Arima Onsen (有馬温泉) is a famous hot spring town within the city limits of Kobe, but on the opposite side of Mount Rokko from the city center. The town lies in a natural mountain setting, yet is close enough for Kobe and Osaka residents as an easy and popular day trip or weekend getaway.
Although Arima Onsen has a modern look today and is pretty built up, one can still find several narrow lanes and wooden buildings when strolling around the center of town. Due to its compact size, the small town can be explored entirely on foot, and there are several hot spring sources, nice temples and shrines and a small hot spring museum (200 yen) to be discovered.
With a history of over one thousand years, Arima Onsen is considered one of Japan's oldest hot spring resorts and has often stood at or near the top of onsen rankings for Western Japan. The town has two types of hot spring waters which spring up at various sources around town: the Kinsen ("gold water") is colored brown with iron deposits and is said to be good for skin ailments and muscle pain, while the clear Ginsen ("silver water") contains radium and carbonate and is said to cure various muscle and joint ailments.
Visitors to Arima Onsen can enjoy hot spring bathing at two public bath houses or at the town's many ryokan. Several ryokan open their baths also to non-staying visitors during the day. The admission fee for a daytrip visit to a bath typically ranges between 500 and 2500 yen.
The following is a list of some hot spring baths around Arima Onsen that are open to day trip visitors:
From Sannomiya or Shin-Kobe Station, take the subway to Tanigami Station (10-15 minutes, 4-5 departures per hour). Then, take the Shintetsu Arima-Sanda Line to Arima-guchi and transfer to the Arima Line to Arima Onsen Station (20 minutes, 4 departures per hour). The entire journey takes 30-40 minutes and costs 680 yen from either Shin-Kobe or Sannomiya stations.
By direct bus from Kobe
Hankyu and Shinki Bus operate local buses from Sannomiya Station (50 minutes) via Shin-Kobe Station (35 minutes) to Arima Onsen (using bus stop 1 on the map). The one way trip costs 710 yen and buses depart once or twice an hour. Alternatively, JR Bus operates about seven highway buses per day from Shin-Kobe Station (50 minutes) via Sannomiya Station (30 minutes) to Arima Onsen (using bus stop 2 on the map). The one way trip costs 780 yen. The Japan Rail Pass and other JR passes are not valid on any of these buses.
By direct bus from Osaka
Hankyu Bus and JR Bus operate one or two highway buses per hour from Hankyu Umeda Station or JR Osaka Station (60 minutes, 1400 yen) via Shin-Osaka Station (50 minutes, 1250 yen) to Arima Onsen. In Arima, Hankyu Bus uses bus stop 1 on the map, while JR Bus uses bus stop 2. The Japan Rail Pass and other JR passes are not valid on either bus. Online reservations are possible through Japan Bus Online.
By direct bus from Kyoto
JR Bus operate two or three highway buses per day from Kyoto Station (Karasuma side) to Arima Onsen (bus stop 2 on the map, 70 minutes, 1850 yen one way). The Japan Rail Pass and other JR passes are not valid on these buses. Online reservations can be made through Japan Bus Online.
By cablecar and ropeway via Mount Rokko
Take a train along the Hankyu Kobe Line from Sannomiya Station to Rokko Station (7 minutes, 190 yen), from where it is a ten minute, 210 yen bus ride by Kobe City Bus number 16 to the base station of the Rokko Cablecar.
The cablecar ride up the mountain takes ten minutes and costs 600 yen one way or 1100 yen for a round trip ticket. From the top station, take the circular bus line to the top station of the Rokko Arima Ropeway (ten minutes, 260 yen), which brings you down to Arima Onsen (12 minutes, 1030 yen one way, 1850 yen round trip).
If you access Arima Onsen via Mount Rokko, you can save some money by using the "Rokko Arima Katamichi Joshaken" ticket, which includes a one way ride on the cablecar and ropeway plus unlimited use of the circular bus line on Mount Rokko for 1780 yen.
