The spa resort of Kinosaki, poised between tradition, harmony and delight

Tucked away on the north coast of the prefecture, between wooded mountains, rivers and splendid beaches, Kinosaki appeals by its incredible tranquillity, well-preserved architectural heritage and the diversity of activities on offer. Relaxing in some of the country’s most famous spas is a truly unforgettable experience.

The charm of a traditional village

The quintessence of rural, tranquil Japan, Kinosaki is very dear to the hearts of the Japanese who come here to flee their frantic urban lifestyles. A series of small bridges span the River Ozumi, lined by cherry trees and weeping willows, lending it a vague resemblance with Venice. A staircase winds its way through the forest and up to an observation platform at the summit of Mount Daishi and to the Onsen-ji Temple and Kinosaki Art Museum. The view from the village is truly delightful over the River Maruyama and the coast of the Sea of Japan. Just a 10-minute bicycle ride from the centre, the white sand and crystal water of Takeno beach are ideal for swimming and relaxing.


The spa experience

The “sotoyu meguri” or seven hot springs of Kinosaki Onsen can be “done” methodically right as you leave the railway station with a day pass that offers unlimited access to all the establishments. It is far more pleasant however to simply wander around the streets and pay a visit to an onsen in the spirit of a quest for relaxation. The appeals of the onsen range from the scent of grass, the sound of a waterfall, the lure of healing waters, an immense cypress bathtub, a sulphur bath, an outdoor stone tub set in a zen garden or an individual steam bath and sauna…


A delicious atmosphere

This spa town has been carefully preserved and only modest family-owned stalls add life and colour to the streets devoid of pavements. In keeping with tradition, visitors, donned in simple colourful yukata (cotton kimonos), amble down the streets of the small town each evening. They go shopping, out to restaurants or simply walk around soaking up the atmosphere and admiring landscape. The pleasure of walking down the softly lit streets which resound to the melodious and distinctive clip-clop of their wooden geta sandals is indescribable.


The author

Manuel Sanchez

Writer and photographer who seeks out contacts, other cultural identities, distinctive architectures. As a seasoned traveller, my approach has been honed little by little, from insider hacks to in-depth explorations. I especially love early travel writers, for their detail and their feeling for the sanctity and inviolability of the cultures they describe.

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