Kinosaki Inspirations

Kinosaki Onsen for Bookworms

  • Flanked with wind-blown willows and teeming with old-town charm, Kinosaki Onsen has been a muse for the arts for over a millennium.

    As the promise of seven healing bathhouses lure visitors to Kinosaki Onsen even to this day, many creatives look beyond the mystic hot spring mists in search of artistic inspiration.

    Shiga Naoya was one such creative.

    A writer renowned in literary circles for his existential and autobiographical prose, Naoya made a three-week trip to Kinosaki Onsen after being hit by a train in Tokyo in 1917.

    Naoya's creative mind focused on penning a new story, "At Kinosaki," during his time spent in his guest room at Mikiya Ryokan.

    While the hot springs succeeded in healing his wounds, some may believe that Naoya's passion for writing healed his trauma after the near-death experience.

    Though a century has passed since Naoya's fateful visit to Kinosaki Onsen, the tranquil hot spring town still welcomes literary creatives and readers alike to find their inner peace.

  • Some Spots for Mindfulness

  • Mikiya Ryokan

  • Naoya’s inn of choice, Mikiya Ryokan boasts not only luxurious guest rooms - a mini in-house library and a reading nook with a view of the inn’s impressive koi pond beckon readers and writers to an escape of serenity and creative revelation.

    Guests also have the special opportunity to tour the room Naoya himself called home in Kinosaki Onsen.

  • Kinosaki Onsen Heritage Museum

  • Tucked away from the crowds on a small residential street, the Kinosaki Onsen Heritage Museum houses multiple exhibits celebrating Naoya’s legacy and ties to the town.

    Alongside exhibits pertaining to Kinosaki’s history as a haven for the arts, a small book store on the first floor sells multiple works written by local Kinosaki authors.

  • Book Cafe Un

  • Book Cafe Un is Kinosaki Onsen’s modern-day twist on the town’s tradition of being a haven for the arts, furnished with mod-art lamps, book sculptures, and even private work spaces inspired by popular symbols found around Kinosaki.

    Those looking for a cozy retreat during their stay are welcome to pop in for a coffee and some sweets while they browse through the endless walls of books lining the cafe.

  • Kiyamachi Square

  • A charming nook teeming with small shops, clip-clopping geta sandals, and yukata-clad shoppers, Kiyamachi Square is not only a souvenir stop, but also an open-air reading corner equipped with tatami mats and wooden benches under an open sky.

    Grab a drink or sweet from a shop, find an open tatami mat or bench, and get lost in your most recent read.

  • Gokurakuji Temple

  • Tucked away in a forested world of its own, Gokurakuji Temple is a lovely hideaway where visitors can practice mindfulness through a guided session of zen meditation.

    The temple’s rock garden houses a cacophony of tranquil sounds reverberating from the forest nearby, providing an outdoor reader’s retreat.

  • Onsenji Temple and Mount Daishi

  • The guardian Buddhist temple of Kinosaki Onsen paints a dramatic view of the town below from its perch atop Mount Daishi, gifting inspiration to many artists throughout the centuries.

    After a guided tour of the temple grounds, consider taking the Kinosaki Ropeway to the mountain top pavilion with a book and the unmatched view for company.

  • Sanpou Nishimuraya Honten

  • This classy restaurant in the heart of town serves up a culinary portfolio of local dishes including Tajima beef and Matsuba crab.

    As guests savor the fresh, homegrown flavors of the region on the first floor, bookworms will be pleased to find a quiet lounge perfect for reading and writing on the second floor with panoramic views of the nearby street.

  • Genbudo Park

  • A quick bicycle ride away from the center of Kinosaki Onsen delivers breathtaking views of the Maruyama River before dropping riders at the Genbudo Caves, a UNESCO natural monument.

    Inside the park, 5 basalt caves known for their stunning columnar joints are referred to by locals as "power spots," areas for recharging your spirit (and perhaps a creative mind).