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Hotel La Suite Kobe HarborlandLocated at the waterfront of Kobe Harborland, Hotel La Suite offers spacious rooms with ocean views and a spa bath. It features concierge service, a French restaurant and massage treatments. Free Wi-Fi/wired internet and free videos on demand are available in the rooms. This hotel was selected as one of Top 25 Hotels in Japan by TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Award 2013. Luxurious rooms come with a large flat-screen TV, a DVD player and extra long beds. Bathrooms have a TV and a hot tub, some with sea views. Amenities include a bathrobe, a humidifier with aroma diffuser and Phytomer brand bath salt. Guests at La Suite Kobe can lounge on comfortable sofas on the rooftop terrace. The hotel offers laundry and baby-sitting services. Bicycle and laptop rentals are available, and a free internet-PC is provided at the lobby. Creative French cuisine is presented in a decor of soft carpeting and wide windows at restaurant Le Coeur, while cafe Grand Blue serves a wide range of drinks and light meals. Restaurant Kokoro offers contemporary Japanese cooking inspired on traditional dishes. Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland is a 4-minute walk from Minato-Motomachi Station. It's only a 3-minute walk from Kobe Tower, and a 6-minute stroll from Meriken Park. Kobe Airport is a 15-minute drive away.View on Booking.com
Arima Onsen Taketoritei MaruyamaTaketoritei Maruyama is a non-smoking Japanese-style accommodation featuring natural hot spring baths for private use and free Wi-Fi throughout the property. From its hilltop location a 15-minute walk from JR Arima Station, it offers sweeping views of Arima Onsen. Guests at Maruyama Taketoritei can privately unwind in a hot spring bath, or relax with a massage treatment. Facilities include a souvenir shop and drinks vending machines, while a free shuttle service is available to/from Arima Station. Air-conditioned rooms feature a seating area with a tatami (woven-straw) floor and a low table with seating cushions. Some rooms offer beds, while others have traditional futon bedding. All rooms are equipped with an LCD TV, yukata robes and a fridge. The property is a 10-minute walk from the Arima Onsen area. Osaka’s Umeda station is a 55-minute bus ride away.View on Booking.com
ORIENTAL HOTELOverlooking the beautiful Kobe Harbour, Oriental Hotel offers luxurious accommodation in the heart of the historic Kyu-Kyoryuchi area. Guests can work out at the free-use fitness centre, or relax with beauty massages at the on-site salon. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout the property. Rooms with chic d?cor are fitted with stylish furnishings, and feature a flat-screen TV, a fridge and an electric kettle. The en suite bathroom includes a bath tub and free toiletries. Most rooms boast views of either the harbour or the city. The 24-hour front desk at the Hotel Oriental offers luggage storage services for free. In-room massages can be arranged at an extra charge. A range of items like a DVD player, humidifier and iron can be borrowed from the reception. A laptop can be rented for a fee. The hotel is a 10-minute walk from both JR Sannomiya and Motomachi stations. Shin-kobe Shinkansen (bullet train) Station is a 5-minute drive away. Kobe City Museum is situated right next to the hotel, and Meriken Park can be reached within a 5-minute walk. Main Dining by the House of Pacific serves sophisticated Western dishes, while Kanbe offers delicately prepared sushi. Teppanyaki can be enjoyed at Steak House Medium Rare, and The Bar J. W. Hart lets guests savour cocktails with the gorgeous harbour views.View on Booking.com
Kobe Guesthouse MAYAOffering air-conditioned rooms in the Nada Ward district of Kobe, Kobe Guesthouse MAYA is 3.6 km from Kobe Center for Overseas Migration and Cultural Interaction. Among the facilities at this property are a shared kitchen and a shared lounge, along with free WiFi throughout the property. The property is non-smoking and is set 9.3 km from Noevir Stadium Kobe. The units feature a shared bathroom, a hairdryer and bed linen. The area is popular for hiking, and bike hire is available at the hostel. Mount Maya is 16 km from Kobe Guesthouse MAYA, while Onsen-ji Temple is 16 km away. The nearest airport is Kobe Airport, 10 km from the accommodation.View on Booking.com
Arima Onsen Tocen GoshoboFounded in the 12th century and beloved by Junichiro Tanizaki and other Japanese novelists, Tosen Goshobo is the oldest of the hot-spring inns at Arima. Standing beside the Taki River, it features outdoor hot-spring baths and traditional in-room meals and is a 5-minute walk from Arima Onsen Train Station. The Japanese rooms have traditional futon bedding and a minibar. The 20 rooms at Arima Onsen Tosen Goshobo include tatami (woven-straw) floors and shoji paper screens. Guests can relax at the seating area and enjoy the zen atmosphere with a cup of green tea. Bathing facilities are shared. Right next to the Hankyu Highway Bus station, the ryokan is a 3-minute walk from the Arima Toys and Automata Museum. Zuihoji Park is 900 metres away. Shin-Kobe Shinkansen Station is a 45-minute train ride. After going hiking, guests can recover with a massage. A library-salon and tea-ceremony-style open-air bath are on site. Bar Poco D'Ouro boasts excellent Japanese sake and an international selection of wines. Breakfast is Japanese-style, and dinner features specialties such as Kobe beef, fresh fish from Akashi-Ura port, and black-bean tofu.View on Booking.com
