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Arima Onsen – Perfect Choice For Your Two-day Trip

Found as a hot spring source by the Japanese Emperor shortly over 1000 years ago, nowadays Arima Onsen, which lies deep in the north of the Rokko Mountain range behind Kobe city, is said to be one of the oldest and most attractive onsen town in Japan. In this guide, we’re gonna explore some of the best hot springs, shops, and ways to enjoy this area together.

Fully guided Arima Onsen tour

Arima town 

Nestling quietly in a scenic fall foliage valley of Kobe, Arima Onsen has become the most famous hot spring in Japan since its first time discovered 1300 years ago. In the old days, its unique hot spring makes Arima a place where Emperor and people from upper class frequently visit for detoxing body and hosting grand tea party. The winding hill roads, intricate terrain and numerous historical temples contribute to its quaint atmosphere. In recent years, Arima is a timeless spa resort which attracts thousands of visitors every years especially after the opening of the Kobe port in 1868. People come here not only because of the hot spring but also for dozens of intriguing activities. 

arima onsen

Old architectures in Arima are still preserved till now

Arima hot springs

The origin of Arima Onsen is not volcanic like many other hot spring source in Japan. Rising out of cracks in the underground bedrock from the active Earth’s mantle, the water here contains natural and active ingredients which is good for healing injuries and sickness. People believe that bathing in this spring every week helps improve immunity and natural healing power of human body.

arima onsen

People come to Arima Onsen for hot spring cure

Arima Japan has two different types of water which are golden springs (kinsen) and silver springs (ginsen). Kinsen has a high concentration of iron and salt. Its unique color – golden brown is the result of the oxidation happening when iron molecules contact with the air. The water is said to help moisturize, retain heat and fight against joint and skin disease. Ginsen can be further classified into two types: carbonated springs and radon springs. Carbonated spring is rich in carbonated acid and good for blood circulation. The other, which contains radium, has positive effects in body resistance as well as helps with gout, rheumatism and menopausal disorders. 

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Plan for trip

Now it’s time to make your plan to Arima. Whether it’s for a night out, day trip or weekend away with the family, Arima Japan has a wealth of attractions to inspire you!

When to go

Spring
arima japan

Wherever you come from, whoever you are, you’ll certainly fall in love with Arima in spring

At this time of the year, the whole town, from the two sides of Arima river to the yard of ancient temples or under the valley, will be covered by spring flowers. Cherry blossoms, plums and Someiyoshino combine together to create breathtaking views that will make your trip way more fantastic. 

Summer

If you’re dreaming of escaping from the city fierce heat and refreshing yourself when summer comes, you’d find nowhere else better than Arima. You are normally guaranteed blue-clear sky days and cooler, comfortable nights. Also, summer is the season of Sarasojyu (paired sal trees) and striking festivals which last for months. 

Autumn
arima japan

The color of fall stretches away pass on the park

That the foliage changes into red and the weather gets to be colder at night marks the beginning of autumn in Arima. It would be an engrossing experience to witness the foliage in vibrant colors spreading over every alleys of the town. The Autumn Festival held by local people is another reason that you can’t miss Arima in autumn.

Winter

Winter in Arima features with beautiful white snow completely wrapping up the little town. It does look uniquely spellbinding in the snow with the eye-catching landmarks and houses taking on a postcard-perfect air. Spending New year holiday in Arima would be an ideal choice since there’s gonna have a lot of local ceremonies being organized along with spiritual festivals. 

arima hot springs

Winter is the most beautiful season in Arima

Arima in each season has particular attraction. However, during autumn and winter which is hot spring season, the town would be super crowded. If you want to avoid the worst of the crowds, aim for other time of the year and skip the festivals. 

Bath houses and ryokans

To enjoy the hot spring in Arima, people can come to public bath houses opened by Japanese government or other local ryokans. Typically, hot spring bath charge for adult ranges from 550 to 2600 yen. Following are some highly recommended places to enjoy the healing water.

Kin no Yu

Located in the center of the town, Kin no Yu is opened and run by Kobe City as facility iconic bath house in Arima. Kin no Yu offers tourists the golden spring with two indoor baths of varying temperatures for both genders. Moreover, foot baths and thermal water are free to use outside the bath house.  

arima hot springs

This bath house offers guests most reasonable prices

Prices: 650 yen/adult; 340 yen/child.

Opens: 8am

Closes: 10pm (Closed every 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month)

Website: Arimaspa-kingin.jp

Gin no Yu

Gin no Yu is the second bath house operated by Kobe City in Arima which utilizes silver spring. This bath house has one large bath for each gender, water jets and a sauna are included.

There is a combined voucher which lets you use facilities of both bath houses

Prices: 550 yen/adult; 340 yen/child.

Opens: 9am

Closes: 9pm (Closed every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month)

Website: Arimaspa-kingin.jp

Taiko no Yu

Opened in 2005, Taiko no Yu features as one of the most modern and well-service hot spring facility in town which offers 26 types of baths with both source of mineral water. There are two indoor onsen baths and one sauna under the ground while outdoor onsen baths and individual hot tubs are designed to be an open space upstair. Massage sauna and a chain of food court, shops, rest areas are also served in this ryokan.

Small extra fee will be added up on weekends and holidays

Prices: 2400 yen 

Website: taikounoyu.com

Tocen Goshobo

If you desire of a classic and elegant space, go to Tocen Goshoboh. Established in 1191, Goshoboh has the longest history of any traditional ryokan within Arima Onsen. 

This hotel is decorated in a traditional Japanese style

Tocen Goshoboh has unique open-air bath system while its kin-sen bath is unisex bathing.

