Kinosaki Travel Guide

Plan your next trip with this comprehensive guide to Kinosaki, Japan, including top attractions, hiking and biking routes, food and drink options, accommodation, local culture and customs, transportation options, and nearby destinations.

Introduction to Kinosaki

Located in the Hyogo prefecture in Japan, Kinosaki is a popular tourist destination known for its natural hot springs, rich culture, and beautiful scenery. Its history dates back to the Edo period, where it became known as a resting place for travelers along the route from Kyoto to Edo. Today, Kinosaki draws thousands of visitors each year, who come to soak in the town’s seven public hot springs or explore the area’s historical and cultural attractions.

List of Places to Visit in Kinosaki

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

  • Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway: With breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and coastline, the Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway is a must-visit attraction. At the top of the ropeway, visitors can enjoy scenic hiking trails or a beautiful view of Kinosaki from the observatory deck.
  • Kinosaki History Museum: This museum provides an insight into the town’s cultural and historical heritage, with exhibits showcasing traditional clothing and local crafts, as well as items from the Edo period.
  • Gokurakuji Temple: Dating back to the year 807, this Zen temple is one of the oldest in the region, featuring a beautiful Japanese garden and a statue of Fudo Myoo, the god of wisdom and fire.
  • Kinosaki Marine World: This large aquarium provides a glimpse into the undersea world, featuring dolphins, sharks, sea turtles, and local fish.

Natural Attractions of Kinosaki: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

  • Genbudo Park: Located on the outskirts of Kinosaki, Genbudo Park is famous for its volcanic rock formations, the result of ancient lava flows that created tunnels and caves.
  • Mount Daishi: With a summit height of 957 meters, this mountain offers stunning views of the surrounding area and is a popular destination for hikers and nature lovers.
  • Mikata Five Lakes: Located a short drive from Kinosaki, these five lakes are an excellent spot for fishing, hiking, or a picnic.
  • Kinosaki Coast: This scenic stretch of coastline is home to beautiful white sand beaches, rugged cliffs, and crystal-clear waters, and is an excellent spot for water activities like swimming, surfing, and boating.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Kinosaki

  • Mount Taishi Trail: This hiking trail is well-marked and features beautiful forest scenery, waterfalls, and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and coastline. The hike takes approximately four hours, and it’s recommended to wear sturdy hiking boots and bring water and sunscreen.
  • Kinosaki Coastal Trail: This trail takes visitors along the scenic coast, featuring stunning views of the sea and many small beaches.
  • Kinosaki Cycling Route: This bike route takes visitors along the scenic coast and through quaint seaside towns, with the option to rent a bike from local vendors.

Best Things to Do in Kinosaki: Activities and Tours

  • Visit the hot springs: Kinosaki’s hot springs are famous worldwide and are the main attraction for visitors to the area. Be sure to visit all seven public hot springs, including Ichinoyu, Mandarayu, and Goshonoyu, each with its unique features and charm.
  • Attend a traditional Japanese tea ceremony: A tea ceremony is an excellent way to experience local customs and traditions, with many tea houses located throughout Kinosaki.
  • Try a traditional Kaiseki meal: This traditional Japanese meal is a multi-course feast, featuring local delicacies and fresh seafood. Many restaurants in Kinosaki offer Kaiseki meals, with some located in traditional Japanese inns or Ryokans.
  • Take a night-time stroll: Kinosaki is stunningly beautiful at night, with traditional lantern-lit streets and a magical atmosphere.

Week-Long Itinerary for Kinosaki

Day Itinerary
1 Visit the hot springs
2 Explore Gokurakuji Temple and the Kinosaki History Museum
3 Take a hike up Mount Taishi
4 Visit the Mikata Five Lakes and enjoy a picnic
5 Attend a traditional Japanese tea ceremony in the afternoon and try a Kaiseki meal for dinner
6 Rent a bike and cycle the Kinosaki Cycling Route
7 Take a night-time stroll through Kinosaki’s lantern-lit streets

Food and Drink Scene of Kinosaki

Must-Try Dishes

  • Tajima Beef: This local beef is famed for its quality and flavor, with many top-class restaurants in Kinosaki serving it in a variety of dishes.
  • Matsuba Crab: Known for its sweet and tender meat, Matsuba crab is a local delicacy that is typically served in the winter months when the crabs are in season.
  • Izushi Soba: These hand-cut, thin noodles are a local specialty, served in a hot broth with meat and vegetables, or cold with a dipping sauce.

