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Arima Onsen

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Arima Onsen (有馬温泉) [1] is a hot spring town just north of Kobe, Japan.

Understand

Arima Onsen is one of Japan's Three Old Hot Springs, with a recorded history going back to the Nihon Shoki, published in 631. The waters of Arima come in two flavors: the Gold Spring (金泉 Kinsen) is yellow-brown thanks to iron and salt, while the Silver Spring (銀泉 Ginsen) is colorless but mildly radioactive.

Technically, Arima Onsen is a part of Kobe, but it's on the other side of Mount Rokko and thus a separate city for all practical purposes.

Get in

There are two ways to get to Arima Onsen from Kobe or Osaka: the cheap and practical way, or the fun but expensive way.

The practical way is to take the Hanshin, Hankyu or Sanyo Line to Shinkaichi (新開地) just west of Kobe, then transfer to the Kobe Railway Arima Line to terminus Arima Onsen. (Note that express services terminate at Arimaguchi, so you'll need to switch to a local train.) Alternatively, if you're coming in on JR, get off at Kobe's Sannomiya station, take the Kobe Subway to Tanigami (谷上), and connect there to the Kobe Arima Line. In either case, make sure to transfer at the Arimaguchi station onto the (one stop only) Arima Onsen line. The whole trip will cost around ¥900-1000 and take about half an hour.

The fun way is to take the Hankyu line to Rokko station and continue up Mt. Rokko on the cablecar (10 min, ¥570/1000 one-way/return). Connect with the bus loop line (10 min, ¥250) to the Rokko Arima Ropeway, then take the ropeway down to Arima Onsen (12 min, ¥980/1770 one-way/return). The Rokko Arima Katamichi Jōshaken (六甲有馬片道乗車券) combination ticket (¥1700 one way) works out marginally cheaper, and also lets you ride around the top of Mt. Rokko. This route is more scenic, but best avoided with heavy luggage.

Get around

It's quite easy to get around town on foot, though the uneven terrain may prove tiring to some. The JR train station has a large map of the area, but please note that it is neither to scale nor oriented to the north.

See

Arima Onsen is famous for geisha performances, held at the many yearly festivals. Note that in the local dialect, geisha are known as geigi (芸妓).

Do

Outdoor bath at Taiko No Yu

Arima Onsen being one of Japan's famous hot spring towns, it goes without saying that one should pay a visit to one of the many baths. There are three public baths (admission is between 500-700 yen) and a number of private ones. Be aware that Japanese onsens are sex segregated and bathing is done in the nude. Make sure you brush up on your onsen etiquette before you go!

  • Taiko-no-yu (太閤の湯), 292-2, Ikenojiri, Arima-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe City 651-1401 (〒651-1401 兵庫県神戸市北区 有馬町池の尻292番の2) (Take the free shuttle bus from Arima Onsen station), 078-904-2291, [2]. 10:00-23:00. A spendy but swanky onsen with 24 different baths both indoors and outdoors of varying temperatures. They also have a basin of skin-eating fish you can put your feet in for an extra fee. They provide a towel and Japanese style pajamas for the walk from the locker room to the baths. ¥2,400 for adults, ¥1,200 for children under 12.
  • Kin-no-yu (金の湯), 81-78-904-0256. 8:00-22:00 (last entry at 21:30) closed every second and fourth Tuesday. A cheap public bath with a free foot bath outside. Indoor baths only, bring your own towel. ¥650 adults, ¥340 children under 12.
  • Gin-no-yu (銀の湯), 81-78-904-0256. 9:00-21:00 (last entry at 20:30) closed every first and third Tuesday. A public bath, bring your own towel. ¥550 adults, ¥290 children under 12.

Buy

Souvenir shops sell a variety of items, including bottled hot spring water and a plethora of spa and skin care goods using minerals from the hot springs. Arima Onsen is also famous for it's woven bamboo baskets and writing brushes.

Eat

Tajima beef

Drink

Sleep

  • Hotel Kinzan, 1302-4 Arima-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe, 078-904-0701, [3]. checkin: 1:00p.m.; checkout: 12:00a.m.. Originally a high-quality ryotei (Japanese-style restaurant), and these traditions carry though to the present day. Good selection of dishes, all prepared with the freshest seasonal ingredients.


Contact

http://www.arima-onsen.com/eng/index.html

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