Prices: 1575 yen/person

Website: goshoboh.com

Kanpo no Yado Arima

Located on top of the hill and close to Mt Rokko, this facility is touted as highest-quality water source in Arima Onsen which is directly pumped from underground. It’s great that you can combine bathing at this onsen, enjoying local delicacies and sightseeing on the mountain within one day.

Prices: 1692 yen/person

The ryokan has view from the top of a mountain

Transportation 

From Osaka

Direct buses from Osaka (Umeda) Station which are JR Bus and Hankyu Bus will take you 60 mins to get to Arima hot springs. You can also take the JR train from Osaka (Umeda) Station to Sannomiya Station then continue your trip with JR Bus/ Hankyu Bus. This way will buy you a little time. 

From Kyoto

There is direct bus from Kyoto Station to Arima which is 70 mins travelling. You can also move by train but it’s a bit complex: first, from Kyoto station you take the Shinkansen to Shin-Kobe Station, then change into Hokushin Express to Tanigami Station. After that, take Kobe Electric railway Station and get off at Arimaguchi Station. Last, you catch the Kobe Electric railway Arima line and here you go!

If you’re moving from Kobe, take the train from Shin-Kobe Station as guided before or just simply take a taxi and you’ll arrive at Arima within 30mins.

Hotels and Restaurants 

Explore the hot spring within a day is possible but if you intend to visit serene hideaway and enjoy local favorite food, you’d better to book a hotel in advance.

Arima Grand Hotel

1304-1 Arima ,Kita-ku, Kobe

Tel +81-78-904-0181

Arima hot spring has more than 30 hotels, with Arima Grand hotel is the one with the largest campus and offers the most luxurious service. 

Most space in this hotel are open-air

Hashinoya Annex Ransui

1684 Arima, Kita-ku, Kobe

Tel +81-78-904-0825

Being one of the few traditional wooden built Japanese hotel, Ashino Villa Ransui (Ransui) brings the sense of relaxation and tranquility. Traditional dishes including formal Kaiseki cuisine is what you shouldn’t miss when staying here.

It’s wonderful to immense yourself in the mist of the quiet nature of Arima

Motoyu Ryuu Senkaku

1663 Utsugi Dani, Arima, Kita-ku, Kobe

Tel +81-78-904-0901

Uniquely designed including high-quality rooms with open-air views, outdoor pools and  children’s play areas, this hotel caters to the needs of all ages.

This inn has simple but modern decor

Elle Bon

1294-2 Arima-sakae bld 2F, Arima, Kita-ku, Kobe

Tel +81-78-903-0688

Built near the Arima Train Station and serving French cuisine, this restaurant offers an elegant but not too luxurious space, where you can even eat with chopsticks. This place serves seasonal dishes with cooking ingredients sourced from local gardens. 

Parties and banquets up to 35 people can also be held here

Naniwa zushi Maenaka

1298-10 Arima, Kita-ku, Kobe

Tel +81-78-903-0010

If you’re a big fan of sushi, you definitely cannot miss this one. located right in front of Arima Onsen Electric Railway Station, Naniwa zushi Maenaka offers the rich menu involving all types of sushi, also udon and soba.

Japanese hood Inano

808 Arima, Kita-ku, Kobe

Tel +81-78-904-0785

Immerse yourself in the Japanese traditional space and enjoy seasonal dishes, especially the “Japanese Kaiseki” bento box which is prepared meticulously in eye-catching boxes.

Cafes and Shops

Alongside the hilly main street known as Yumotozaka, visitors will find an endless variety of cute coffee shops and souvenir stores. Seek for yourself some handmade folk crafts such as Arima-doll brush, bamboo craft or Arima-basket!

Café De Beau

Looking for a bright and fresh space to enjoy original Arima Onsen sweets and sip a cup of tea? There you are. Cafe de Beau offers you a wide range of items for tea break such as the Arima roll, the tarts and pudding made from black soybeans or Tanba black bean pie. 

Pair your choice with a cup of original black tea and you can relax with an elegant tea break

Tchic Tac

Renovated from a traditional Japanese house, Tchic Tac is a perfect binding of the antiquity and modernity. With its characteristic wooden appearance, you probably wouldn’t realize that this is a cafe if you didn’t know it’s there.

The shop’s interior design is highlighted with wooden accents

Sain Hanaki

About 500 meters from the Onji temple, there is a tiny cafe serving Japanese-style cakes. Wood leaf mitsumame topped with bean jam set and carbonate flakes parfait are said to be must-try items. 

Yoshitaka

Yoshitaka has a history that dates back to more than 100 hundred years ago. This shop provides tourist interesting variety hot spring products such as bath salts, mixture facial soap and so on.

Kirakuya

Located next to the Kobe Electric Railway Arima Onsen Station, this shop features a wide range of original products including ‘Kinsen-zone’ floral hairpins and frog-themed goods. It’s also perfect for those who love Arima’s crafts and arts. You can find for yourself a matching set of male and female doll brushes which are the best souvenirs for a couple.

Conclusion 

If you go to visit Japan one day, you cannot miss checking out Arima Onsen. Hopefully, this blog has provided you with useful and detailed informations. 

Feel free to leave comments or questions below!

About Yuu Sato

Yuu Hiasa has been working in hospitality industry since 2003. In the past, he used to work as a tour guide and now he is running his business of supplying comfortable accommodations in Japan. Thanks to this experience and his passion for writing blog, the articles by him provides awesome tips and things to do when you are traveling in the country of cherry blossoms.