Nestled in a valley, surrounded by mountains and sea, this hot spring town is filled with the tradition and culture of old Japan. Gazing at the classic architecture as you stroll along the willow and cherry blossom lined river, it`s easy to understand why Kinosaki attracts both Japanese and foreign visitors seeking to experience a piece of history and culture. The nostalgic ambience greets you the moment you arrive. The entire town feels like one large singular ryokan. The station is your entrance, the streets the hallways. The inns are your rooms and the hot springs your bath. Slip on your yukata and indulge in some total relaxation in one of the largest ryokans you will ever visit.
Getting off the train at Kinosaki Onsen, you would be forgiven for thinking you'd been transported through time to historical Japan. This quaint little onsen town, located in the north of Hyogo prefecture is overflowing with the ambience of over 1300 years of history and has managed to keep its traditional aesthetic.
In 1925 the huge Tajima earthquake and subsequent fire devastated the area and burnt the whole of Kinosaki Onsen to the ground. When it came to rebuilding the town, the townspeople decided to keep the traditional architecture of the three story wooden ryokans instead of constructing large contemporary hotels. This is perhaps the main reason why Kinosaki Onsen seems quaint and quiet rather than built up and touristy. Strolling through the town along the willow lined river, you will cross over lantern lit stone bridges, in an undeniably romantic and cozy atmosphere.
For years the springs have been considered sacred and therapeutic. Traditionally, travelers would hike to the temple at the top of the mountain to pray for permission to enter the waters. Today, travelers are not required to do so. Instead you can receive a free pass from your ryokan and enjoy the therapeutic waters at all seven hot spring bath houses.