Experience the delicious winter food “crab” and the superb hot springs!

First get a ticket at Osaka Station. Ticket vending machine which accommodates Japanese and English is convenient to purchase tickets. There is no need to speak and you just need to touch the screen. It is easy. As Saturdays and Sundays are busy times, it is recommended to purchase a reserved-seat ticket in advance or go to the station early and wait in line to get an unreserved seat. If you are traveling on weekdays, there is no problem to get an unreserved seat.

JR Osaka Station
Ticket vending machines that accommodate Japanese & English
The information on the platform makes it easier to find your car.

The next thing you want to get after the ticket is your breakfast. It is one of the fun parts of travel to eat while enjoying the view from the train window. In Osaka Station it wouldn’t be a hassle to get breakfast as there is “Ikari supermarket” which opens at 7:30 in the morning. You will find almost everything from bread and coffee to alcohol beverages. And for those who have lots of luggage, it will be better to leave your luggage at lockers or a checkroom (inside the ticket gate).

Many lunch boxes to choose from
Luggage checkroom
Attention! You need to checkout your luggage by 8:00 p.m.
You can pick up your luggage anytime 24 hours a day! Lockers for large size luggage are also available.

Ikari supermarket

Place: JR Osaka Station Midosuji Line concourse(East side)1st floor
Hours: 7:30 a.m. – 11: 00 p.m.

Now, it is time to leave for Kinosaki Hot Spring. Find out the platform number on the departure board which shows Japanese and English alternately. You may be able to get on the new train if you have the luck as it is running since last year.

Departure board The new “Kounotori” express

And roughly 2 hours and 40 minutes of train ride starts. You might think “It takes so long.” But time flies as you eat breakfast and enjoy talking with your friends and you will get there sooner than you think. Also, the scenery out the window which changes from city to countryside will not bore you.

View from the train window

Here you are, now you are in Kinosaki Hot Spring before you know it! As a PR campaign called Crab Kingdom is going on now, cute crabs welcome you here and there.

Your visit in Kinosaki Hot Spring will not be completed without going “sotoyu meguri (public bath-hopping).” There are 7 public baths in Kinosaki Hot Spring. They are within walking distance of each other and each one of them has a different taste. Visiting the 7 public baths one after another is called “sotoyu meguri.” You may want to visit all of them as each has a distinctive taste: open-air bath, barrel bath, garden bath, etc. But it is recommended to plan in advance as each bath has different opening days and hours.

“Gosho no yu” with a waterfall Open-air garden bath of “Kou no yu”
Cave bath of “Ichi no yu” Exterior of “Sato no yu”

Public bath name Closed Hours Fee (Children)
Kou no yu Tuesdays 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. 600 yen (300 yen)
Mandara no yu Wednesdays 3:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. 600 yen (300 yen)
Gosho no yu 1st and 3rd Thursdays 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. 800 yen (400 yen)
Ichi no yu Wednesdays 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. 600 yen (300 yen)
Yanagi no yu Thursdays 3:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. 600 yen (300 yen)
Jizo no yu Fridays 7:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. 600 yen (300 yen)
Sato no yu Mondays 1:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. 800 yen (400 yen)

If you are going to visit more than 2 public baths, “yumeguri pass (bath-hopping pass)” will save you money. It enables you to visit as many baths as you want in 1,000 yen. It can be purchased at any of the public baths. As it is a smart card, you need to deposit 1,000 yen which will be returned later when you return the card to the front desk.
Just touch the card reader with your card at the entrance of each hot spring Smart card

You cannot leave Kinosaki Hot Spring without eating crabs between bath-hopping! If you want to splurge, a set menu (small: from 3,500 yen, full: from 6,800 yen) is recommended. But you can also enjoy good crabs on the a la carte menu (grilled crab from 1,500 yen; crab and salmon roe rice bowl 1,300 yen). Most of the fish stores have a restaurant. Those restaurants use the fresh fishes of their store and bring them to your table. So dishes are really fresh and taste wonderful. Plus they are inexpensive! You will say, “I didn’t know crabs taste as sweet as this!”

Crab course meal Grilled crab
Crab and salmon roe rice bowl Local sake of Kinosaki Hot Spring (Kasumi-cho)

After enjoying hot spring and meal, stop by at souvenir shops as you walk in this pleasant town along the river and when it gets cold, go back to a public bath. What a nice way to spend a day! You will see many people in yukata as guests of ryokan (Japanese style inns) go for public-bath hopping in yukata and geta (wooden clogs) from their ryokan. If you go closer to the mountain, you will see ropeways. And if you go to the top of mountain, you will be able to see beautiful snowy scenery below in this season. At the ropeway station, you can have “onsen tamago (eggs cooked in hot spring).” Please try it once.

Street scene with attractive ambience Ryokan guests in Yukata & Geta
Souvenirs with crab toys Live crabs sold at a store
Winter scenery from ropeway
Putting eggs in hot spring to make slow-cooked eggs

Kinosaki Hot Spring official website

San’in Kaigan Geopark(Genbudo Park)

●Hours /First ropeway: 9:10 a.m. Last returning ropeway: 5:10 p.m.
●Closed/2nd and 4thThursdays (Open when Thursday is a national holiday)
●Round trip fare to Sanjo Station:
Adults: 880 yen, Children 440 yen
Onsendera Station:
Adults: 540 yen, Children 270yen
(A round trip ticket to Sanjo allows you to get off at Onsendera.)

If you have time, you may want to go to San’in Kaigan Geopark (Genbudo Park). Round trip bus (15 min. one way) is available from Kinosaki Onsen Station on weekends (Saturdays, Sundays and holidays). In San’in Kaigan Geopark, there are basalt rock caves. The basalt rock formation was formed by cooling of magma at the time of volcanic eruption about 1.6 million years ago. Geomagnetic reversal was first noticed at Genbudo.

Local Bus

Departure/Arrival 1 2 3
Depart Kinosaki Onsen 9:15 a.m. 10:15 a.m. 11:15 a.m.
Arrive Genbudo Park 9:30 a.m. 10:30 a.m. 11:30 a.m.
Depart Genbudo Park 9:35 a.m. 10:35 a.m. 11:35 a.m.
Arrive Kinosaki Onsen 9:50 a.m. 10:50 a.m. 11:50 a.m.

* operated only on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays
*information as of January, 2012

The Difference between China and Japan – Japanese crabs from the viewpoint of a Chinese

Jin Chun Cheng(Chinese, resident in Japan for 10 years, female)

Having come to Japan, I learned new ways to enjoy crabs. In China, there are two ways to enjoy crabs which are said to be standard: “boiled crab” and “fried shelled-crab with strong flavor.” Boiled crabs are more eaten at home, but fried shelled-crabs are popular at restaurants.
There are many ways to enjoy crabs in Japan comparing to China: boiled crabs, shabu-shabu (half cooked), sushi (raw), etc. In any case, it seems “ponzu (citrus-seasoned soy sauce)” is a must-have sauce. I came to know for the first time that this sauce called “ponzu” and crabs go very well together when I came to Japan (there is no such sauce like “ponzu” in China).
Also, I was able to feel Japanese “omoiyari (thoughtfulness)” through crab culture. In Japan, crabs on the table have shells nicely cut. They are prepared so that a hassle of removing shell is eliminated. I think this kind of consideration must be a “warm thought” to give enough “time” to enjoy crabs. I hope China will be a kind of country that gives importance not only to “development” but also to “thought” like Japan.