Seven Sotoyu Tour is one of the attractions in Kinosaki Onsen Resort

By Kikki - Last updated: 日曜日, 4月 15, 2012 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

The origin of Kinosaki Onsen dates back to over 1400 years ago. Kinosaki has been prospered with independent Onsen facility in town. Each facility is said to have a guardian deity and therefore you can be blessed with all seven deities while touring of these Onsen facilities.
You must wear ‘Yukata’ when you go out for Sotoyu tour. It is quite tasteful when taking a walk around Kinosaki Onsen Street in Yukata cotton kimono and a pair of ‘Geta’ wooden clogs. Your looking is completely changed like another person in different costume.
Most hotels and inns give a free ticket for taking bath at independent Onsen facilities when you check in.
In front of ‘Satonoyu’ and ‘Kounoyu’ there are ‘Ashiyu’ or foot bath where you can enjoy foot bathing at free of charge.

The newest of Kinosaki’s bathhouses, Goshono-yu offers an extremely relaxing bathing experience. Resembling outward appearance to ‘Kyoto Gosho’, the present Onsen house was rebuilt in 2005 beside of ‘Shisho-jinja’ shrine.
Goshonoyu is well known as ‘Bigin-no-yu’ or good for keeping smooth skin among ladies. During the Edo Period, there was a resort house and Onsen owned by a feudal lord known as ‘Tono-no-yu’ or ‘Kagi-no-yu’ and it has became ‘Goshonoyu’since Meiji Period.
Glass roofed ‘Tenku’ grand bath, Onsen mist sauna, and landscape stone garden are laid out in ‘Goshonoyu’. The classic outdoor area is a great place to enjoy the changing colors of the maple leaves in autumn.

Ichinoyu is a symbolic Onsen located in the center of Kinosaki town. It is named after the recommendation as ‘Tenka-ichi’ or a best one Onsen by Shutoku Kagawa, a founder of hot spring cure in Edo Period. Its Momoyama era style building resembles to an old ‘Kabukiza’theater in Tokyo. Until the arrival of Satono-yu, Ichino-yu had the pride of being the foremost bathhouse on the Japan Sea coast of the western Japan. Newly renovated in 1999, this bathhouse offers many modern facilities, all housed within a handsome building of classical design. Ichino-yu adds a cave-pool to the usual bathing amenities. A wide grand bath, chartered bath, and cave bath are popular among bathers. ‘Tamabashi’ bridge in front of ‘Ichinoyu’ is a best spot for photo.

Satono-yu is a new Onsen that has started business in 2000. This is the largest Onsen facility within railway stations in Japan, and most conveniently located of Kinosaki’s seven bath houses. There are number of attracting facilities such as observation outdoor bath, herb bath, jet bath, and cool sauna named ‘Penguin sauna’. The male and female bathing sections alternate daily between classical Japanese style Onsen and a Romanesque bathhouse, so be sure to try the Satono-yu at least twice. Car parking is wide enough for arrival guests so it is very convenient even for day trippers without stay overnight in Kinosaki Onsen. A footbath in front of Satono-yu is free of charge.

Kounoyu is located just in front of Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway Station. It is the oldest independent Onsen among seven Sotoyus and named after the legend that to recover from some ailment, a stork bathed in the marshes that once existed in the area now known as Kouno-yu about 1400 years ago. The healing properties of the marsh willow trees grew to be famous and Kouno-yu was built on the site, becoming Kinosaki’s first bathhouse. Popular for its outdoor bath and situated at the foot of bamboo-clad mountains, Kouno-yu offers a private but splendid natural environment in which to relax. Kouno-yu is little far away from the center of town, so it is suitable for your stroll. Its grand bath is wide enough and there is a wonderful outdoor bath in the landscape garden.

Jizouyu is named after the legend that an image of ‘Jizoson’ or a guardian deity of children was found in the fountainhead of hot spring. Actually, an image of ‘Jizouson’ is dedicated in its garden. The bathhouse of Jizouyu is the most modernized building among seven Sotoyus in the shape of Japanese lantern outward appearance with wide hexagonal windows. Jizou-yu is a popular bathhouse comprised of two large, high-ceilinged central baths with generous showering and washing facilities. The second floor features rest areas and private baths for family use. ‘Meno-ohishi’ large stone lantern in front of the entrance is a symbol of Jizouyu.

Being the smallest bathhouse in Kinosaki grants Yanagi-yu a very traditional and homely atmosphere. Securely placed in the center of Kinosaki, its convenience makes it popular with the locals and tourists alike.
The name of Yanagiyu is named after the legend that fountainhead of hot spring was gushed out from the root of a willow tree. The willow tree was brought from West Lake or Xī Hú in China. Although, the bathhouse of Yanagiyu is a small wooden structure, its outward appearance is something resembling to old house in Taisho Era. A hinoki or Japanese cypress made supersonic waves bath is also equipped.

Mndarayu is said to be gushed out by 1000 days prayer of ‘Mandala’ performed by great priest Dochi, or the founder of Buddhist temple ‘Onsneji’. Set back from the main road in quiet surroundings, the building of Mandara-yu (which was painstakingly reconstructed in 2001) is and always has been Kinosaki’s most attractive and traditionally styled bathhouse. ‘Mandarayu’ which has been regarded as a sacred place since olden times, the attraction of the Onsen is its beautiful natural surroundings. When you take bath in outdoor bath made of hinoki or Japanese cypress, you really feel comfortable with fresh air and aroma of hinoki timber.

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■For travelers from overseas
As a certified guide-interpreter in English and also a writer of the website “Cool Japan Guide”, I am very happy to introduce ‘Kinosaki Onsen Resort’ in Hyogo Prefecture. If you have something to ask, like to make reservation, or need English speaking tour guide when visit there, please feel free to contact us. Thank you for your kind cooperation, I am looking forward to your contact.
Please Contact Us/お問合せ

■Introduction of the specialist for Onsen design

If you like to build a real Japanese style hot spring facility in your country, I would like to introduce one of the best Japanese architects, Mr. Hiroshi Ebisawa, who is the author of a technical book ‘ONSEN’ specialized in design for Japanese Style SPA. The bilingual book written in Japanese-English is published by Rikuyosha Co. ( which is available at most bookstores in Japan.
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