Day trip to Arima Onsen, Japan

Posted on September 26, 2017

Arima Onsen (有馬温泉) is a famous hot spring town within the city limits of Kobe. The town lies in a natural mountain setting, yet is close enough for Kobe and Osaka residents as an easy and popular day trip or weekend getaway.

Due to its compact size, the small town can be explored entirely on foot, and there are several hot spring sources, nice temples and shrines to be discovered.

With a history of over one thousand years, Arima Onsen is considered one of Japan’s oldest hot spring resorts and has often stood at or near the top of onsen rankings for Western Japan. The town has two types of hot spring waters which spring up at various sources around town: the Kinsen (“gold water”) is colored brown with iron deposits and is said to be good for skin ailments and muscle pain, while the clear Ginsen (“silver water”) contains radium and carbonate and is said to cure various muscle and joint ailments.

Visitors to Arima Onsen can enjoy hot spring bathing at two public bath houses or at the town’s many ryokan. Several ryokan open their baths also to non-staying visitors during the day.

Public bath houses

You can visit both for a combo price of 850 yen.

Kin no Yu (Gold Bath, 金の湯) has nice, hot rusty ochre water due to a high concentration of iron and other minerals. They have a second pool with clear water. Free foot soak in front of the building.

Open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Closed 2nd and 4th Tues each month (Wed if Tues is a holiday). Go to the tourist centre for a 20% off coupon on the 650 yen admission.

Gin no Yu (Silver Bath, 銀の湯) has water of a more unusual type: Radium. Locals swear by the healing powers but decide for yourself whether you’re up for self-dosing with radiation therapy. It has one large indoor bath for each gender, featuring the clear, “silver” water. Open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Closed 1st and 3rd Tues each month. 550 yen

Ryokan (traditional Japanese sleeping accomodations)

Taikou no Yu is one of the best in Arima Onsen. Inside a hotel, this is a large modern hot spring facility, featuring a wide variety of indoor and outdoor baths filled with both of Arima’s waters. It includes a replica of a historic bath found at the onsen museum, large pots and fragrant saunas. In addition, there are massage services, restaurants, shops and rest areas. Open 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Admission is 2400 yen (2,600 yen on weekends and during holidays).

Goshobo is one of Arima’s oldest ryokan with golden hot spring water. Bath admission is 1,620 yen (overnight stay is 20,000 yen per person including 2 meals)

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