Hot springs are an important part of Japanese culture. They foster socializing between visitors and locals, benefit the body and mind, and offer some spectacular views and experiences along with them. Thus, there are towns that are built around some gorgeous onsens, or hot spring baths, such as Arima Onsen.
Arima Onsen is a charming hot spring town in Kobe, the capital city of Japan’s Hyogo Prefecture.
Kobe has been gaining the interest of tourists, as people are discovering just how tranquil and memorable this city and its areas truly are.
This town is nestled right at the edge of Kobe, close to Osaka, and close to Mount Rokko. Arima is considered to be one of the longest-standing hot spring towns in Japan, as it’s been established for over 1000 years.
During the Edo Period of Japan, Arima Onsen was one of the most visited hot spring towns throughout the country.
Arima Onsen is filled with buildings that perfectly merge older, wooden architecture with modern elements.
It makes the perfect destination for a day trip, and you can explore the entire town by walking through it. The town also offers unique hot spring experiences with a plethora of potential health benefits.
A kinsen bath is also known as a golden water bath. The water within these particular baths does have a golden-brown hue due to iron within the water.
Some of these golden hot spring baths are also a reddish-brown hue with hints of blue. The color shouldn’t be off-putting; the minerals within the water are what cause the color to change.
It is believed that the iron in this water can help nourish your skin and offer temporary relief from pain. Sitting in these hot spring baths can also help relieve tension in your muscles.
These baths will also contain salt, which offers a combination of potential benefits including relief of skin ailments or damage such as burns and cuts.
A ginsen bath is also known as a silver water bath. Minerals within this type of hot spring bath include carbonate and radium, which are believed to help offer relief for those with muscle or joint pain and discomfort.
These baths can also encourage healthy blood circulation throughout your body.
It is also believed that the radium within some of these silver water baths has helped people who live with menopause, rheumatism-related conditions, and other disorders or chronic conditions.
Gin no Yu
Gin No Yu offers visitors the opportunity to soak in silver water hot spring baths. The baths are located inside this small but delightful bathhouse, and the bath is separated by gender.
Kin no Yu
Once you enter Arima Onsen, you’ll stumble upon Kin No Yu quickly. This onsen offers public baths that are separated by gender and are located indoors.
The water in these public baths is kinsen, or golden water baths. You can also visit a free foot bath located just outside of the onsen.
If you are wanting to visit both Gin No Yu and Kin No Yu, you are able to purchase a pass that will give you access to both onsens.
Kanpo no Yado Arima
If you plan on hiking the mountain surrounding this small town, you’ll stumble upon the Kanpo no Yado Arima.
This indoor hot spring bath has some of the freshest, mineral-rich water, given that it’s sourced directly from underneath the building.
Staying In Arima Onsen
There are a few ryokans, or Japanese-style inns, that you can stay at if you want to extend your trip in this relaxing town.
Many of these ryokans have their own hot spring baths that you can use. Even if you’re only in Arima Onsen for a day, you can visit many of these baths for a small fee.
Goshoboh is one such oasis that you can stay in when visiting Arima Onsen. This gorgeous, tranquil inn is one of the oldest ryokans in the town and has been open since the 1100s.
Within this ryokan, there is also a hot spring bath set up in an open-air space.
There is no gender separation, but the water is deep enough that your body is covered when you sit down in the bath.
Arima View Hotel
The Arima View Hotel gives you the option to stay in Arima Onsen to see more of the town, while also being able to immerse yourself in hot spring baths without leaving the hotel.
This hotel also offers different options for baths, including golden or silver, carbonated, steam baths, and rock baths.
Yumotozaka is a little street in Arima Onsen that offers some wonderful shopping opportunities. It is filled with various shops where you can find souvenirs and mementos as well as a variety of other goods.
Arima Toys And Automata Museum
Kids and adults alike would adore this museum filled with toys that you can play with and interact with. These toys are sourced from around the world, and many rare toys can be seen here.
The museum was opened by a designer who used to work at Glico, which is known for its delicious sweets.
Tousen Shrine was established to honor Onamuchi no Mikoto and Sukanahikona no Mikoto. These two gods are believed to have been the first to stumble upon the beauty of Amira Onsen.
They witnessed a crow receive the healing benefits of the baths, which helped them discover all of the wonderful spring water sources in the area.
Drink Fresh Spring Water
There are a few spots throughout the town where you can actually drink fresh spring water, as well as carbonated spring water.
This water is safe and clean and is thought to have some gut health benefits on top of the benefits from the naturally occurring minerals.
Thus, when you start to get a little tired from walking around the town or walking throughout the mountain, you’ll want to stop at one of the fountains that sources water straight from the springs.
Eating In Arima Onsen
As with most Japanese towns and cities, there are always hotspots for delicious food worth checking out.
Dosanjin Soba is a popular spot for its tasty soba noodles, and sometimes you’ll even see lines outside of the restaurant of people waiting to slurp these noodles.
Sake Ichiba is a casual bar that serves beer made right in Arima. You should also stop for carbonated rice crackers, available in many shops, which are carbonated with hot spring water.
If you’re looking for something sweet to enjoy with a cup of coffee or tea, Cafe au Beau is a great little cafe with desserts that taste as good as they look.
Stagione is another spot with tempting house-made gelato you can savor while you walk.
Getting To Arima Onsen
The easiest way to get to Arima Onsen is by taking a bus from a bigger city, such as Kyoto or Osaka. If you’re in Kobe, there are also buses that will take you to the small town through either JR or Hankyu bus services.
You can catch these buses at either the Kyoto or Osaka stations, from the Shin-Osaka station, from Sannomiya in Kobe, and even from Universal Studios in Japan.