Kinosaki Inspirations

Kinosaki Plus 1: A Day in Tanto

  • You're hot springed out (for now). Going back to the city? Not so fast! With just one extra day on the itinerary and a penchant for behind-the-wheel adventures, travellers to Kinosaki Onsen have the chance to further escape the big city destinations with a tumble down into the rural whimsy of Tanto, a small farming village a hop skip and a jump (or for specifics, about an hour) away from the mystic hot spring town. Grab a rental car, catch some of the country's most vibrant flora, meditate under a mountain waterfall, and even score another international vacation for a fraction of the price - Tanto's all that and more.

  • Search for Storks

    The roads to Tanto follow alongside the glistening waters of the Maruyama and Izushi Rivers, both popular stomping grounds for the Oriental White Stork, a national natural treasure of Japan and endangered species. Keep your eyes peeled for these beauties stretching their wings in flight over the Maruyama River or hunting for some food in the shallow banks of the Izushi River.

  • For the first stop in Tanto, we have some options depending on the season:

  • Autumn (November)

    It's definitely art, but nope, that's not a painting! Ankokuji Temple erupts in the reddest of reds with the blooming of multiple dodan-tsutsuji shrubs (Enkianthus perultas) just behind the temple's main hall. Trade pumpkin spice and turtleneck photos for postcard-worthy snaps with some of the best foliage of the season.

  • Spring (April)

    There's no need for chasing rainbows with a springtime visit to Tanto! The annual tulip festival at Tanto Flower Park boasts over 1 million tulips in oodles of colors and species. Make sure to get some photos of the tulip art from the observation deck, or jump into the design yourself for some quirky IG posts.

  • Summer (June-August)

    Summertime visitors to Tanto are gifted with not one, but two outdoor events. From June to August, catch rice field art installations at Gakuonji Temple and in front of Silk Onsen Yamabiko. In August at Tanto Flower Park, catch 500,000 sunflowers in not only yellow but also red hues!

  • Tip: while the snow-capped pine trees in winter are a stunning sight, we recommend visiting Tanto during the green season for travellers rent-a-carring down to visit.

  • Waterfall Meditation

    What's next on the schedule, you ask? How about some meditation at Hokkeji Temple? Relaxing, traditional, and oh yeah - under a waterfall.
    Why under a waterfall? Surely a cozy temple sitting on plush cushions is a more comfortable way to meditate! While you will have plenty of time to rest inside Hokkeji Temple and gaze out at the greenery of the sprawling countryside, the main purpose of the visit is to experience takigyo. Takigyo is an ancient Buddhist meditation ritual where under the pressure of falling water, pilgrims cleanse their minds of outside thoughts and worries, and try to focus on oneself, the power of the waterfall, and the reverend's chant resonating throughout the forest.

  • Reverend Yoshiki, the head monk at Hokkeji Temple, will be your spiritual and English-speaking guide up to Jinryu Falls. After changing into white garments at the top, visitors will stand underneath Jinryu Falls one by one for 3-5 minutes as Rev. Yoshiki recites a Buddhist chant.

  • Once the meditation and hike come to an end, enjoy the relaxing art of sutra copying, a form of writing meditation that encourages mindfulness and positive manifestation. Write your family name and first name as a take home keepsake!

    Afterwards, enjoy a cup of tea and feel free to ask Reverend Yoshiki about spiritual guidance, your worries, or even about the life of a monk.

  • Your Accommodation: Silk Onsen Yamabiko

    You've earned it: an all-inclusive hot spring resort after a long day of outdoor adventures.
    Check into your spacious room and sooth your muscles in Silk Onsen Yamabiko's geothermal hot spring baths. Leaving skin feeling smooth, soft, and true to the resort's namesake, silky, the spring has made a name for itself as the "water of beauty" according to locals. The outdoor bath presents bathers with an exceptional view of the nearby mountains, especially breathtaking during a sunset soak. Before drying off for dinner, don't forget to take advantage of the underwater jet baths for that one knot in your back that just won't go away!

  • The Best of Beef

    Most dinners at Silk Onsen Yamabiko include a little something called Tajima Beef, aka the juiciest, most marbled beef in the world. “But wait! Isn’t that supposed to be Kobe Beef?” many of you may be asking yourselves while reading this - and you would still be correct! Kobe Beef is actually a branding of Tajima Beef. The original beef is named after the Tajima region of Japan where, you guessed it, Tanto is located! So sit back at the table and rest assured that your meal does indeed include some of the world’s finest meaty delicacies.

  • Looking for something more outdoorsy? Try one of Silk Onsen Yamabiko’s log cabins
    (no meals included).

  • Breakfast x2

    You’ve made it through the night with a sound, unbroken sleep after filling up on Tajima Beef - what’s next? A traditional Japanese breakfast in your room followed by donuts for seconds, of course! Tankuma is a roadside restaurant just down the road from SIlk Onsen Yamabiko serving fresh-baked donuts in their bakery. Order one, two, or even a dozen, take a seat in the sunlit loft on the second floor, and watch the world go by.

  • A warning for groups with shutterbugs: leave extra time for photos by the bear-shaped restroom

  • Don't miss the egg vending machine on the drive in!

  • A Bonus Vacation - An Hour or Two in Mongolia

  • 15 minutes in the car from Tankuma will land you in front of the Japan Mongolia Folk Museum, the largest museum in Japan dedicated to Mongolian culture. Due to its past of producing silk, Tanto has historically welcomed professors and visitors from Mongolia to observe Tanto’s process of creating silk, and thus the museum was born.

    Exhibits displayed throughout the museum include a full-scale ger (traditional Mongolian house), Mongolian clothing, artworks, Tibetan Buddhism history exhibits, and a special room archiving the history of Tanto as a silk town. Try on a deel (traditional Mongolian garb), make friends with the local goat Satsuki, and before you know it you’ll be traveling through Mongolia in no time - just one hour from Kinosaki Onsen!

  • About

    Danielle Leveille

    Danielle Leveille

    Junior Local Expert

    Originally from Chicago in the USA. She currently works for Visit Kinosaki as a coordinator for international relations. A lover of Tajima beef and hidden sightseeing spots, she can be found either at one of her favorite restaurants or exploring a secret nook in town.