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15 Best Ryokan Kinosaki Onsen: 15 Picks in 2024!

Staying at some of the best ryokan Kinosaki onsen is the perfect way to unwind.

Whether you’re looking for a short break from the busy city life or want to experience the heart of Japanese culture, ryokans are a great way to do it.

I love how soaking in the waters of a natural hot spring just soothes the body and instantly comforts me in a cocoon of relaxation.

This really helps me and my tired body after my long hikes (or, you know, arguing with Supervisor Sandy about who gets to sit on my work chair. See the below pic for reference. O__O)

Arguments with my beloved cat aside, the effect of hot water on the body really does do wonders for my body AND my soul.

I always feel relaxed and refreshed and ready to take on the next task of my day. 

If you are new here, Hi, I am Aisha Preece ! I am an avid solo female traveller and I love helping other females travel safer and better 🙂

Best ryokan kinosaki onsen

So, you can only imagine how invigorating the post-onsen experience is. More importantly, there are proven health benefits to having an onsen bath

And where better to go for that memorable onsen experience than Kinosaki, the best onsen town in Japan?  

There are many ryokans to choose from to cater to this popular tourist destination. But don’t worry, I’m here to help you with this guide. 

Here are some of the best ryokans in Kinosaki onsen that will give you a peaceful getaway while you heal your body, mind, and soul. 

Best Luxury Ryokan

Nishimuraya Honkan

Most Affordable Ryokan

Mikuniya Ryokan 

Mid-Range Ryokan

Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei

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Best ryokan kinosaki onsen

15 Best Ryokan In Kinosaki Onsen

1. Nishimuraya Honkan

Expect top-notch service and hospitality from all the staff the moment you step foot into this ryokan. No language barrier here, as they can all speak English. 

If you want the most luxurious and pampering stay, Nishimuraya Honkan is my top choice for Kinosaki Onsen best ryokan. 

In fact, it is on par with some of the top 10 onsen ryokan in Japan. 

Rooms:

There are 31 Japanese-style rooms where you sleep in futon beds on tatami floors. You also have the option to sleep on Western-style beds in 2 of their rooms. 

All rooms come with a toilet, and most of them come with a bathroom attached. 

Onsen:

Nishimuraya Honkan offers 3 onsen baths that can be found indoors and outdoors. 

Soak in the view of the beautiful zen garden as you relax in the healing waters of the natural hot spring. 

Food:

Enjoy the finest kaiseki meals prepared by the head chef, who was also in charge of designing Japan Airlines’s first-class menu in 2012! 

Seasonal meals include the snow crab and Tajima beef, all of which will be served in your room.

Price: $$$$$

Best ryokan kinosaki onsen

2. Tsubakino Ryokan 

Tsubakino Ryokan is a 90-year-old establishment in the middle of Kinosaki town, just a corner from “Jizo-no-yu,” one of the 7 public bathhouses. 

You can relax among the staff’s hospitality and enjoy the original artwork displayed throughout the buildings. 

Rooms:

There are 20 rooms altogether in the main building and annex. Interestingly, the two buildings are connected by an underground passage. 

The traditional main building houses Japanese-style rooms with futon beds and tatami floors.

The annex offers a more modern option with Western-style twin beds. The bathroom is a shared facility with other guests. 

Onsen:

They have 2 private open-air hot spring baths for reservation and 2 communal baths, each for men and women. 

Food:

Pay extra for breakfast and dinner kaiseki style featuring seasonal ingredients like snow crab and Tajima beef served in the dining hall. 

Price: $$$$$

3. Koyado Enn 

Koyado Enn, opened only in 2013, is one of the newer ryokans in town.

It has the concept of a modern hotel while maintaining the warm hospitality of a Japanese ryokan. They even have 2 themed rooms based on bicycles and Tajima beef.

However, they do not accept children below 12 as guests, so this is only for those of you who are traveling alone, as a couple, or with friends. 

