The gorgeous Arima Onsen town is a household name for many, especially those who have done a little research into things like ‘best day trip from Osaka’ or ‘best onsen town near Osaka’.
It’s one of the easiest day trips or overnight trips you can do from Osaka or Kobe, and whilst it’s almost always inundated with tourists looking to experience a slice of traditional Japan, the town itself does an amazing job at retaining its old-school rustic charm. Its streets are still reminiscent of historic Japan; there are businesses that have been running on the family for countless generations; the entire vibe of the place is just pure bliss.
It’s actually noted to be one of the oldest onsen towns in all of Japan, which does add to its allure. Some of the more interesting facts about Arima Onsen is that it is home to certain onsen bath waters that contain deposits of iron, radium and carbonate, creating ‘gold’ and ‘silver’ flows of water.
Arima Onsen’s main strip, Taiko-dori, is set as a narrow footpath flanked by tall wooden Edo-period structures, making for a wonderful space for pictures. The town is made mainly of windy footpaths, and can be explored leisurely on foot the entire way.
It’s conveniently located only an hour away from main cities like Osaka and Kobe, so you won’t have to worry about getting to and from – it’s as easy as 1-2-3.
1. Negiya Ryofukaku
Located right in amongst the forests of Arima Onsen lays Negiya Ryofukaku, a gorgeous traditional ryokan that looks and feels like it’s just stepped out of a historic Japanese movie. Every single aspect of this inn has been carefully curated to make staying here an immersive experience, from the wooden platforms surrounding the onsen baths, to the direction that the ryokan is facing so that you get the best view.
Shoji paper sliding doors and tatami flooring makes for wonderfully nostalgic guestrooms, and you can even book a massage or karaoke session onsite. It’s stunning in all seasons, however, we love the feel of the ryokan in winter, when you can experience snowfall just outside your window, and soak in the open-air outdoor onsen surrounded by snow. It’s located only minutes away from the train station.
Guest Tips: Premium service provided here; if you’re arriving outside of normal hours, they will try and accommodate you and your luggage as best they can, just make sure you communicate that to them beforehand. The onsen is absolutely fantastic, especially at night.
Whilst you should try the silver and gold onsen in town for the experience, make sure you don’t miss out on the one at the ryokan. There are not many western tourists here, so you will mostly run into local Japanese visitors.
Book It Now: Negiya Ryofukaku
2. Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Hanamusubi
The best thing about Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Hanamusubi? The multiple private onsen pools that they offer on site for guests to reserve. Of course, you can just book one of their luscious guest rooms that have their own private onsen baths, which are also gorgeous.
If you stay at this ryokan, you absolutely must book in a kaiseki breakfast as it’s one of the best features of this ryokan. Its rooms are large and spacious, and are the perfect place to relax and unwind in. If you’re traveling with your family or within a large group, this is a great option as it offers plenty of larger rooms that cater to multiple people.
Guest Tips: If you have dietary requirements, staff here are perfectly happy to cater to your needs. If you get a chance, book in a massage session here – it’s amazing!
Book It Now: Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Hanamusubi
3. Okuno Hosomichi
This luxurious 4-star ryokan is much more than meets the eye. Whilst it’s on the smaller side in terms of building size and infrastructure, it makes up for it by providing exceptionally personalised service, attentive staff, up-to-date facilities, cleanliness and comfort, and stunning views.
There are, in fact, only a handful of guestrooms available here, so even if the entire ryokan is booked out, you’ll still feel like you’re in your own corner of Japan.
Its atmosphere and ambience is relaxing and comfortable, and you’ll immediately feel it the moment you step into the ryokan. There are rooms that have their own private onsen baths, however you can also utilise the public onsen onsite.
Guest Tips: For a purely traditional Japanese feast, make sure you book the breakfast. There’s an awesome free shuttle to and from the station that you will either need to organise with them beforehand, or give them a call from the station when you arrive. Complimentary drinks and snacks, enough said!
Book It Now: Okuno Hosomichi
4. Takayamaso Hanano
Takayamaso Hanano is a cut above the rest, offering extremely spacious guest rooms that open up to outstanding views of the forests, 5-star quality kaiseki meals, intricate decor that pays homage to Japanese history and culture, and onsite onsen baths that just ooze rest and relaxation vibes.
It’s located right amongst the hills and forests of Arima Onsen, but it offers a free shuttle to and from Arima Onsen train station for your convenience (which is only a 5-minute drive away anyway). For the ultimate getaway, book in a body and/or facial spa treatment to top it off.
Guests Tips: If you’re after some (large) personal space, definitely check this onsen out. It also offers Western-style breakfasts, and great coffee!
Book It Now: Arima Onsen Takayamaso Hanano
5. Hashinoya Bekkan Ransui
At Hashinoya Bekkan Ransui, they’re all about honouring traditional Japan, from ensuring that the Zen atmosphere is kept light and refreshing through natural leafy greens, living spaces are large and full of natural light, meals are prepared with skilful hands using only the freshest seasonal ingredients, and the ambience is always peaceful.
