Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen {Japan Travel}

March 13, 2017

Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)

“Can I wrap myself with a towel?” I thought to myself.

When I said this out loud in my head, naked women strolled by me in the pubic shower. I peeped over as they walk, trying not to look like a creep. But, I realized I'm only allowed to bring a face cloth with me before heading out to the Japanese hot springs. I returned awkwardly into the ladies’ room and shuck off my last bit of security.

Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)

Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)
Japanese bath hopping in their beautiful yukatas in Kinosaki Onsen

Hot Spring Resort Town – Kinosaki Onsen

Kinosaki Onsen was a popular hot spring sanctuary where we got our first dip at this bathing culture in Japan. As part of our honeymoon trip, I wanted Will and I to get pampered and relaxed. The trip to the town took about 3 hours via the bullet train (one of the fastest trains in the world!) from Osaka Station. The train ride although long, was the most comfortable ever. Not only that the train was fast, smooth and spacious, the view was amazing to look at!

Japanese love their natural hot springs for a lot of good reasons. They claimed that the water was magical! The natural minerals in the water could cure a lot of health issues such as stiff muscles and pain, improve digestive problems and soften skins! Hence, many locals love spending their time here as a relaxation getaway.

Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)

Superior Service and Suite at Yuraku Kinosaki Spa & Gardens

We arrived on a quiet Thursday afternoon. And that meant fewer people to photobomb our pictures at this beautiful town! We grabbed some quick bites in the old-fashioned looking town just before checking in at our Ryokan – traditional Japanese inn with woven straw mat (known as tatami).

We felt a phenomenal customer service as soon as we entered Yuraku Kinosaki Spa & Gardens. Besides having a shuttle bus to pick us up from and to the train station, their concierge lady also knew how to speak in Chinese! And that wasn't just it. The bell boy escorted us to take the elevators up to our room while he ran 3 floors with all of our heavy loaded bags. Yet, he still managed to appear in front of us before the doors opened! All without breaking a single sweat! I always knew Japanese perform one of the top customer services but this just had us blown away!

Let’s talk about the room! I should call it a suite because it was huge, equipped with two private toilets, a great size dining area and a living room that you could section off with a sliding door! As a kid, I was always into these traditional tatami rooms. I got to sleep on a thin mattress (futon) on the tatami floor and rolled around like a baby. And the best part of the room? Definitely the balcony looking out to the exquisite garden view!

Yuraku Kinosaki Spa & Garden - Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)

Yuraku Kinosaki Spa & Garden - Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)Yuraku Kinosaki Spa & Garden - Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)
Every visitor must change into their Yukatas provided by their Ryokans before heading out to the hot springs

Bath Hopping to 7 Public Hot Springs!

With our stay at any Ryokan in Kinosaki Onsen, we also got a free pass to sample all 7 other public hot springs. I was beyond excited because bath hopping was a must-do activity in this famous hot spring resort town!

We got into our Yukata (Japanese style bath rope) and wooden clogs provided by our Ryokan and began our first bath hopping experience.  Thankfully, both men and women were separated in the hot springs. Hubby was smart enough to do his homework about its etiquette before coming here. Whereas, I thought I'd just take it as it comes.

I got into the change room. I saw ladies of all sizes stripped down to nada and showered beside each other in the bath area! I was astonished. I crept into a side corner where I sat on a stool and started lather myself with soap like all others. Everybody was supposed to shower and rinse before entering the hot spring. But I felt uncomfortable being naked around people I didn't know. But, nobody else seemed to care of my existence. I tossed a bucket of cold water over my head to rinse free of soap. I imitated others cautiously, and returned the stool to its original state as soon as I was done.

Outdoor hot spring of Yuraku Kinosaki Spa & Garden
Outdoor hot spring of Yuraku Kinosaki Spa & Garden

I entered into my first outdoor hot spring and sat among all other naked bodies. The hot spring was built by natural stones and surrounded by greenery. I could even hear crickets chirping too! An experience very down to earth and soothing. To be honest, I was a little taken aback by the blatant nakedness at first. I didn’t know where to lay eyes on. But after soaking in and absorbing the goodness of nature, I felt relaxed and could care less about these strangers. I won’t be seeing them again anyway. Each natural hot spring offered a unique setting and atmosphere so I was glad that we got to try all them out.

Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)

Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)

Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)
The streets were filled with the clopping sound of these wooden clogs

14-Course Mega Feast in Our Room

Besides, bath hopping and strolling around town in wooden clogs, the feast provided by our Ryokan was a true definition of fine-dining! Our room reservation included dinner and breakfast. So, we didn’t have to worry about food during the duration of our stay at all.

The hostess set up the tables inside our room at the time we requested for each meal. And she laid out each course like a piece of art! The dining table was filled with so many dishes that she had to come back to serve us a second round! Even though, we had as many as 14 courses, the truth was some of the portions were meant to be bite-size or "fine-dining portion".

The highlight of our meal was definitely the giant crab legs and the tender Tajima beef served in two ways (grilled steak and shabu shabu)!!! I'm still thinking about them as I write this post. So delicious!