Rooms:

There are 11 rooms available. Most are hybrid Japanese and Western-style, with tatami-mat floors and Western beds in another room. 

All rooms come with a washstand and toilet. 

Onsen:

The ryokan provides 2 private indoor onsen baths free for their guests. 

Food:

All room plans come with their Tajima beef kaiseki dinner offering, while breakfast is Western-style. Meals are served in the dining hall. 

Price: $$$$

4. Kinosaki Tajimaya 

This Kinosaki ryokan has been redecorated with modern elements while preserving the original wooden architecture, so you can experience comfort and ancient charm at the same time. 

Kinosaki Tajimaya takes pride in giving the best service to their guests, and many have left gushing reviews online on their warm hospitality. 

Rooms:

There are 12 modern Japanese-style rooms with tatami and wooden floors, sofas to sit on, and futon beds. 

All rooms have an attached toilet, but the bath is shared with other guests. 

Onsen:

You will find 3 private hot spring baths that are free for use by guests here. 

Food:

The room comes with a kaiseki breakfast and dinner based on seasonal ingredients. Meals are served in your room so you can enjoy them in privacy. 

If you want to try local sake, you’ll be spoiled for choice here, as this ryokan has the biggest collection of local sake, shochu, and beer in town. 

Price: $$$$

5. Tsukimotoya Ryokan 

This Kinosaki onsen ryokan is situated in the middle of town. But step inside, and you will be transported into a tranquil space of relaxation as the host and staff warmly welcome you with their friendly smiles. 

You’ll be glad to know that the receptionist speaks English!

Rooms:

They have 10 rooms, and you can choose from Japanese-style with futons or Western-style with single beds. 

Every room comes with a washstand and toilet, but the shower and bathroom is a shared facility. 

Onsen:

There is an indoor natural hot spring bath provided for guests. 

Food:

Guests have raved about the quality and portion of the kaiseki breakfast and dinner provided by this ryokan. 

It’s an extra charge, but it will be worth your money. All meals are served at the dining hall. 

Price: $$$$

6. Kobayashiya Ryokan 

This ryokan building is one of the oldest in Kinosaki Onsen town and is centrally located, within walking distance of the public bathhouses. 

But step inside, and you will be greeted with warm hospitality from the staff and thoughtful, modern design from its recent 2021 renovations. 

Rooms:

There are 10 rooms, with a mixture of Japanese and Western-style available. 

Japanese-style rooms have futon beds and tatami-mat floors, while Western-style rooms have wooden floors and queen beds. 

Onsen:

Guests have free access to their 3 natural hot spring baths, which are meant to be shared, as the rooms do not have an attached bathroom, only a toilet. 

Food:

All room plans come with a kaiseki dinner and breakfast, where you get to enjoy the freshest ingredients of the season served to you in the room. 

Price: $$$$

Best ryokan kinosaki onsen

7. Tsutaya Ryokan 

This is a family-friendly ryokan located within walking distance of the Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway

Enjoy the warm hospitality of the English-speaking staff and admire the historical calligraphy and paintings of Takayoshi Kido, a statesman and samurai who was integral in establishing the Meiji government. 

Rooms:

They have 14 Japanese-style rooms with futon beds and tatami floors. 13 of them come with a toilet and washstand. Bathrooms are shared among guests. 

Onsen:

There is a communal hot spring bath in the ryokan, which male and female guests take turns using. 

Food:

Opt-in for their kaiseki breakfast and dinner plans for an extra fee and enjoy your meals in the comfort of your room. 

They even accommodate special diets like vegetarian, but be sure to let them know during booking. 

Price: $$$

8. Tokiwa Bekkan 

Tokiwa Bekkan is a quiet ryokan away from the main street of Kinosaki town but still within walking distance of the seven public bathhouses. 

You can relax your senses with the surrounding green courtyard and garden while being served by the friendly staff, most of whom can speak in English. 

Rooms:

There are 23 rooms available, all furnished with a toilet and different options of bathrooms and open-air baths. 

