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Kinosaki Onsen

Experience Traditional Japan in this 1,300-Year-Old Hot Spring Town

Special offer for readers of this article: try your hands at traditional Japanese mindfulness activities in Kinosaki Onsen for free with special coupon codes.

- Kinosaki Onsen of Toyooka City, where ancient Japan remains -

Toyooka City's claim to fame is the historic hot spring town of Kinosaki Onsen which is surrounded by great nature and offers plenty of spiritual activities such as hearing the history behind the traditional bathing method from a monk, Zen meditation, and more. Experience your very own mindfulness activities in Japan to get your mind, body, and soul ready for 2020.

Conveniently located only a few hours from both Kyoto and Osaka, this city features various outlying districts that offer visitors a wonderfully diverse range of sights and activities. From traditional Japanese architecture to white beaches and the promise of adventure in its mountainous regions, Toyooka offers many hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

About Free Coupon Code

Please use the following coupon codes when you reserve one of the activities introduced further down in this article. Enter the code on the final confirmation screen to participate for free. (One coupon per booking; make separate bookings to enjoy more savings; note that you'll be required to complete a short survey after participating in the activity.)

Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen is a hot spring town with 1300 years of history behind it. As an onsen town formed in ancient times, Kinosaki had at least 50 onsen ryokan in 1870. At the time, the town was not so much a sightseeing spot as it was a place for people to heal in the hot spring waters. This method, called toji in Japanese, is a passed-down hot spring therapy that involves staying in a hot spring resort and entering an onsen with the health benefits needed to treat the person's sickness or health condition. A pharmacy book published around 1730 describes toji and introduces Kinosaki Onsen as the best out of the many hot springs all over Japan.

Authentic Onsen Culture and Atmosphere

Nestled in a valley, surrounded by mountains and sea, the classic architecture of Kinosaki Onsen offers a nostalgic ambiance. Slip back in time and soak up the relaxed atmosphere. Experience traditional Japanese hospitality and culture firsthand as you stroll along the streets wearing traditional Japanese spa wear, including a yukata robe and geta footwear.

Seven Natural Hot Spring Bathhouses

Kinosaki Onsen, which is said to be the birthplace of the onsen-hopping, has seven hot springs each with their own charm. When you arrive at your ryokan, change into a yukata and relieve your daily fatigue by visiting the hot springs.

Learn the Ancient Onsenji Bathing Method at Onsenji Temple

According to local tradition, visitors of Kinosaki's hot springs would first climb up to Onsenji Temple, to ask for a blessing before entering the sacred healing waters. Today, visitors can still perform this ancient ritual and ascend the many stone stairs leading up to the temple's main hall. Contained within is the famous Juichimen Kanzeon Bosatsu, known as the "11-faced goddess of compassion and mercy". A short thirty-minute hike will get you to the top of Mt. Daishi, overlooking Kinosaki Onsen. This is also where the top station of a ropeway lift is located, connecting this viewpoint through Onsenji Temple with Kinosaki Onsen below. A great way to rest your legs and let yourself be carried down while enjoying the view!

→ Reserve an ancient Onsenji bathing method activity
(Use coupon code gv-to50jg50on to participate in this activity for free)

Straw Craft Workshop Tour and Activity in Kinosaki Onsen

Learn about the traditional craft of mugiwara zaiku (straw craft), a technique unique to Kinosaki Onsen. Visit Kamiya Mingei Shop, a straw crafting store in the area and gain fascinating insights into the history and process of this art form. You'll also enjoy a straw crafting activity by pasting brightly dyed strips of straws to decorate a straw box. You can take the box home as a souvenir. The craftsman will be teaching you directly with the help of an English-speaking guide. You can also enjoy the atmosphere and facilities around Kinosaki Onsen.

→ Reserve a straw craft workshop tour and activity
(Use coupon code gv-to50jg50mu to participate in this activity for free)

Gokurakuji Temple Zazen and Matcha Tea Near Kinosaki Onsen

One such option for enjoying the atmosphere of Kinosaki would be to immerse yourself in a more spiritual setting during a visit to Gokurakuji Temple. Secluded in a quiet part of town, this temple offers Zazen courses for those interested in learning more about this ancient form of seated Zen meditation. Meet with the temple's chief priest and learn to focus on posture, breathing and listening to the natural world around you. Wearing the traditional monk's working clothes called samue is optional but sure to enhance the experience! Join the priest afterwards for a cup of matcha tea and local sweets while you discuss temple life and gaze on their beautiful Zen rock garden.

→ Reserve a zazen and matcha tea activity
(Use coupon code gv-to50jg50zen to participate in this activity for free)

It is undoubtedly clear that Toyooka presents plenty of interesting opportunities for a fun day out. And although it might seem impossible to string all these activities together, it is perfectly feasible to create a suitable minimum two or three days itinerary to explore all the best Toyooka has to offer.

Below you will find out how to get to each activity in Toyooka City.

Getting There

Use your Japan Rail Pass to easily get to Kinosaki from Kyoto or Osaka via Japan Railway trains for no additional cost.

JR Kyoto to Kinosaki Onsen (2 hours, 30 minutes)
JR Osaka to Kinosaki Onsen (2 hours, 40 minutes)
JR Kobe to Kinosaki Onsen (2 hours, 30 minutes)
JR Himeji to Kinosaki Onsen (1 hour, 50 minutes)