[Western Japan Edition] 5 recommended hot spring towns! Enjoy walking and eating around the hot spring town

This time in the Western Japan edition, we will introduce recommended hot spring towns in Western Japan (Kinki, Chugoku, and Shikoku) from among the many hot spring resorts in Japan. In addition to enjoying the hot springs in a hot spring town, part of the fun is walking around the town and looking at the gourmet food, activities, and souvenirs unique to the area.

In this article, we will mainly introduce places in the hot spring town where you can enjoy eating and walking around.

■Recommended ways to enjoy the hot spring town

In addition to the hot springs, the hot spring town offers gourmet food, an amusement park with shooting games, and outdoor baths.We recommend that you enjoy walking around the town while feeling the retro Japanese atmosphere. Let’s take a leisurely stroll through the hot spring town wearing a yukata.

Gourmet food and food that can only be found in a hot spring town

There are many gourmet foods that you can eat while walking around the hot spring town. Try out the gourmet food that interests you while strolling through the hot spring town.

There are also places in the hot spring town where you can enjoy “onsen tamago”, which are made by soaking eggs in hot springs. The quality of the onsen tamago changes depending on the boiling time, so get some advice from the store staff and locals and try making the tamago to your liking.

Experience playing at a playground

Many hot spring towns have playgrounds with a retro feel, where you can try games called target shooting and smart ball.

Target shooting is a game where you shoot down doll targets and prizes, and if you shoot them down, you will receive a prize. Smart Ball is a type of pinball game where you can exchange prizes based on the number of balls you have.

Anyone can play it easily, so enjoy it with your family and friends.

Walking around town in yukata

Let’s walk around the hot spring town wearing a yukata. In hot spring towns, you can often wear a yukata while walking outside the inn, and some facilities also provide geta and zori sandals.

In addition to inns, yukata can be rented at kimono rental shops in hot spring towns, so please inquire. Walking around the retro-style hot spring town in a yukata is sure to make for a great photo opportunity.

Visit the public baths

In hot spring towns, there are hot springs called “sotoyu.” The communal baths outside are called “sotoyu,” and the indoor baths inside ryokan inns are called “naiyu.”

Some hot spring towns have multiple public baths that can be walked from your accommodation. The outdoor baths are maintained by local people and used on a daily basis, so they are also recommended for those who want to enjoy interacting with the locals.

■5 recommended hot spring towns in western Japan

Let’s take a look at 5 hot spring towns in western Japan where you can enjoy eating out and enjoying outdoor baths. There are many hot spring towns in western Japan where you can enjoy gourmet food and souvenirs that take advantage of the retro atmosphere and local specialties, and are recommended for those who want to take a walk, eat out, and visit public baths.

Visiting 7 public baths is popular! Kinosaki Onsen (Hyogo Prefecture)

Kinosaki Onsen is located in Hyogo Prefecture and is a historic hot spring that celebrated its 1300th anniversary in 2020. The historic townscape of Kinosaki Onsen allows you to feel the atmosphere of each season. Please wear a yukata and enjoy walking around the city.

In addition, Kinosaki Onsen has seven public baths with different histories and characteristics, and visiting the public baths is a popular way to enjoy the area. The outdoor bath is also used by local people, so you can enjoy interacting with them.

You can check how crowded the public baths are, so please refer to this when visiting the public baths.

In addition, Kinosaki Onsen has a variety of gourmet foods and souvenirs to buy. In particular, there is a wide range of gourmet food to enjoy while walking, and you can enjoy Wagyu steak skewers, pudding, Kinosaki vinegar, and more.

At the Onsen Tamagoba, you can purchase eggs from Kinosaki Gelato Cafe Chaya and try making your own hot spring eggs, so please stop by.

Japan’s oldest hot spring! Arima Onsen (Hyogo Prefecture)

Arima Onsen in Hyogo Prefecture is said to be the oldest hot spring in Japan, and is famous for being a hot spring used by the Japanese military commander Toyotomi Hideyoshi. There are many sightseeing spots related to Toyotomi Hideyoshi, so this hot spring town is especially recommended for those who are interested in Japanese history and military commanders.

Yumotozaka, the main street of Arima Onsen Town, is lined with buildings that retain the atmosphere of the past, souvenir shops, and gourmet restaurants. The beautiful red bridge called “Nene Bridge” in the center of the city is popular with tourists as a photo spot.