Hotel HanakoyadoOffering stylish rooms with shoji paper screens and Western beds, Hotel Hanakoyado is only a 6-minute walk from Arima Onsen Train Station. It features hot-spring baths and a massage service. The air-conditioned rooms at Hanakoyado Hotel include a fridge and tea maker. Each has an attached toilet, and bathing facilities are shared. Arima Toys and Automata Museum is just 100 metres from the ryokan. JR Sannomiya Train Station is a 35-minute train ride away. Reservable baths for private use are available 24/7. Guests can take a break from the baths to go fishing or hike along one of the area’s trails. Meals are served at Shunju Dining Room and feature grilled fish and meats.View on Booking.com
Arima Grand HotelBoasting an open-air hot springs bath and spacious garden, Arima Grand Hotel is located a 10-minute walk away from Arima Onsen Station. Free WiFi is available in all rooms. Free private parking is also available on site. The entire property is non-smoking, while guests can smoke in the designated smoking area. All air-conditioned rooms come with a flat-screen TV, hairdryer and a mountain view. For guests' comfort, slippers and free toiletries are provided. Some rooms include a private bathroom. A seasonal outdoor pool, various spa and wellness facilities are available at a surcharge. Guests can enjoy the public hot springs bath free of charge. There is also a hot springs bath that is available for private use upon prior reservation at an additional fee. Arima Grand Hotel is situated a 40-minute car ride away from Kobe city and a 25-minute car ride away from Rokko Mountain Snow Park. This accommodation can be reached from Kobe Airport by a 30-minute drive. Mt. Maya is a 35-minute car ride away.View on Booking.com
Kobe Kitano HotelFeaturing 2 gourmet restaurants, Kobe Kitano Hotel offers superb dining experiences and elegantly decorated guestrooms fitted with British interiors. JR Sannomiya Shinkansen (bullet train) Station is a 15-minute walk away. Free WiFi is available in all rooms. Ash French restaurant serves exquisite dishes prepared with select ingredients. Dining Caf? Igrek offers European-style breakfast, as well as lunch and dinner courses. Each with unique d?cor and pastel colours, rooms come with a fridge, a telephone and an electric kettle. The en suite bathroom features a bath tub and free toiletries. Hotel Kitano’s 24-hour front desk provides free luggage storage services. In-room or salon massages are available at an additional charge. Laundry services are also offered for a fee. Kazamidori no Yakata, one of the historic Western-style houses, is a 10-minute walk away.View on Booking.com
Arima Koyado UrakuFeaturing 2-star accommodation, Arima Koyado Uraku is set in Kobe, 100 metres from Onsen-ji Temple and 100 metres from Nenbutsu-ji Temple. The property is close to several well-known attractions, 200 metres from Zempuku-ji Temple, 500 metres from Hosenji Temple and 600 metres from Philatelic Culture Museum Arima, Kobe. Free WiFi is available and private parking can be arranged at an extra charge. The ryokan will provide guests with air-conditioned rooms offering a desk, a kettle, a safety deposit box, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom with a bidet. At Arima Koyado Uraku all rooms have bed linen and towels. Popular points of interest near the accommodation include Gokurakuji Temple, Tosen Shrine and Arima Toys and Automata Museum. The nearest airport is Itami Airport, 23 km from Arima Koyado Uraku.View on Booking.com
Hotel Okura KobeHotel Okura Kobe is located on the waterfront, 500 metres from the Motomachi shopping area. Featuring Western-style rooms with free WiFi access, the hotel offers 6 dining options. Guest rooms offer both air conditioning and heating facilities. Each room is equipped with a fridge and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. The en suite bathroom comes with a hairdryer and a bathtub. Guests can request air-purifiers for in-room use. Guests can work out at the fitness centre, the indoor pool or unwind in the sauna rooms at a surcharge. The hotel also has a seasonal outdoor pool and a tennis court. Laundry and dry cleaning services are available. Overlooking a Japanese garden, restaurant Yamazato serves regional specialities. Other restaurants offer French cuisines, Western and Chinese food. Hotel Okura Kobe offers a free shuttle service from Sannomiya Station. The hotel is adjacent to Meriken Park and Kobe Port Tower, and a 5-minute walk from Chinatown.View on Booking.com