Kyoto is a city that combines the ancient and the modern, the traditional and the innovative. It is a place where you can experience the rich culture and history of Japan, as well as enjoy the convenience and comfort of a modern metropolis.
One of the best ways to relax and rejuvenate in Kyoto is to visit one of its many onsen, or hot springs. Onsen are natural pools of water that are heated by geothermal activity, and they have various health benefits, such as improving blood circulation, easing muscle tension, and relieving stress. In this blog post, I will introduce you to some of the best onsen in and around Kyoto, and how you can plan a day trip to enjoy them.
Kyoto Onsen Day Trip
Onsen in Kyoto City
If you are staying in Kyoto city, you don’t have to go far to find an onsen. There are several options within the city limits, each with its own charm and features. Here are some of the most popular ones:
- Funaoka Onsen: This is one of the oldest and most famous onsen in Kyoto, dating back to 1923. It has a variety of baths, including indoor and outdoor ones, a sauna, a jacuzzi, and a unique wooden bath with carvings of animals and plants. The water is rich in minerals and has a reddish-brown color. The entrance fee is 430 yen for adults and 150 yen for children.
- Kurama Onsen: This is a ryokan (traditional inn) with an onsen located in the mountains north of Kyoto. It is surrounded by nature and offers a stunning view of the forest. You can choose from three types of baths: a large outdoor bath, a smaller indoor bath, and a private bath that you can reserve for an extra fee. The water is clear and has a mild sulfur smell. The entrance fee is 1100 yen for adults and 550 yen for children, which includes a towel and a yukata (cotton robe).
- Tenzan-no-yu: This is a modern and spacious onsen complex that offers various facilities, such as a restaurant, a massage salon, a karaoke room, and a manga cafe. It has 12 types of baths, including ones with jets, bubbles, herbs, salt, and collagen. The water is colorless and odorless, and has a pH level of 9.5, which makes it smooth and moisturizing for the skin. The entrance fee is 1000 yen for adults and 500 yen for children.
Onsen near Kyoto City
If you want to explore more onsen options outside of Kyoto city, you can take a train or bus to nearby areas that have some of the best onsen in Japan. Here are some of the most recommended ones:
- Arashiyama Onsen: This is an onsen town located in the western outskirts of Kyoto, near the famous Arashiyama bamboo forest. It has several ryokan with onsen that overlook the scenic Katsura river and the mountains. You can enjoy the changing colors of the seasons while soaking in the hot water. The water is clear and has a mild alkaline quality. The entrance fee varies depending on the ryokan, but it usually ranges from 1000 to 3000 yen for adults.
- Kinosaki Onsen: This is an onsen town located in Hyogo prefecture, about 2.5 hours by train from Kyoto. It is one of the most famous and historic onsen towns in Japan, with seven public baths that you can visit with a pass called yu-meguri-tegata (bath-hopping ticket). The water is slightly cloudy and has a high iron content. The entrance fee is 1200 yen for adults and 600 yen for children, which includes the pass and a rental yukata.
- Awara Onsen: This is an onsen town located in Fukui prefecture, about 2 hours by train from Kyoto. It is known for its high-quality water that comes from 1500 meters underground. It has many ryokan with onsen that offer various services, such as meals, entertainment, and sightseeing tours. The water is clear and has a high sodium chloride content. The entrance fee depends on the ryokan, but it usually ranges from 1500 to 4000 yen for adults.
Kyoto Onsen Day Trip Conclusion
As you can see, there are many onsen options in and around Kyoto that you can enjoy as a day trip. Whether you prefer a traditional or modern atmosphere, a natural or artificial setting, or a simple or luxurious experience, you can find an onsen that suits your taste and budget. Onsen are not only good for your body and mind, but also for your soul.
They are a great way to experience the Japanese culture and hospitality, and to connect with yourself and nature. So, why not plan your next onsen day trip in Kyoto? You won’t regret it!