14-course Dinner in Yuraku Kinosaki Spa & Garden - Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)

Dinner in Yuraku Kinosaki Spa & Garden - Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)

Dinner in Yuraku Kinosaki Spa & Garden - Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel) Abalone!
Breakfast in Yuraku Kinosaki Spa & Garden - Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)Breakfast in room the next morning!

Private Open-Air Flower Bath as a Newlywed

As far as enjoying new experiences go, I still wanted us to enjoy an intimate time together. And since men and women were separated in the pubic hot springs, we couldn't enjoy them together as a newlywed.

Good thing about our Ryokan was that they offered 3 different private open-air baths on-site. Each with a different theme such as a flower bath, apple bath and an orange bath. Sounds exotic, right? As soon as I knew about the flower bath option, I didn't have a second thought of other themes. The entire bath was dimmed lit and filled with subtle floral scent. We brought in some Japanese wine and indulged in the most authentic pampering.

Private open-air flower bath at Yuraku Kinosaki Spa & Garden - Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)Private open-air flower bath at Yuraku Kinosaki Spa & Garden - Hot Springs of a Lifetime in Kinosaki Onsen (Japan Travel)

Click here to book the same hotel and get $25

Now that I’m writing this post, it makes me want to go back! Bathing in public does take courage and willingness to push personal boundaries. But, I always enjoy experiencing local culture despite if that means I had to put myself out there. The hot spring tradition is a huge part of the Japanese culture. I could not miss this chance at all after so many visits to Japan! I encourage you all to try out the Japanese hot springs when you visit Japan. A lifetime experience you'd never forget.

Learn more about Japanese hot springs etiquette:

  1. Remove and leave your shoes at the entrance before entering the hot spring. The front of the shoes must be facing the entrance so remember to turn them over.
  2. Enter the correct change room (females change room have red curtains, males room have blue curtains)
  3. Take off your clothes completely and store them in the locker. No bathing suit allowed.
  4. Bring only the face cloth with you to the hot spring. Leave the large towel in the locker.
  5. You must shower and rinse free of soap before entering the hot spring.
  6. Most baths provide a small stool and a bucket in the shower area, it's a courtesy to return the stool and bucket to its original form after you're done.
  7. Do not let the face cloth touch the water in the hot spring. You could put it on your head or let it sit outside of the hot spring.
  8. Of course, do not peek through partitions to see other gender's bathing area
  9. Be respectful of noises you make in the hot spring especially when having a conversation to keep volume down.
  10. You must wipe off excess water before re-entering the locker room.
  11. Photography is not allowed.
  12. Tattoos are not allowed.

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  1. Oh wow, I feel relaxed just having read about this and seeing your beautiful photos. It really does sound like a lovely experience :) Thanks for linking up with us, happy to have found your blog!

  2. I love the idea of bath hopping! Sounds really relaxing and freeing, even if a little awkward at the start..

    1. Yes indeed! I'm not sure if it's more awkward to do with people you know or people you don't know...

  3. What an incredible experience to have on your honeymoon! You look beautiful and relaxed and your sushi feast has made me very hungry. I am so glad I dont have any tattoos! Imagine missing out because of that! Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    1. aww Thanks Katyc! I have friends who wanted to try the hot springs in Japan but weren't able to for that reason :( Apparently, people in Japan see tattoos as some kind of association with gangsters and other illegal associations.

  4. Wow! Just wow! This would be dream come true for me! I have always wanted to try an onsen and feel like a local Japanese (just like what I see in animes and mangas). You are making me so jealous!!!

    The Pink Lemonade Girl

    1. Thanks Jen! I grew up reading manga and anime as well, so I know exactly what you mean! It was like finally get to partake in those scenes I saw in Ranma 1/2

  5. This sounds so amazing! Hot springs and lots of delicious feasting sound like my kind of heaven. Thanks for sharing this on #FarawayFiles What an incredible honeymoon treat.

    1. Thanks! It was sure one of our memorable highlights!

  6. That's such a useful post - I'm not sure I'd know what to do. Sounds an amazing experience as well.

    1. Thanks Cathy! I should have done my homework before this trip but I guess that adds to a great story to tell, right ;)

  7. There are many places in Scandinavia where naked bathing is allowed and they have similar rules as to washing and etiquette. This is such a beautiful environment and I with you until the little note at the end - no tattoos? Uh oh. Thank you for sharing your experience with #FarawayFiles, Erin

    1. Thanks Erin! I'd love to try out those baths in Scandinavia someday in the near future. They don't allow tattoos because Japan see tattoos as some kind of association with gangsters and other illegal associations, unfortunately.

  8. What an amazing experience! I love Japan and am hoping to get back asap! I'm wondering, what about children? How old do you need to be? Are there places you can visit where tattoos are allowed? #farawayfiles

    1. As far as I know, toddlers are welcomed and you could take them to opposite gender bathrooms accompanied by the proper gender adult. Tattoos are a taboo mark in Japanese public onsens, but I'd recommend checking out some Ryokans that offer private onsen on-site where you and your family could enjoy together :)

  9. I'll be going to Kinosaki onsen later this year and was so excited to discover that all 7 onsen allow tattooed visitors, I'm not sure about the individual Ryokans other than the 7 but most do allow them :)


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About Me

About [span]me[/span]
Hello, I'm Lorita. Hoping to inspire you to explore and create things that make life a bit more fun and beautiful.