Arima Onsen: visiting the historic onsen loved by feudal lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi in Kansai
Located in Kobe City, Hyogo Prefecture, Arima Onsen is a historic onsen town attracting not only the locals but also onsen fans throughout the nation. As it takes about 1 hour by shuttle bus from Osaka and Kyoto, the onsen is conveniently located for both overnight and day trips.
The onsen town, surrounded by three mountains of Arima, has drop-in bathing facilities here and there. The streetscape has such abundant nature and quiet surroundings that you will not believe it is close to the urban area. You can heal yourself in this quaint atmosphere.
There are two types of spring water at Arima Onsen, including “Kinsen” (gold spring) containing iron and salt and “Ginsen” (silver spring) containing carbonic acid. These onsen contain as many as seven components, such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen carbonate, which is rare in the world. Such a rare kind of onsen with multiple components is effective in curing diseases and improving natural healing ability, and has been serving people as a place for spa therapy for a long time.
The onsen town has many Japanese-style cafes and souvenir shops, where you can find Arima’s specialties, such as “Tansan Senbei,” nationally famous crackers by Yunohanado Honpo, “Arima cider,” and “Arima kago” a bamboo basket.
In addition to onsen facilities, this area also has some other sightseeing spots, including Tosen-jinja Shrine, which enshrines the deity which is said to be the first one to find the onsen, Zuihoji Park, which Toyotomi Hideyoshi (a feudal lord, 1537–1598) often visited, and Nenbutsuji Temple with a beautiful garden.
During its long history, Arima Onsen has been keeping tradition and culture alive, including “Arima geiko (geisha),” who protect traditional geisha culture. Appreciating a lovely dance and traditional performances by Arima geiko is a smart way to enjoy yourself.
Arima Onsen has an especially long history in Japan. It is obvious that it has been regarded as a great onsen due to the fact that the name of Arima Onsen appears in “Nihon Shoki,” the oldest existing official history book, and “Makura no Soshi” (The Pillow Book), an essay by Sei Shonagon (a female author and court lady, c. 966 – 1017 or 1025). It is said that during the age of provincial wars Hideyoshi put an effort into its reconstruction as a resort for soothing fatigue and healing wounds from the wars. Enjoy the traditional onsen beloved by people from ancient times for yourself.
Tokyo Sta. -> 150 min by Tokaido Shinkansen -> Shin-Osaka Sta. -> 6 min by Osaka Metro Midosuji Line -> Umeda Sta. -> 60 min by expressway bus -> Arima Onsen
Arima Hot Springs Tourism Association
*The information herein is as of April 2021.