Our industry people call the Tokyo – Kyoto – Osaka corridor the “golden route” in Japan.
If I could make a “Golden route plus one”, I would add a real Japanese Hot spring town.
I really like Kyoto, Osaka and Tokyo. But come on, people, you should try something Japanese, different and good.
So, I chose Kinosaki Onsen.
Why do I love Kinosaki so much? I’m going to explain it to you
First, I’m going to tell you about the onsen situation in Japan.
There are two styles of onsen town right now: A) very popular large size modern ryokan or hotels have huge facilities with 4 to 7 onsen including outdoor and indoor baths in the building (technically you don’t have to go outside at all), or B) only a few small onsen towns have small traditional ryokan and public bathhouses (soto-yu) that you can stroll around town and visit. (I call it Onsen Wonderland)
Ok, Kinosaki is B).
I like Kinosaki Hot Spring so much because it’s a great place to experience an old school onsen town atmosphere, just like at a fake onsen theme park in Tokyo, but it is real, simple, and very Japanese.
You can enjoy seven public bathhouses (soto-yu) strolling around town in yukata (a kind of kimono) and geta (wooden clogs), which is one of the true charms of Kinosaki Onsen. Also, Kinosaki is very close to Kyoto – it only takes 2 and a half hours by train. Sightsee in Kyoto during the day, and in the afternoon you will be Onsening in Kinosaki
Our guest blogger Mike Sharp says, “城崎(Kinosaki) has seven 温泉(Onsen) of very different types to try, and they’re all free provided you’re in your 浴衣(Yukata). There are very traditional, older bath houses that just have buckets to wash yourself with and larger, newer ones with detachable shower heads, saunas and spas. Don’t forget to wash and rinse thoroughly before you jump into the bath – it’s a huge no-no to go in dirty or with soap suds still on you. You can take your face towel into the bath with you but don’t put it in the water – put it on the side or fold it up and put it on top of your head.”
Good point, Mike. Thank you. Very important, you wash yourself and don’t put your face towel in the bath. The most important thing is don’t be shy. Show what you have!! I’m freaking serious.
See you next post for Golden route plus Kinosaki part 2: Crab kingdom