Approaching our last week in Japan, we felt that we needed more of traditional ryokan guesthouses, and onsen hot spring baths. Kinosakionsen is just the place for both of those things.
We stayed in Mikiya Ryokan.
That’s the logo on a bag. It was absolutely amazing, expensive so a bit of a treat to ourselves but worth every penny. We figured if we were going to do it, it made sense to do it right. The price was half board so it included everything except for lunch. Mikiya had two baths for men and women respectively and a private bath that you could take as a couple *gasp*.
They gave us a lovely patterned yakuta – a thin kimono, each to wear during our stay.
When you go out in Kinosaki, you get the old wooden Japanese footwear that sound a bit like Dutch clogs. All dressed up in the traditional Japanese costumes the whole town potters around late afternoon to evening time, in and out of the onsen. Although we did get stared at for wearing them during the day, there was no chance we were wearing anything other than this dressing gown/pyjama type thing the whole time.
We had two dinners and two breakfasts at the ryokan and they were spectacular. That is the right word for it, the dinner lasted two hours each time with nine small courses and included some beautiful food such as crab that melted in your mouth, the local Tajima beef – Kobe beef is the best cut of Tajima beef, that also melted in your mouth, Sashimi, and many many more delicious and new experiences. For those of you that know how obsessed we are with food, you’ll know how excited we were at this.
There are lots of really nice little ornaments in Mikiya, a book shelf full of lovely books, and lots of cool lamps. It’s really nice.
Kinosakionsen is the name of the town in the way that SanjoKeihan in Kyoto is called so because it is Sanjo and you can get on the Keihan railway line. there are seven natural hot springs, onsen in Japanese, in the town. You get a ticket as part of your hotel booking to get into all seven for the duration of your stay at the hotel.
The hot baths were ideal and we had a great time dipping in and out of the hot water. It’s generally around 35-40 degrees, so very hot!
The men bathe with the men and the women bathe with the women as you have to be naked in the bath, it’s quite liberating to realise that everyone has a different body underneath those same types of clothes and we both said that our self consciousness about certain aspects of our body faded. That’s also the reason why we don’t have many pictures.
It’s interesting that the Japanese have been using onsen for centuries, way before the concept of the spa came to Europe, the locals use the baths as part of their daily hygiene routine.
The best one for Pete was Goshonoyu, which has an outdoor rock pool type bath with a gushing waterfall coming down the mountainside. Sophie’s favourite was Santonoyu because it had lots more choices and variety of pools, saunas, and steam rooms. This was also cool because it was designed like a Roman bath with lion head fountains and mosaic tiled areas.
Just before we hopped on the train for Osaka we took advantage of the foot bath,
and Pete fulfilled a life long dream of being pretty.