They are Japanese-style, so you will sleep on futon beds on tatami mat floors. 

Onsen:

Enjoy the open-air onsen bath provided for both male and female guests. 

Food:

You can add kaiseki meals to your room plan. The seasonal breakfast and dinner will be served in your room. 

Prices: $$$

9. Kinosaki Yamamotoya 

The Yamamotoya is located right next to the Otani River and within walking distance of all seven public bathhouses. 

If you love to people-watch, the rooms will give you a direct view of the willow-lined streets below. 

Even though the building is old and quaint, the friendly service from the staff and the clean environment will more than make up for it.

Rooms:

There are 15 Japanese-style rooms where you can sleep in futons on tatami floors. Rooms come with private toilets, and some of them have an attached bathroom. 

Onsen:

A small private onsen is available for booking with extra charges. They also have an open-air communal hot spring (rotenburo) that is free of charge. 

Food:

Choose to pay extra for their seasonal kaiseki meal plan that includes breakfast and dinner served in your room. 

They also have a brewery that produces 4 types of beers, so go ahead and try a pint after your onsen bath if you can. 

Price: $$$

10. Kinosaki Onsen Sinonomesou 

The Sinonomesou is one of the more affordable ryokans conveniently located within walking distance of the public bathhouses and the train station. 

Even though the staff does not speak fluent English, you will still be welcomed and served with friendly smiles and warm hospitality throughout your stay here. 

But I would be remiss not to mention that the building and facilities are quite old.

Rooms:

They have 24 rooms spread throughout the main building and the annex. 

Each of them a Japanese-style room that comes with tatami floors, futon beds, a toilet, and a washstand. 

Onsen:

There are 3 bathrooms to be shared among guests, two of which are from natural hot springs. 

Food:

All rooms come with their seasonal kaiseki dinner and breakfast. The chef will prepare Tajima beef for your shabu-shabu, a treat during the cold winter months! 

Price: $$$

11. Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei 

The Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei is the more modern and affordable sister hotel of the Nishimuraya Honkan and is one of the best ryokans in Kinosaki.

This is a good choice if you’re looking for a quiet location away from the main streets of Kinosaki Onsen town. 

But worry not about access because the hotel provides a shuttle bus service every 30 minutes. 

As with its sister hotel, you can expect the finest Japanese hospitality and service from all the staff here, making it a great stay for the entire family. 

Rooms:

There are 98 guest rooms: 84 Japanese-style guest rooms, 2 Western & Japanese-style hybrid rooms, and 12 Western-style rooms. 

All rooms come with the convenience of a bathroom. 

In the Japanese-style rooms, guests sleep on futons and tatami floors. In the Western-style rooms, you will find beds like a hotel. 

The hybrid rooms feature Western-style beds with a tatami-mat room attached. 

Onsen:

The ryokan hotel has 4 communal hot spring baths for guests and 3 private open-air baths available for booking. 

There is even a spa that provides massage for varying prices, so feel free to indulge yourself in one after your onsen soak. 

Food:

The optional kaiseki dinner is the best quality seafood and beef available in Kinosaki. 

Dinner will be served in your room, while the breakfast buffet is served in the main dining hall. 

Price: $$$

12. Onishiya Suishoen 

Onishiya Suishoen is located slightly further away from the main Kinosaki town area than the other ryokans on this list. 

But in return, you will get spacious rooms and a quiet, serene environment. 

Not all staff are English-speaking, but they do their best to make your stay memorable with their thoughtful and friendly service. 

Rooms:

They have 28 Japanese-style rooms with futon beds and tatami floors and 6 Western-style rooms. You will find a washstand and toilet in all the rooms. 

Onsen:

Aside from the 2 indoor natural hot spring baths (one each for men and women), you can also enjoy an outdoor bath or a sauna to rejuvenate your body. 

Food:

You can choose to add on either breakfast, dinner, or both. 