The best thing about this ryokan, though? It has to be how beautiful its immaculately maintained open-air onsen are. For the ultimate relaxing getaway, this ryokan is a top contender!
Guests Tips: Even though the onsen is communal, you rarely need to share it with other guests which is great for those of you who are a bit shy. Look past the pricing, it’s worth your time.
Book It Now: Hashinoya Bekkan Ransui
6. Nakanobo Zuien (Adult Only)
Nakanobo Zuien is one that pretty much offers it all: large spacious rooms, both western style and Japanese style (with futons), an onsite restaurant offering specialised Japanese cuisine, convenient location within walking distance to transport hubs and main streets (although they also offer a free shuttle to and from the station), a communal onsen and sauna that’s free of charge to all guests, and breakfast is included in the room price. How thoughtful is that!
It’s especially a great place to stay if you’re traveling in a large group, as there are plenty of rooms to accommodate for up to six people. It’s a great place to stay if you’re visiting temples such as Zempuku-ji, Nenbutsu-ji and Onsen-ji. It’s also within distance to a bunch of other attractions such as Kin no Yu and Gin no Yu. Please note that it is an adult only ryokan.
Guests Tips: There’s a 7-11 right next door to the ryokan for your convenience.
Book It Now: Nakanobo Zuien
7. Arima Gyoen
Location is key for Arima Gyoen, as this beautiful onsen is situated right in the centre of Arima Onsen town. It features all the bells and whistles of a traditional Japanese inn, including low-rise furniture, tatami flooring, sliding doors, and authentic Japanese decor.
It provides a comfortable stay for all guests, as it boasts generous-sized guest rooms, all of which come with fluffy futon bedding, private bathrooms with free toiletry, and some will even offer the comfort of a private onsen bath! Please select this room when you’re making your booking to ensure you get the private onsen bath option.
Treat yourself to the plentiful hot spring baths only a few minutes’ walk from Arima Gyoen.
Guests Tips: Book the dinner option so that you can have it served in your room. Proximity to the station is amazing. Baths are not enormous in size.
Book It Now: Arima Gyoen
8. Arima Kirari
Arima Kirari is a grand ryokan structure located along the Arima River. Flanked by a soft body of water and lush mountainous greenery, this ryokan is perfectly situated to provide guests with a calmative stay.
On offer for all guests are guestrooms that ooze grandiosity. Distinct features of an authentic ryokan are present, including quality timber low furniture, the finest tatami mat, and a small alcove.
Nestle into your Japanese-style room as sunlight filters through the enormous windows. Each room comes with a private bathroom so there is utmost privacy. There are family rooms on offer for those traveling with a family that boast generous areas for lounging and unwinding with little ones.
Arima Kirari also puts on a stunning display for breakfast and dinner. Imagine the most delectable Japanese dishes using only the finest seasonal ingredients – that’s the promise of Arima Kirari.
Arima Kirari boasts its own magnificent hot spring bath that guests can access freely during their stay. However, its close proximity to one of the most popular onsen baths in Arima Onsen, Taiko no Yu, means that you can pick and choose your experience for the day.
It’s also located close to Tenjin Gensen and Hosenji Temple and provides free transport to and from the train station.
Book It Now: Arima Kirari
9. Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Kotori
This quaint ryokan located smack bang in the middle of Arima Onsen town is the perfect balance between traditional Japanese inn charm and the comfort and familiarity of modern amenities such as raised bedding.
Here, you can opt for either a Japanese-style room that’s furnished with traditional lowered Japanese furniture, or you can opt for a western-style room.
It also offers a beautiful public onsen onsite for guests, however, you can also reserve their private onsen for 45-minutes at 3,300 yen (you can book this when you make the reservation or when you check in at the front desk).
The location is amazing, being only a few minutes from the station as well as some of the main streets. The staff here are also flexible in terms of food requirements, so you can request any changes to be made before your stay there and they will happily accommodate.
Guests Tips: This place offers luggage storage services even before you check in as well as after you check out, free of charge, so make sure you request this service if needed! The ryokan offers two onsen baths which are located in two separate areas, but they’re close by, so make sure you visit both whilst you’re there.
Book It Now: Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Kotori
With this list of the best ryokans in Arima Onsen, we’re fairly certain we’ve provided you with varied enough options for you to make a (difficult!) decision! There’s a ryokan out there for everyone, whether you’re a couple traveling away for a romantic weekend or a family of six eager to get a taste of traditional Japan.
What you should know is that whether you decide to choose Arima Hot Spring Ryokan Hanamusubi or Okuno Hosomichi, or any other ryokan in between, expect only the best of the best service, views worth a million dollars, and an experience that might end up being the highlight of your entire trip (as it was for many other travellers!).
When you’ve finally chosen your favorite inn, make sure to read these 10 rules to respect when you stay at a Ryokan: Ryokan Etiquette.