Arima Onsen

Arima Onsen

Arima Onsen, with its bubbling hot spring waters and rich spiritual lore, stands as one of Japan's most scenic and historic onsen retreats. Arima Onsen is just a short distance away from Kobe and a great location for a day or weekend trip.

Get To Know About Arima's History

Before you go deep down into the hot springs, it would be great to know a little about Arima's history. The place has been famous for over 1,300 years! It was first written about in an old Japanese book, Nihonshoki, which talks about Japan's myths and legends long before the first emperor. According to these stories, two Shinto gods found some smart crows that knew the hot springs were a good spot to hang out.

From the 7th to the 12th century, Buddhist monks traveling across Japan would stop at Arima for a break. It wasn't long before even emperors, nobles, and samurai started visiting to enjoy the healing properties of what they called the 'golden water.' This really helped put Arima on the map as the go-to hot spring destination.


Arima Onsen Town


Why is Arima's Water Special?

Arima Onsen is famous for having two special types of hot spring water that you won't find just anywhere. So, stay with me until the end.

Golden Water (Kinsen)

You'll first see the 'kinsen' or 'golden water.' And yes, it is really gold in color due to the high iron content. You may find it slightly rusty at first, but people have been swearing about its health benefits for thousands of years. It's popular to be great for easing muscle pain and enhancing your skin health.


Golden Water


Silver Water (Ginsen)

Afterward, there's the 'ginsen' or 'silver water.' It's not as silvery as the kinsen is golden, but it's packed with radium and carbonate. These elements are also famous for helping with muscle and joint pain. So if you're feeling achy, a dip in this water can be quite soothing for you.


Silver Water


Exploring Arima Onsen: Where to Soak

Arima Onsen is small enough to wander around in a day so it's a perfect quick getaway from places like Osaka or Kobe. But, if you really want to dive into the hot spring bathing options, we would recommend you stay overnight.

Start with a free dip at the free public foot bath right outside the Kin no Yu bathhouse. It's open to everyone and is a nice way to ease into the hot spring vibe without committing to a full-body bath.

Then, head to Kin no Yu. It's the largest public onsen in town and has two indoor baths filled with the famous golden water. Built back in 1884, it's filled with history and is a must-visit for the full Arima experience.


Kin no Yu


If you're curious about the silver water, make your way to Gin no Yu. Tucked further into the town center, this bathhouse is smaller, with one large bath for each gender. It opened in 2001, and while it's newer, it's got a lot of charm and modern touches that make it worth a visit.


Gin no Yu


For a touch of luxury, you should check out the Arima Grand Hotel. Perched on a hill, it offers stunning views over the town. This place is all about high-end, ryokan-style comfort.

Even if staying overnight is a little pricey, you could still enjoy the hotel's facilities with a day-pass ticket. The hotel features both open-air and indoor baths, plus private ones if you're after a more secluded soak. The open-air baths are especially great, with beautiful views of the town below.


Arima Grand Hotel


Tattoos at Arima Onsen

If you're planning a visit to Arima Onsen, Kin no Yu is one of the most tattoo-friendly bathhouses around. You won't need to worry about covering up here, so feel free to relax and enjoy the bath. However, at the Arima Grand Hotel, they prefer that guests with tattoos steer clear of the public baths. But no worries, you may still book a private bath and have a great time.

How to Get to Arima Onsen

By Train

If you're coming from Kobe, begin your travel journey at JR Sannomiya Station. Hop on the subway to Tanigami, then switch to the Kobe Arima Line. Change trains again at Arimaguchi Station and take the Arima Onsen Line. The whole train ride is about 30 minutes.


Arima Onsen Line


If you prefer a scenic route, take the Hankyu Line to Rokko Station. From there, enjoy a 10-minute cable car ride up Mt. Rokko, followed by a 10-minute bus ride to the Rokko Arima Ropeway.

Afterward, take the ropeway down to Arima Onsen. This route takes about 32 minutes total, but it's not ideal if you're carrying heavy bags.


Ropeway of Mt. Rokko


By Bus

For a straightforward trip, there's a regular bus service from Sannomiya Bus Terminal to Arima Onsen. Buses run several times a day and the journey takes about 50 minutes.