Where to Stay in Kinosaki, the Idyllic Onsen Town


WordsSolenn Cordroc'h

©Hiroyuki Ono

Located to the north of the Sea of Japan, the picturesque, charming town of Kinosaki is the ideal place to immerse oneself in the traditional culture of onsen, the celebrated hot springs. This Japanese way of life involves slipping on a light kimono and a pair of wooden sandals and wandering through the streets, then going from bath to bath. This spa resort, with seven public onsen and multiple private baths, high-quality restaurants known for their crab dishes and traditional inns, is extremely popular with the Japanese, and for good reason. There are no big hotel chains to break the enchanting sense of calm; just 74 ryokan which promise visitors an exceptional stay. Here is a selection of inns where you can head off to Dreamland after a satisfying day in the onsen.

Nishimuraya Honkan

Run by the same family for over seven generations, this luxurious inn represents the climax to a stay in Kinosaki. Its intimate atmosphere, private art gallery, gastronomic dishes and, of course, its 34 rooms, all of which open onto a private garden, encapsulate the very nature of a ryokan. Nishimuraya Honkan even has two private onsen, elegant jewels to add an extra bit of sparkle and create an exquisite stay.


Onishiya Suishoen

Here, the rooms equipped with a futon or in a more western style combine beautifully with the traditional ryokan. However, what really makes Onishiya Suishoen special is the extra services it offers guests, which make their stay a truly divine experience. As well as the spa, sauna and onsen in the inn itself, little bonfires are lit at dusk to announce a Noh theatre performance, a form of theatre which involves music, dance and drama.


Tsubakino Ryokan

Visitors will be plunged into a typically Japanese atmosphere in this inn, which could also serve as an art gallery. The walls are adorned by images of Ksitigarbha, a Buddhist saint, drawn by the previous owner. Tsubakino Ryokan is far more than just a hotel; it also has a cosy corner where visitors can relax while reading a manga, and a liquor house which offers spirits and plum brandy. And of course, the bedrooms are as comfortable as you could wish. Perfection lies in every detail, from the floral arrangements to the private onsen. It’s refinement in its purest form.


Hanakouji Saigetsu

With just 9 rooms, it goes without saying that this inn is a haven of calm. Travellers can choose between a traditional or western-style room; whichever they opt for, they are sure to sleep peacefully in an enchanting setting with immaculate, elaborate décor. A small place for a great stay in this ryokan with a plush atmosphere.


Nishimuraya Honkan ©Hiroyuki Ono

Nishimuraya Honkan ©Hiroyuki Ono

Nishimuraya Honkan ©Hiroyuki Ono