Arima Onsen is one of Japan’s Three Old Hot Springs, located in the northern part of Kobe, on the other face of Mount Rokko. With its long and rich history, Arima Onsen shows up in documents dating all the way back to the 7th century and was considered the most prestigious hot spring in the Edo Era (1603-1868). Although the small town has grown into the modern era, there are still areas that tell of its long history–with traditional wooden buildings and narrow walkways. The town has two types of hot spring waters that come from the various sources around the area: gold and silver. One is the Kinsen, the gold water, which gets its color from iron deposits. The second is the Ginsen or silver water, which contains carbonate and is minutely radioactive due to the presence of radium. 

Visitors and locals can come and have a dip in the two public bathhouses or at any of the town’s various ryokan, where some open their doors to day-travelers who are not spending the night. Arima Onsen is ideally placed like a jewel on a mountain that’s located among the busy cities, where anyone can escape into the ancient bathhouses and the new. Arima Onsen can be accessed via bus from Osaka Umeda Station, train and bus from Kyoto Station, and train from Himeji Station. 

One of the ryokans in Arima Onsen is Tocen Goshobo, which was founded in the 12th century and was beloved by significant Japanese figures. It is the oldest hot-spring ryokan in its area and is near the Taki River, which its outdoor hot-spring baths overlook. Famous tourist attractions like the Zuihoji Park are accessible from the inn. Taketori-Tei Maruyama is another ryokan that overlooks the town of Arima. It offers private hot spring baths and a spa treatment for its guests and serves Japanese and Western cuisine. A tranquil getaway, Nakanobo Zuien provides traditional Japanese accommodation and a spa facility to go with the sauna and hot spring baths. More adventurous guests can visit nearby attractions like Mt. Rokko, Mount Maya, and the Kittebunka Museum. 

Arima Onsen is not near the downtown Kyoto area but you can easily get there from downtown Kobe. There are not many activities to do in the town of Arima, however, you can easily access scenic places on Mount Rokko and the Kobe Port from Arima. Some of the popular tourist spots nearby are the Nunobiki Herb Gardens, Rokko Alpine Botanical Garden and Rokko Garden Terrace all of which can be accessed from Kobe Kitano via a short Ropeway ride. If you go to Arima Onsen by car, you may also want to check the Sanda Outlet Mall in the vicinity that has a different feeling from typical shopping malls overseas.


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