Kinosaki is an onsen hot spring town located in Hyogo's Toyooka area, centred around a picturesque, willow-lined canal. It is a popular getaway destination for those looking to relax and unwind. The town is famous for its seven famous hot springs, which attracts visitors from across Japan and internationally thanks to its intimate, charming setting.
Visitors staying at one of Kinosaki's ryokans will receive a free pass to all of the town's hot springs. You'll often see ryokan guests wandering the town's streets in their yukata (summer kimono) leisurely stopping into one hot spring after another – a custom known as 'sotoyu meguri'. Otherwise the hot springs welcome day visitors too – with the entrance fee typically in the range of 600–800 yen.
Around the town are a number of shops selling local snacks and souvenirs. You can also try preparing 'onsen tamago' by boiling eggs in the fountain waters. Foot baths allow visitors to soak their feet outside along the road, perhaps after they've returned from an excursion up to the top of Mt Taishi (accessible via a nearby ropeway), providing panoramic views of the coastline and town below.
A number of festivals are dotted throughout the year, including April's Onsen Matsuri, where parades are held to on the anniversary of the death of Kinosaki Onsen's founder, Dochi-shonin. In mid-October, visitors can witness danjiji shrine-carrying groups lock horns in this ritualistic Autumn tradition. In the colder winter month of February, the town celebrates its proximity to the sea with the annual Crab Festival, with taiko performances, food stalls and a gourmet auction all being held.
Kinosaki Onsen is tucked away in a valley close to the coastal northern Hyogo. It's fairly accessible by JR express train from Kyoto, Kobe, Himeji and Osaka.