Your journey begins in the afternoon, as you travel from Kyoto to Kinosaki Onsen. From Kyoto station, use the provided tickets to take the Kinosaki Limited Express train.
Note: It's recommended to utilize luggage forwarding service and pack an overnight bag with essentials for the duration without your luggage.
When utilizing the Japan Rail System, luggage space may not always be available if you have multiple or oversized luggage. For your convenience you may wish to take advantage of this service.
The train winds its way up through the mountains of Hyogo prefecture so you can expect some delightful scenery along the way. Journey time is approximately 2 hours and 25 minutes. Upon arrival at Kinosaki Onsen station, make your own way to your accommodation. Your ryokan is about a 15 minute walk along the town's beautiful canal. However, the ryokan does offer a complimentary shuttle bus. Please make your request prior to your arrival in Kinosaki Onsen and arrangements can be made to meet you.
If you have some time this afternoon, make a visit to Onsenji Temple. In years gone by, a visit here was compulsory before using any of the town's baths*. Although this is no longer the case, the tradition still persists, so many visitors to Kinosaki Onsen make this temple their first stop.
The gate leading up the mountain to the temple can be found near to the Kono-yu public bath house. If you would rather not walk up, a ropeway can take you to Onsenji Temple's main hall. This evening, enjoy a delicious seasonal kaiseki (multi-course) Japanese meal at your lodging tonight. You'll discover the food served at onsen ryokans are made with only high quality, fresh items. Your ryokan has its own baths drawing from a naturally-occurring spring source, so be sure to take advantage of that this evening!
*Please note that hot spring bathing in Japan is communal. Baths are usually separated by gender and swap each night, but you will need to share with others. Bathing suits are not permitted. The ryokan does have a private bath that can be rented out if you do not already have a private open-air bath with your accommodation. Please inquire if you are interested.
(Accommodations & Dinner, Kinosaki Onsen)
Today is at your leisure to explore Kinosaki Onsen.
Kinosaki Onsen has a unique agreement which allows anyone staying in the town's many ryokans, to receive a pass providing entry to all seven of the town's public bath houses free of charge. Feel free to head out in your ryokan's provided yukata, or bath robe, as it will be much easier to change in and out of your clothes at each bath house. No need to be shy; wearing a yukata around a hot spring town is quite normal in Japan, and you'll quickly notice that everyone is doing the same.
Many want to experience Japanese bathing culture when visiting, but like so many things in Japan, there are customs to observe. So here is a primer for Japanese bath etiquette:
• Baths are communal
As with the onsen at your ryokan, baths may be gender-segregated but you will have to share with other bathers. You may be a little shy at first, but communal bathing is very normal in Japan and you will soon get used to it. Please do not wear bathing suits or any articles of clothing in the baths. This is a big cultural taboo.
• Take a towel with you
Many public baths will only provide towels for a fee (usually a few hundred yen). So please consider the environment. Take the towels from your ryokan with you along with a waterproof bag to put them in.
• Leave all belongings outside of the bathroom
There are lockers in the changing room where you can leave your belongings. Normally, these are locked with a key on a strap that goes around your wrist, ankle or neck. Do not take anything into the bathroom with you (e.g. skincare products, hair brushes etc) except for a small body towel for discreet cover. However, take care not to put this towel in the bath water.
• Rinse off before you bathe
As the baths are shared, it is courteous to clean off before you get in. At Japanese bath houses, there is usually a line of showers with small stools to sit on where you can have a good scrub before a soothing bath. The floors in these areas are often slippery. Please watch your step, and take care as you cross the floor to the bath.
• Be considerate of others
The Japanese take a relaxing bath very seriously! The baths are for bathing and not for swimming, so do not swim in the baths and avoid putting your head below the water. Ladies are expected to tie long hair up out of the way so that it does not trail in the bath. Talking is of course allowed on a moderate level, and you may even find that some bathers with a command of English will strike up a conversation.
While these might be a fashion statement in the West, in Japan tattoos are culturally associated with underground gangs and organized crime. Fortunately, the seven public bath houses at Kinoasaki Onsen have no restrictions for foreign visitors. At the end of your relaxing day, another delicious Japanese kaiseki meal will be served at your ryokan.
(Breakfast, Dinner & Accommodations, Kinosaki Onsen)
After breakfast, make your way to the rail station, and use your provided rail tickets for the 3 hour journey to Osaka. Upon arrival, you can take a taxi to your hotel, to the airport for your return flight, or onward to your next Avanti Destination!
(Breakfast, Kinosaki Onsen)