Local Beverages

  • Sake: Kinosaki is home to several sake breweries, producing a variety of quality sake that can be enjoyed at local izakayas or sake bars.
  • Green Tea: Near Kinosaki, the town of Toyooka produces some of the highest quality green tea in Japan, available for purchase throughout Kinosaki and at local tea houses.

Where to Stay in Kinosaki: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

  • Kinosaki Onsen Ryokan: Located in the heart of Kinosaki, this traditional Ryokan features cozy rooms with private hot spring baths and delicious Kaiseki meals.
  • Nishimuraya Honkan: This historic Ryokan has been in operation since the Edo period, featuring traditional architecture, pristine gardens, and top-class amenities.
  • Tsukimotoya Ryokan: This affordable Ryokan features traditional tatami rooms, Japanese futons, and access to both public and private hot springs.

What to Buy in Kinosaki: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

  • Kinosaki Onsen Manju: These small, steamed buns are filled with sweet red bean paste and are a local specialty that make an excellent souvenir.
  • Toyooka Handwoven Goods: Nearby Toyooka is known for its handwoven goods, including tablecloths, blankets, and clothing, that make for a unique and quality souvenir.
  • Kinosaki Nuri Lacquerware: This colorful lacquerware is hand-painted in Kinosaki and makes for a stunning and functional souvenir.

Local Culture and Customs of Kinosaki

  • Greeting the locals: In Kinosaki, it’s customary to greet others with a polite nod or bow, especially when visiting local shops or restaurants.
  • Removing shoes: When entering a Ryokan, it’s customary to remove your shoes at the entrance and wear slippers provided by the Ryokan.
  • Using hot springs: When using a public hot spring, it’s customary to wash your body before entering the bath and to keep towels and clothing outside the bath area.

Best Time to Visit Kinosaki

The best time to visit Kinosaki is during the spring (March to May) or fall (September to November) when the weather is mild, and the scenery is stunning. In the winter (December to February), the town receives a heavy snowfall, with many visitors coming to enjoy the winter sports and snowscapes. In the summer (June to August), the weather is hot and often humid, with many visitors coming to enjoy the beaches and water activities.

Do’s and Don’ts of Kinosaki


  • Try the local cuisine, including Tajima Beef, Matsuba Crab, and Izushi Soba.
  • Take a nighttime stroll through Kinosaki’s lantern-lit streets.
  • Visit all seven public hot springs.
  • Attend a traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
  • Follow local customs and remove shoes when entering buildings.


  • Wear shoes indoors.
  • Use a hot spring without washing your body first.
  • Engage in loud or disruptive behavior in public.

Safety and Health

Safety in Kinosaki

Kinosaki is a safe town with low crime rates. However, visitors should be aware of potential hazards when hiking or engaging in outdoor activities and be sure to bring proper gear.

Health in Kinosaki

Kinosaki is home to several medical facilities, including a hospital and several clinics. Visitors should be sure to bring personal medications and adequate travel insurance.

Getting to Kinosaki: Transportation Options and Logistics

Airports Near Kinosaki

  • Osaka International Airport (Itami Airport): Located about two hours by car from Kinosaki.
  • Kansai International Airport: Located about three hours by car from Kinosaki.

Bus Stations Near Kinosaki

  • JR Kinosaki Onsen Station: Located in the center of town, the station is serviced by local and express trains.
  • Kinosaki Onsen bus stop: Serviced by local bus routes.

Other Options

  • Taxi: Taxis are readily available throughout Kinosaki but can be expensive for longer distances.
  • Rental car: Rental cars are available at major airports and in Kinosaki, but visitors should be aware that driving in Japan can be challenging for those not familiar with the road network or use of local driving etiquette.

How to Get Around in Kinosaki

Walking is the most convenient and enjoyable way to explore Kinosaki’s town center, with many attractions located within walking distance of each other. Bicycles can also be rented from local vendors and are an excellent way to explore the coastal area and outskirts of town. For longer distances, taxis or rental cars are recommended.

Where to Go Next from Kinosaki: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

  • Kyoto: Japan’s famed cultural capital is located about two hours by car or train from Kinosaki.
  • Hyogo Prefecture: Located adjacent to Kinosaki, Hyogo prefecture features many outdoor activities, including hiking, skiing, and hot springs.
  • Kobe: This port city is located about two hours from Kinosaki by car or train and features many attractions, including the famous Sannomiya shopping district and the Kobe Nunobiki Herb gardens.


Kinosaki is a beautiful and charming town with much to offer visitors, from its impressive hot springs to its beautiful natural scenery and rich cultural heritage. Whether you’re visiting for a night or a week, there is something for everyone in this gem of Japan’s Hyogo prefecture.