Reconstructing A Town Of Tradition
As a city famous for living in harmony with the surrounding natural landscape, Toyooka's Kinosaki Onsen is lined with buildings that were built with environmental sustainability and historical preservation in mind.
In the late morning on May 23, 1925, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake hit modern-day Toyooka City, including Kinosaki. The outcome was disastrous–since the earthquake struck during a time when most households were preparing for lunchtime, many residents were busy cooking. A fire quickly spread throughout the town, resulting in 283 deaths and most buildings in ruin.
With the area's residences and hot springs devastated by the fire and earthquake, the citizens of Kinosaki were determined to do anything in their power to rebuild their beloved hot spring town. Over 100 meetings were held to discuss reconstruction strategies, and it was eventually decided that in addition to re-erecting many buildings with their original wooden architecture, a handful of buildings (including the public bathhouses, town hall, and police station) would be reconstructed with reinforced concrete for the purpose of future fire prevention. In the midst of the town's reconstruction efforts, a new law requiring that building heights not exceed three stories was born out of the desire to preserve Kinosaki's traditional atmosphere. As a protective measure against flooding, rocks from the nearby Genbudo Caves were also used to fortify the banks of the Otani River, a river that runs through Kinosaki which often overflowed due to heavy rainfall.
Additionally, the ideas of coexistence and co-prosperity (𝘬𝘺𝘰𝘻𝘰𝘯-𝘬𝘺𝘰𝘦𝘪) were set as the core values for the future of Kinosaki's development and success as a tourist attraction. Instead of competing against one’s neighbor, local businesses sought to support one another through a joint effort to revitalize their town’s hot spring industry. The town of Kinosaki would be viewed as one single inn–the individual accommodations would act as the rooms of one giant inn, with the train station as the inn’s entrance, the streets as the hallways, the public bathhouses as its hot springs, the stores as souvenir shops, and the restaurants as dining rooms. The ideology of “coexistence and co-prosperity” is still very much present throughout Kinosaki to this day, as visitors strolling through the town can even come across a sign sporting the local slogan of “𝘬𝘺𝘰𝘻𝘰𝘯-𝘬𝘺𝘰𝘦𝘪.”
𝘖𝘯𝘴𝘦𝘯-Hop In Style
As a modern-day celebration of Kinosaki Onsen's 1300 years of history, master-piece, a Japanese bag company with facilities in Toyooka, has started selling commemorative bags created specifically for Kinosaki's local pastime–going to multiple public hot springs in one day, otherwise known as “𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘦𝘯-hopping.”
While paying homage to Toyooka’s historical bag-making industry, these bags were crafted with the ideal hot spring experience in mind, with every detail from their water-proof fabric to comfortable over-the-shoulder straps providing 𝘰𝘯𝘴𝘦𝘯-hoppers a stylish and ideal way to tote their towels and other essentials from one peaceful hot spring to the next. Available in two sizes and five distinct colorways, the YUMEGURI BAG holds true to Kinosaki's pledge to “coexistence and co-prosperity.” Each purchase of a YUMEGURI BAG comes with one free day pass to all of Kinosaki's Seven Mystic 𝘖𝘯𝘴𝘦𝘯. The pass is valid until 2026 and can be exchanged at SOZORO Tourist Information Center right in front of Kinosaki Onsen's train station.
Available in select shops both in Japan and abroad, the YUMEGURI BAG is also available for purchase online for those across the world who would like to own a special celebratory piece of Kinosaki!