I recommend trying out their kaiseki meals if you’re going for the full ryokan experience, especially if it’s crab season. 

Price: $$$

Best ryokan kinosaki onsen

13. Morizuya

Morizuya Inn is an 8-generation family-owned ryokan that prides itself on being located in the middle of Kinosaki town, conveniently near shops and public bathhouses. 

It is great for couples and families looking for a traditional and luxurious ryokan experience. 

Guests talk about the excellent service provided by the host and staff here, particularly their care and hospitality, making it one of the best ryokans in Kinosaki Onsen. 

Rooms:

They have 12 Japanese-style rooms that come with futons and tatami floors. All rooms have a washstand and toilet, but the bathroom is shared with other guests.

Onsen:

There are two natural hot spring baths available: a cave bath and an open-air bath. You can book them for private use on weekdays. 

Food:

Multi-course kaiseki meals are served in your room. Both breakfast and dinner are offered and charged on top of the room price. 

Price: $$

14. Hanakouji Saigetsu

Hanakouji Saigetsu is a traditional ryokan open only to individuals and small groups. 

As the main wooden architecture is preserved, there is only stair access to the rooms upstairs. Children below 12 are not allowed here. 

Rooms:

There are 9 tatami-floor rooms available, and you get to sleep on Western-style beds. All rooms have a toilet, but the bathroom is shared with other guests. 

Onsen:

The ryokan offers a private hot spring bath on the day of your arrival. 

On the following days, you have to share the communal onsen with other guests of the same gender. 

Food:

You can opt to have the seasonal kaiseki breakfast and dinner cooked here, but they are charged on top of the room price. All meals are served in the main dining hall. 

Price: $$

15. Mikuniya Ryokan 

Mikuniya Ryokan is a 3-minute walk from the Kinosaki train station and in the middle of Kinosaki Onsen town. 

Guests are welcomed with warm Japanese hospitality and service that is detailed and personalized. 

Rooms:

There are 12 Japanese-style rooms, each with a toilet and washstand inside. Sleep on comfortable futon beds on tatami floors. 

Onsen:

This Kinosaki ryokan with private onsen has 3 free ones available for guests. 

They are not segregated according to gender so you can use them with your family and friends. 

Food:

Pay an extra fee to enjoy their seasonal kaiseki breakfast and dinner plans, which include ingredients like Tajima beef and snow crab. 

For those of you who like to sleep in, you’ll be glad to know that this ryokan offers a brunch option, so you can still fill your tummies with some Western-style breakfast. 

Price: $$

What Is A Ryokan?

A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn where you can stay and experience authentic Japanese lifestyle and hospitality. 

Some are small, family-run places, but there are also large, hotel-like ryokans with hundreds of rooms. 

Whichever type of ryokan you choose to stay in, expect to find the following:

  • Sleeping on futon beds placed on top of tatami mat floors.
  • Soaking in Japanese-style baths (many of them are fed by a natural hot spring).
  • Eating sumptuous kaiseki cuisine featuring multi-course local and seasonal ingredients.
  • A personal attendant to see to your needs throughout the stay.
  • Dressing in yukata, a light, cotton kimono.
  • Relaxing in a quiet and serene environment, complete with a zen garden.

If you want to dive into Japanese culture like the locals, there is no better way to do it than to stay at a ryokan. 

Stepping into the grounds of a ryokan will instantly transport you into a traditional and relaxing world like no other. 

Best ryokan kinosaki onsen

Why Visit Kinosaki Onsen?

Kinosaki Onsen is a must-visit for many reasons. 

Located between mountains and the Sea of Japan in the northern Hyogo Prefecture in the Kansai Region, Kinosaki has been voted one of the best onsen towns in Japan. 

It is a convenient onsen ryokan near Osaka as it is only 2.5 hours away by train. 

Locals and tourists are attracted to the old-world charm of Kinosaki onsen. The architecture and town atmosphere reflect life in Japan 1300 years ago. 

