyama River.

The main areas are “Ekidori,” which stretches towards the Otani River north of JR Kinosaki Onsen Station, Kitayanagi-dori and Minamiyanagi-dori, which travel alongside both banks of the Otani River, along with Yunosato-dori, which continues to the west. Further west of Yunosato-dori is the Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway, offering panoramas of the entire town.

The town is also compact and easy to explore on foot, and the ropeway station is just a 20-minute walk from JR Kinosaki Onsen Station.

Kinosaki Onsen at night (Photo: Toyooka City)

In 2013, the townscape of Kinosaki Onsen was awarded two stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan, which means that it is a must-visit if you are nearby. It is often said to be Japan’s definitive hot spring town, most noted for its charming, traditional scenery. The best of this is centered around the Otani River, which is often surrounded by yukata-clad sightseers wearing wooden geta sandals.

To preserve the authentic character of the town, there is no multi-language signage outside. However, the Kinosaki Onsen official website and information centers in town have plenty of English information, including pamphlets, to help you explore.

Visitors walking in the hot spring town (Photo: Toyooka City)

The ryokan inns and hotels of Kinosaki Onsen have fewer rooms than most and are generally aimed at singles or couples rather than group tours. The town has become a hit for solo travelers worldwide, particularly attracting those from America, Europe, and Australia.

Since ancient times, Kinosaki Onsen has welcomed solo travelers seeking to heal in its nourishing hot spring waters, and the town strives to present itself as a single, unified inn.

In this sense, the station is the entrance, the roads are hal…

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