Table of Contents
It was quite a research to find out how to get to Arima Onsen but finally we did it when we realised it is quite easy to get to Arima Onsen directly from Kobe and from Arima Onsen back to Osaka (without getting back to Kobe) ! So it was our day trip from Kobe to Arima Onsen and then back to Osaka in the evening so that we can continue our holiday in Osaka and Kyoto (such as a visit to Arashiyama Bamboo Forest) and Nara !
About Arima Onsen
Arima Onsen is a famous hot spring (onsen) resort located in the city of Kobe, in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan. It is one of the oldest and most renowned hot spring destinations in Japan, with a history dating back over a thousand years.
- Hot Springs: Arima Onsen is renowned for its two types of thermal spring waters, each with unique properties. The “Kinsen” (golden hot spring) is known for its reddish-brown water rich in iron and salt, while the “Ginsen” (silver hot spring) has clear, colorless water with radium and carbonate. These waters are believed to have various health benefits, and visitors can enjoy soaking in them at the numerous public bathhouses and ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) in the area.
- Historical Significance: Arima Onsen has a long and storied history. It’s said to have been discovered over a millennium ago during the Nara period (710-794). It has been frequented by emperors, samurai, and nobility throughout its history, and it is often mentioned in Japanese literature and folklore.
- Ryokans: Arima Onsen is known for its traditional Japanese inns called ryokans. These establishments offer a unique and authentic Japanese experience, complete with tatami mat rooms, futon bedding, and kaiseki cuisine. Staying at a ryokan allows you to fully immerse yourself in the onsen culture.
- Scenic Surroundings: The town of Arima Onsen is nestled in a picturesque natural setting, surrounded by lush forests and mountains. The scenic beauty enhances the overall experience of visiting the onsen.
- Arima Toy Museum: If you’re interested in Japanese culture and history, you can visit the Arima Toy Museum. It features a collection of vintage Japanese toys and dolls, providing insights into traditional Japanese playthings.
- Local Cuisine: Arima Onsen is also known for its local cuisine, which often includes dishes featuring locally grown seasonal ingredients. Don’t miss the opportunity to try “Kinsen-nabe,” a hot pot dish prepared using the hot spring water.
- Seasonal Activities: Depending on the time of year, you can also enjoy seasonal activities such as cherry blossom viewing in spring or the vibrant colors of fall foliage in autumn.
- Accessibility: Arima Onsen is easily accessible from Kobe and Osaka. It’s a popular day trip destination for people living in these cities, but it’s recommended to stay overnight to fully enjoy the onsen experience.
Buying Bus Tickets to Arima Onsen
Staying at the ANA Crowne Plaza Kobe (which is at Shin Kobe station) makes it very easy to get to Arima Onsen. Just get yourself to the lowest level of the Shin Kobe station.
This is also where you can got to the Nunobiki Falls discussed in the previous article.
But it is at this place that you can find the bus tickets machines to buy tickets to Arima Onsen. The bus ticket machines are in Japanese and English and allowed you to buy tickets to Arima Onsen and even back from Arima Onsen to Shin Kobe station.
For us, we only bought the tickets TO Arima Onsen and we then bought the tickets back to Osaka at Arima Onsen itself.
Here’s a video showing the process of the purchasing of the bus tickets !
Taking the Bus from Shin Kobe Station to Arima Onsen
At the same floor where you purchased the bus tickets, you will turn left at the doors (in the picture above) and you can see the bus stops for Arima Onsen (bus stop 2).
And the bus arrived !!
You can see the Arima Onsen name on the side of the bus so you will be fine.
Taking a bus will then arrive at Hankyu Bus Terminal at Arima Onsen.
You can see from this Google Map of where the Bus Terminal is (Top Left) corner. You then walk into the area of “Arima Onsen” where there are many food, ryokans and of course Onsen. We will cover just 3 places for our day trip (once again, you should do an overnight stay ?).
I would suggest BEFORE walking INTO the Arima Onsen area to go INTO the bus terminal to buy the return tickets from the machine or even the counter.
We bought our tickets from Arima Onsen back to Shin Osaka where we stayed at Marriott Courtyard at Shin Osaka.
