Arima Onsen – Kobe

Kobe’s famous Arima Onsen has a history that spans more than 1000 years, making it one of the oldest hot spring resorts in Japan.

Tucked in behind Mt Rokko the resort’s secluded mountain location, pure, clean air and spectacular seasonal foliage has made it a favourite destination for centuries.

These days locals and visitors alike still flock to the resort to relax and recharge in the iron-rich, kin-sen (golden water) and radium-rich, gin-sen (silver water).

The waters, famous for their beneficial properties and for relieving a variety of ailments, are available at both public and private onsen throughout the town.

Arima is perfect for a leisurely day trip. Enjoy lunch at one of the many cafes or restaurants. Stroll through small galleries and shops along yumotozaka (the main shopping street) or enjoy the quiet serenity of several temples and shrines. Walk up the hill to the top of the town and take the Rokko Arima Ropeway for the 12 minute cable car ride to Mt Rokko mountaintop. Hike one of the many trails that crisscross through the surrounding forest or just spend the day indulging in the many different onsen experiences that Arima has to offer. For those planning to stay overnight or for a weekend (highly recommended if you want to experience all that Arima has to offer) there is a wide selection of accomodation ranging from compact and clean budget options to modern hotels and famous, five star luxury ryokans.

Arima Onsen is easily accessed from Kobe, Osaka and Kyoto by train, bus or car. If you are starting out from Kobe take the local bus, which runs at least once an hour, from either Sannomiya Station (45 minutes) or from near Shin Kobe Station (35 minutes).

It’s a slightly slower option but the best way to experience the real Kobe, as you wind your way up the mountain, chatting to your fellow passengers (many of whom will be regulars) and picking up tips for your time at this Kobe gem.

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