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Arima Onsen

Arima Onsen

Arima Onsen is believed to be the oldest surviving hot spring in Japan and is located on the north side of Mt. Rokko the cities of Kobe and Osaka lying on the southern side. According to local myth, in the days of prehistory two gods were visiting the area when they saw three injured crows bathing in a puddle. Over the course of a few days the crows recovered from their wounds, the gods took notice and the puddle was found to be a hot spring. Arima as an onsen town was born.

The specific water quality found in Arima varies but can largely be divided into two types: ‘Kinsen,’ (gold spring), and ‘Ginsen,’ (silver spring). The Kinsen water contains so much iron that towels left in the water for an extended period are actually dyed red. A level of salinity thrice that of regular sea water can also lead to bathers feeling as if they are floating on the water rather than being immersed in it. Ginsen on the other hand at first appears similar in form to plain tap water – transparent and colorless – although it does carry a number of beneficial side effects including an ability to improve blood flow and to aid in creating a healthy appetite.

Another form of bathing available here is ‘Ashiyu,’ – a footbath. A number of footbaths are located outside the hot spring building and along local roads to let locals as well as tourists soak their feet.

When done with the bathing of body or feet though, why not sample some Japanese refreshments? Soda pop – ‘saidar’ in Japanese but pronounced ‘cider’ is a non-alcoholic drink said to have originated in Arima. Another popular specialty is the ‘tansan sembei’ (carbonated cracker) – famous as a souvenir.

Arima can be accessed by either train or bus but if hiking appeals, why not build up a sweat and hike over Mt. Rokko? ‘Totoyamichi,’ once the transportation route taken by local fishmongers is today a popular hiking route connecting Ashiya Rock Garden with Arima Onsen.

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Efficacy Neuralgia, muscular pain, dermatitis, and others
Address Arima-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo
Link Arima Hot Springs Tourism Association

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