As you stroll along the willow tree-lined streets in your traditional yukata and geta (wooden clogs), you will see many others doing the same as they go from one bathhouse to another. 

It’s the perfect way to immerse yourself in Japanese culture. 

Its strategic location also means you get the best of nature all year round. 

Enjoy beautiful Michelin-rated views atop Mount Daishi, overlooking the Maruyama River and the Sea of Japan. 

If you plan on hiking, make sure you have the right boots on!

During warmer seasons, you can swim in the crystal clear waters of the Sea of Japan when you visit Takeno and Kei no Hama beaches nearby. 

Apple picking and hanami (cherry blossom viewing) are also popular options. 

Benefits Of Staying At A Ryokan In Kinosaki Onsen

Staying at a ryokan can be the ultimate Japanese experience if you are looking for a place to relax and heal your mind and body. 

Here are some of the best reasons why people choose to stay at a ryokan instead of a hotel when they visit Kinosaki Onsen: 

1. On-site onsen

Most ryokans are built near natural hot springs and feature a communal bathing area for their guests. 

Some even rent out private baths or offer rooms that come with private onsen baths. 

If this is your first time visiting an onsen, I think it’s a good idea to first dip your toes at the private facility offered within the ryokan before venturing out into public bathhouses. 

Stripping down to your birthday suit in front of many strangers may not be everyone’s cup of tea. 

I also need to remind you that there are onsen etiquettes to follow, so have a read before your trip. 

2. Freshly prepared kaiseki meals

Ryokans are also known for serving traditional multi-course kaiseki meals which feature fresh local and seasonal ingredients. 

Due to its location between lush mountains and the coast of the Sea of Japan, you can expect to be served freshly caught seafood, high-quality Japanese rice, and whatever sweet fruit is in season. 

These meals will be served at a fixed time, but if you’re just there to relax, your breakfast, lunch, and dinner have been planned out for you. Isn’t that great? 

3. Japanese hospitality

To stay at a ryokan is to experience omotenashi, or Japanese hospitality, at its finest. 

From the first moment you step foot into the grounds of the ryokan, you will be greeted and served by staff or even your very own personal attendant. 

The Japanese believe in serving their guests wholeheartedly to ensure the best experience possible. 

You will find your meals served on time and with much attention to detail, help offered with a smile and a bow, and guidance with Japanese etiquette if ever you feel lost. 

4. Experience sleeping on tatami floors

Suppose you’ve seen photos or videos of the Japanese sleeping in traditional-style rooms, complete with futon beds, tatami floors, and shoji paper sliding doors. 

In that case, a ryokan is the best way to experience one yourself. 

The grounding experience of sleeping close to earth adds to the healing experience provided by a ryokan. 

You will feel most comfortable as the futon beds and tatami mats are cool in the summer and well-insulated during the winter. 

5. Relaxing environment

The overall atmosphere within a ryokan promotes rest and relaxation. 

Once you’re there, you get to kick back, unwind, and soak all your worries away in the onsen while the staff tends to all your other needs. 

When you’re done, treat your body to freshly prepared meals, then soak more in the onsen. 

Feast your eyes on the green and zen garden around you and enjoy the peace and quiet of nature rarely found in the city. 

Things To Look For When Choosing A Ryokan In Kinosaki Onsen

Location

Since you’ll probably be on foot for your trip around town, you may want to find a ryokan near nearby attractions, like the seven public bathhouses. 

Every ryokan offers their guests a free pass to all the public bathhouses. 

It is also a good idea to ensure it is easily accessible from the nearest train or bus station. 

Price

As with hotels, there are luxury ryokans, which cost more, and there are budget ones, which will cost you less. 

Expect to pay around 15,000 to 25,000 yen per person per night (USD100-170 per person per night).

Choose one that fits within your budget. 

Although staying in a ryokan is an experience worth having, you don’t want to blow your entire vacation budget on it and not have enough left over to explore the rest of Japan. 

