The city of seven baths
Two hours and a half by train from Kyoto, on the north coast of Japan, there is a small spa town full of charm, but especially onsen: Kinosaki, the city baths!Along the small river Otani, lies the seven Kinosaki onsen, a place well known to residents of Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto, who seek a little rest here. In summer, it is sometimes the rush. We come with friends or family to tour the onsen before ending the evening in one of the restaurants around a crab Matsuba based dish, a specialty of the region. It is quite nice to walk in the city center, several small fountains with thermal water are available to walkers so they can soak their feet or even have a drink!
While the downtown area is small enough to be visited in an afternoon, it is still better to stay overnight in Kinosaki Onsen, because you have two days to discover the onsen but also because the stay in one of the city's ryokan can benefit from unlimited access to the seven hot springs (these hotels will also lend yukata and geta shoes to start your tour of the onsen).
To the baths !
The number of onsen in Kinosaki present, and their diversity, will give you a great introduction to the etiquette and tradition of bathing in an onsen in Japan. Japan Experience has selected three essential onsen in Kinosaki:
- The Gosho no yu (御所 の 湯), located in the city center, offers spacious and nice baths. Plus: a small waterfall flows into the outdoor bath.
- The Sato no yu (さ と の 湯), located close to the station, is the largest of all. It has two outdoor baths and a traditional interior floor bathroom and a top floor with different saunas. Their penguin sauna, very cold, is rather nice when you come out of the hot bath. The baths rotate daily between men and women.
- The Ko no Yu (鴻 の 湯) is located near the cable car, so this is the most eccentric bath in Kinosaki. It has a nice rotenburo, covered outdoor bath, from which you can see the mountains and the forest.