Arima Onsen Town is also home to Hyogo Prefecture’s only geisha shop, “Geisha Cafe Ito,” where you can enjoy geisha dances without reservations on Saturdays and Sundays only from 12:00 to 14:00. Private plans where you can experience tatami play are also popular. (Reservations are required for private plans.)

In addition, you can take a walk around the hot spring town dressed as a geisha in the “Geisha Transformation Experience,” where a working geisha will do your make-up and dress you. The Geisha transformation experience is limited to 4 people per day, so if you wish to experience it, please make a reservation in advance.

We recommend the sand bath, which is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year! Yubara Onsen (Okayama Prefecture)

Yubara Onsen in Okayama Prefecture has an open-air bath called “Sunayu”. Sunayu is a mixed bathing bath that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and you can enjoy the hot spring while looking up at the Yubara Dam embankment and feeling the nature.

Yubara Onsen is a hot spring town that is recommended for both adults and children, as you can experience shooting at the playground and watching top making. In Yubara, Japan’s natural monument, the giant salamander, is called “Hanzaki,” and there are events and sightseeing spots related to Hanzaki. You can observe Hanzaki flowers at the Hanzaki Center, so be sure to stop by when you visit Yubara Onsen.

You can also enjoy slipper table tennis, where you use slippers instead of a table tennis racket, at the Yubara Onsen Museum, which has information on tourist attractions and rest areas. We also recommend shops where you can eat bread and sweets while soaking in a footbath.

Various events are held every season! Misasa Onsen (Tottori Prefecture)

Misasa Onsen in Tottori Prefecture is a hot spring area that was selected as a “Japan Heritage” in 2015. The hot spring town has a Showa-era atmosphere and is lined with restaurants, playgrounds, candy shops, and more, giving you a slightly different feeling from modern Japan.

The “Yunomachi Gallery”, which displays various exhibits at approximately 18 inns and shops in Misasa Onsen Town, is a recommended walking point where you can see items related to Misasa and the items that the shop owners are particular about. When strolling through Misasa Onsen Town, be sure to enjoy a tour of the Yunomachi Gallery.

The symbol of Misasa Onsen is the mixed open-air bath called Kawaraburo, which is available for free 24 hours a day throughout the year, except during morning cleaning hours on odd-numbered days.

At Misasa Onsen, various events are held every season, such as the “Washi Lantern Festival” in spring and autumn, the “Fireworks Festival” in the summer, and the “Hina Doll Tour” in the winter, making it a hot spring town that you will want to visit again and again.

A rich variety of gourmet food! Dogo Onsen (Ehime Prefecture)

Dogo Onsen in Ehime Prefecture is home to many gourmet foods that are unique to Ehime, such as “Botchan Dango”, which was introduced in a novel by Natsume Soseki, and “Mikan Onigiri”, which uses local specialty mandarin oranges.

The Dogo shopping street that stretches from in front of Dogo Onsen Station to in front of Dogo Onsen Honkan is affectionately known as “Dogo High Color Street,” and you can stroll around wearing a yukata. At night, the entrance gate is lit up, giving you a retro atmosphere unique to a hot spring town that is different from the daytime.

In addition, Dogo Onsen is holding a stamp rally called “Dogo Village Tour,” and if you collect all the stamps and take them to the Dogo Onsen Tourist Information Center, you can receive bathing tickets and souvenirs.

Stamps are available at 30 locations in the suburbs and suburbs, and there is no expiration date, so you can gradually advance while enjoying sightseeing in the surrounding area. Please give it a try.

■Summary of recommended hot spring towns in western Japan

In addition to taking a bath, one of the fun things to do in a hot spring town is to wear a yukata and walk around the town.

You can feel like you’ve traveled back in time as you look at the historic cityscape and play retro games at the playground.

In addition, visiting the outdoor baths in the hot spring town and eating gourmet food that can only be eaten there using local specialties is also essential to enjoying the hot spring town. Let’s visit a historic hot spring town in western Japan.


Q. What can I enjoy other than bathing in the hot spring town?

A.In the hot spring town, you can enjoy eating out and enjoying the public baths. Many hot spring towns allow you to walk around wearing a yukata. Enjoy gourmet food and experience old Japanese games while looking at the retro streets of the hot spring town.

Q.What is the public bath tour?

A. Sotoyu is a public bath located outside the inn. Although the hot springs vary by town, there are a variety of public baths within walking distance, so be sure to stop by while strolling around. There are also many locals who use the service, so it would be a good idea to talk to them and get to know them better.