At the western end of town along a mountain slope stands Onsenji Temple (ëĚÉ˛ÄŤ, lit. "hot spring temple"). This temple is dedicated to a Buddhist saint who, according to legend, prayed for 1000 days to bring forth spring water to Kinosaki.
In the old days, visitors had to first pay a visit to the temple before being admitted to any of the baths in town. While most people no longer make the journey to Onsenji before bathing, the temple remains a nice place to visit.
Onsenji's main treasure is a two-meter-tall, eleven-headed Kannon Buddha which is displayed to the public in its entirety only once every 33 years for a period of three years (it is currently being displayed from April 23, 2018 to April 24, 2021). A partial glimpse at the statue can be taken every year on April 23rd and 24th during the Onsen Matsuri.
Near the temple's main hall stands the Kinosaki Art Museum, a small, interesting museum of historic artifacts and temple treasures.
While most of the temple's main buildings are located halfway up the forested mountain, some additional temple structures, including a hall dedicated to Yakushi Buddha and the Sanmon temple gate, stand at the foot of the mountain, across the road from Kono-yu public bath house.
The Kinosaki Ropeway departs from near the temple gate to an observation deck at the mountain summit, making an intermediate stop next to Onsenji's main hall. The ropeway and observation deck offer great views of Kinosaki and surroundings.
Onsenji's temple gate and the ropeway's lower station are located at the western end of the town, near the Kono-yu public bath house, about a 20 minute walk or a short bus or taxi ride from Kinosaki Station. From there, the temple's main hall can be reached by a short ropeway ride (get off at the intermediate "Onsenji" station) or by walking up a steep, forested path for about 15-20 minutes.