Ōsaka and Hyōgo, Nanki in Wakayama, Kōsei and Kotou in Shiga, Ise in Mie, and all of Nara and Kyōto—the Kinki region is overflowing with attractions and highlights for tourists. There are plenty of historical buildings, as well as shrines and temples of every kind to visit, not to mention the gorgeous natural sights to see. For those looking for a more hands-on experience, there are fun activities to try and abundant hot springs to soak in. From among those, we’ll be giving information on well-known hot springs that are overflowing with charm, which were chosen by locals. By all means, use this article to find the perfect hot spring to soothe your body’s fatigue!
1.Hyōgo Prefecture Arima Onsen
There are many hot springs in Arima, all centered around Koyokaku, a ryokan that, thanks to the commercial “Arima Hyōe Koyokaku”, is ubiquitous among locals.
Hyōe Koyokaku is a well-known, ancient hot spring, said to have been given the name “Hyōe” (middle palace guard) by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who is purported to have loved its waters. There are a number of top-class facilities in the Arima area, and whether you visit Ichi-no-yu, Ni-no-yu, or San-no-yu, you can enjoy their “golden springs”. The appearances of the baths differs depending on which you choose to enter, with the Japanese style bath, Roman bath, and health resort bath each offering a unique bathing experience.
2.Hyōgo Prefecture Kinosaki Onsen
This is Hyōgo Prefecture’s most famous hot spring area, with a history spanning more than 1300 years since its opening. Its stone bridges, crossing over small rivers which are lined with weeping willows, are iconic, and the unique, retro feelings which they bring to life will allow you to relish the cultured atmosphere of the Meiji and Shōwa periods.
It is an area with many baths and inns, and is dotted with 7 outdoor baths to enjoy. They all have their own different charms, from Sato-no-yu, with its open air bath with a view, to the cave-like Ichi-no-yu. Patrons of the ryokans in the onsen town receive free tickets for “bath tours”, so we highly recommend that you take advantage of this opportunity to wander about in a yukata as you enjoy the various baths.
Also, in front of Sato-no-yu and Hishikui-no-yu are foot baths, free to use by anyone. You can freely enjoy the waters of Kinosaki with your clothes on here, so we really recommend coming to visit!
Kinosaki’s specialty in fall and winter is, above all, its crab dishes, to the degree that crab tours are often formed. In spring, there are magnificent lines of cherry blossom trees to gaze at. For those visiting in summer, Takenohama beach is only a 15 minute drive away, and since swimming in the ocean is so close, Kinosaki is a wonderful resort area to visit the whole year round.
3.Wakayama Prefecture Shirahama Onsen
Nanki Resort and Shirahama Onsen are two recommended areas in the town of Shirahama, in Wakayama Prefecture’s Nishimuro District. It exists along with Atami and Beppu as one of the three oldest hot springs in Japan and is a hot spring with an exceptionally long history. It has been known by the names of “Muro no onsen” and “Ki no onsen”, and it is a tourist attraction with quite a pedigree. In its 1350 years of operation, it has been visited by nobles such as the Empresses Kōgyoku and Jitō, as well as the Emperors Tenji and Monmu. Among the seven baths of Yuzaki, Saki-no-Yu and Mabuyu especially are the springs with the longest history. The area is extremely famous in western Japan as a place where you can comfortably soak in the bath while gazing out at the sea. Senjōjiki, Engetsu Island, and tourist attractions like Adventure World lie nearby, giving the area the feeling of a resort and relaxation spot all at once.
Top image：個人旅行専門KENJI Travel
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