Located in the northern part of Hyogo off the Sea of Japan is Kinosaki Onsen, one of the top three hot spring towns in all of Japan. You can stay at a hot springs inn and enjoy the seven public baths in this picturesque little town. Staying at any of the inns will land you a free pass to all seven baths and a yukata robe to stroll around in.
For accommodation, our local source recommended Kojinmari, the teeny-tiniest hot springs inn in the whole town. Fittingly enough, “Kojinmari” means “cozy”: this inn has a grand total of only four rooms and features homemade Japanese meals served in your room.
When I arrived at Kinosaki, I had no trouble finding the Kojinmari inn, as it was only a five-minute walk from the train station. Kojinmari is located directly on the main street, facing a river bordered by willow trees. The matriarch of the establishment was there to greet me and show me to my small but pleasant Japanese-style room. She served me a cup of green tea and told me all her tips on how to enjoy the town to its fullest before bidding me on my way to hit the hot springs before dinner. Since it was snowing out, she lent me not only a yukata but a warm outer kimono jacket, an umbrella, and galoshes!
When I returned in the evening, I was very clean and very hungry. The multi-course dinner, personally served by the proprietress, did not disappoint, and I also took the liberty of enjoying some locally-brewed sake.
After dinner, I took another quick dip in the hot springs before returning to collapse on my abundantly-fluffy futon, which had been set out for me during my absence.
In the morning, a hearty Japanese breakfast was waiting for me. I’m not used to eating such a full breakfast, so I had a little trouble getting through the whole meal, but it was worth it.
The late check-out time of 11 AM allowed me to enjoy a leisurely morning before heading out to explore the quaint old town before my return to the hectic metropolis of Kobe.
All-in-all, a beautifully-styled family-run ryokan with impeccable personal service and delicious food. I greatly enjoyed my stay and would highly recommend Kojinmari to any visitor to Kinosaki.
Rooms accommodate 2-5 guests. One room has private hot spring bath. Dinner and breakfast optional but highly recommended. See the ryokan’s English website (below) for room details and reservations.
Hours:Check-in: 15:00-18:00, Check-out: 11:00
Address: Yushima 257 Kinosaki-cho Toyooka-shi, Hyogo
Website: http:http://www.kojinmari.com/en/ (English)
How To Get There
From Kobe Sannomiya (JR): take the limited express Hamakaze (2.5 hours).
From Osaka (JR): take the limited express Konotori (2.5 hours).
When you arrive at Kinosaki Onsen station, take a right toward the center of town and turn left onto the willow-lined main street. The Kojinmari inn will be on your left.