Reviews

Check out reviews and ratings that other guests have left for the ryokan on reliable travel websites online

That should give you a good gauge of how value for money it is and what sort of service you can expect. 

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Room type

Some ryokans offer Western-style rooms with beds, but if you’re after the experience of sleeping in futon beds on tatami floors, go for that option. 

Make sure that the room size can accommodate your family or group of friends. 

Onsen facilities

If this is your first experience going to an onsen, consider a ryokan that offers private onsen facilities. 

This can be a communal bath where you have to share with other guests, segregated by gender. 

Some ryokans even offer private baths or rooms with private onsen baths attached so that you and your family can soak together without sharing with others. 

But I think the best onsen experience is soaking in a rotenburo, an outdoor onsen, during the cold winter months. 

The feeling of the soothing hot water around your body with the cold air on your face is like no other!

Kaiseki meals

If you choose to have the kaiseki meals offered by the ryokan, know that there can be more than one option to choose from, depending on the ingredients they use. 

Breakfast can be a western-styled buffet served in the dining hall, but again, you can opt to have a traditional Japanese-style kaiseki instead. 

You can even choose to have your meals served to you in your room, but be prepared to pay more. 

Language

Some of the smaller ryokans may not have a website, and even if they do, it may not be in English. 

So, if you have a Japanese friend or one who knows the language, get their help with your reservation. 

If language is a concern for your trip (I use Google Translate!), opt for a bigger ryokan and check that there will be someone who can attend to you in English. 

When Is The Best Time To Visit Kinosaki Onsen?

Tourists flock to Kinosaki during the winter season between mid-December and early March. 

Aside from a chance to enjoy the hot springs in the cold winter air, this season also means it’s time to feast on crab. 

Snow crabs are a popular dish here, so expect some fresh crabs served during your kaiseki meal at the ryokan if you choose that option. 

If cold weather is not really your thing, spring (late March to mid-May) is also a good chance to enjoy the cherry blossoms (hanami). 

Your walk to the public bathhouses will be complete with a background of blooming pink and white sakura blossoms. How pretty is that? 

Best ryokan kinosaki onsen

FAQs On Best Ryokan Kinosaki Onsen

How Many Nights To Stay In Kinosaki Onsen?

It is recommended to stay at least two nights in Kinosaki Onsen. Stay at a traditional Japanese ryokan and tour the seven public hot spring bathhouses that are within a 5-minute walk of each other. Go up the Kinosaki Ropeway for a great view, and stop by Onsenji Temple, the guardian of Kinosaki’s hot springs. 

Does Kinosaki Have Snow?

Yes, Kinosaki has snow during the winter season, which is usually from mid-December to early March. It is a popular season for tourists who flock to enjoy the hot springs in Kinosaki Onsen town and skiing in the Kannabe Mountains. It is also crab season, so be sure to try the specialty dinners served in ryokans. 

Is Kinosaki Tattoo Friendly?

Yes, the seven public hot spring bathhouses of Kinosaki Onsen town are tattoo friendly. Most onsens in Japan do not allow visitors with tattoos in. But with an increasing number of tourists who have tattoos, attitudes in recent years have softened. Private onsens may have different rules, so it is best to check before entering. 

Do All Ryokans Have Hot Springs?

No, not all ryokans have hot springs or onsens. A ryokan is a traditional Japanese inn that has rooms with tatami floors and serves in-house Japanese food. They also have communal baths, which may or may not come from a natural hot spring source. Onsens are usually found in public bathhouses. 

Now that you know the best ryokan in Kinosaki onsen, it’s time to start planning your trip there. 

Autumn is a great season to visit if you want to enjoy a comfortable temperature while soaking in the onsen. 

But if you can handle the cold, winter is a popular tourist season. The feel of the hot spring waters against your cold skin is nothing short of bliss! 

Remember to make time to enjoy the rest of what Kinosaki town has to offer and truly immerse yourself in Japanese culture. 

This best onsen town in Japan will leave you with an experience like no other. 

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