There are lockers at the Hankyu Bus Terminal too so that you can keep your luggages and then enjoy your day at Arima Onsen.
You will take the buses OUT of Arima Onsen area from these bus bays right next to the bus terminal building.
Tenjin Sengen : The source of Arima Onsen Hot Springs
The source of Arima Onsen hot sprints is called Tenjin Sengen, where hot spring water at 99 C comes up from 200 meters underground.A faint smell like sulfur wafts in the air as one passes through the torii of Arima Tenjin Shrine, the grounds of which are home to a source for the nearby Arima Onsen hot spring resort in Kobe.
And off to the two famous Kinsen and Ginsen hot springs in Arima Onsen. The tickets to both hot springs can be purchased together for a discount too !
The two famous Kinsen and Ginsen hot springs in Arima Onsen
Kinsen and Ginsen are two distinct types of hot springs in Arima Onsen, each with its unique properties and purported health benefits.
Kinsen (金泉 – Golden Hot Spring):
- Water Characteristics: Kinsen is characterized by its reddish-brown, rust-like appearance, which is due to its high iron and salt content. The water also contains radium and hydrogen sulfide.
- Health Benefits: The iron-rich waters of Kinsen are believed to have therapeutic properties and are often associated with benefits for the skin, including improving its texture and treating various skin conditions. The high salt content can help with muscle relaxation and overall relaxation.
- Effect on the Body: Bathing in Kinsen is said to promote blood circulation and relieve fatigue. Some people visit Kinsen for its potential anti-aging effects and its ability to soothe joint and muscle pain.
- Experience: There are several ryokans and public bathhouses in Arima Onsen that offer Kinsen baths. The bathing experience in Kinsen can vary from place to place, with some establishments having both indoor and outdoor Kinsen baths.
Ginsen (銀泉 – Silver Hot Spring):
- Water Characteristics: Ginsen, in contrast to Kinsen, has clear, colorless water. It contains radium and carbonate.
- Health Benefits: The radium content in Ginsen is believed to have potential therapeutic effects, including improving blood circulation and relieving muscle and joint pain. The carbonate in the water may contribute to a feeling of refreshment and relaxation.
- Effect on the Body: Ginsen is often associated with stress relief and relaxation. The water’s clarity and lack of color make it visually distinctive from Kinsen.
- Experience: Similar to Kinsen, you can find Ginsen baths in various ryokans and public bathhouses in Arima Onsen. Some establishments offer both Kinsen and Ginsen baths, allowing visitors to experience both types of hot spring water.
Visitors to Arima Onsen often enjoy trying both Kinsen and Ginsen baths to compare the two and see which one they prefer. Keep in mind that Arima Onsen’s unique mineral-rich waters are not only for relaxation but also for experiencing the cultural and therapeutic aspects of Japanese onsen traditions. Whether you choose Kinsen or Ginsen, you’re sure to have a soothing and rejuvenating experience in this historic hot spring town.
Kin no Yu hot spring
The closest hot sprint at the “entrance” to Arima Onsen (if you are coming from the bus terminal) is the Kinsen or Kin no Yu hot spring. It looks so grand as you set your eyes on it for the first time.
You don’t even need to go in as they have free hot spring to put your legs into the hot water 🙂
But we did go in. As photos are NOT allowed inside the hot springs, there will be no such photos 🙂
Of course there are lockers inside the hot spring before you go in NAKED into the hot springs itself 🙂
After you enjoyed the Kin no Yu Hot Spring, you will want to go to the SILVER ONE. That is the Gin no Yu hot spring.
From this photo you can see that you can walk up the slope and walk a little distance to the Gin no Yu hot spring. That’s the one on the TOP LEFT corner of this map.
Gin no Yu hot spring
This is the entrance to the Gin no Yu hot spring. Blue for this one.
Nice right 🙂
Some photos inside the changing room 🙂
Conclusion : Arima Onsen To Visit or Not To Visit
Absolutely visit ! It is fun to have hot springs onsen as part of your trip to Kobe area. And it is pretty easy to go from Shin Kobe and then back to Osaka or Kobe, depending on your plans.