You explored every bit of Osaka and you want to escape the city for some serious relaxation? We’ve got you covered. In this article, we listed the best onsen towns near Osaka that you can easily reach to within few hours.
Each village has its own charm so it’s pretty difficult to choose to be honest with you. But we made it a bit easier for you with this selection of 7 gorgeous onsen towns. Read up, select your favorite and enjoy your trip!
The 7 Best Onsen Towns Near Osaka
You will find below our list of the best onsen towns near Osaka as well as a map where they are all located. It will help you to visualise how far they are from the city and it will make the plan of your itinerary easier.
- Totsukawa Onsen (Nara Prefecture)
- Ako Onsen (Hyogo Prefecture)
- Arima Onsen (Hyogo Prefecture)
- Shirahama Onsen (Wakayama Prefecture)
- Ryujin Onsen (Wakayama Prefecture)
- Dorogawa Onsen (Nara Prefecture)
- Yumura Hot Spring (Hyogo Prefecture)
1. Totsukawa Onsen (Nara Prefecture)
Located in the Nara Prefecture, Totsukawa Village is the largest village in Japan. This village is where you can find Totsukawa Onsen, right by the shores of Lake Futatsuno.
This onsen is the town’s most popular hot spring, and the spring at this town was discovered during the Genroku Period (1688-1704).
The spring in this town is a sodium bicarbonate/chloride spring. The salt in the water is said to be effective for cuts and burns, and the sulphur springs are good for gynaecological diseases.
In just this town alone there’re about 10 hot spring inns out of 17 in the area. Some of the most popular place to stay is the beautiful Kosenkaku Yoshinoya Ryokan.
Access from Osaka: Take the Kintetsu Limited Express from Kintetsu Osaka Namba Station to Yagi Station. Then take the Nara Kotsu Bus to Onsenshi Onsen. It takes a total of 3 hours.
2. Ako Onsen (Hyogo Prefecture)
This next hot spring town is located on a small peninsula, between Okayama and Himeji. From most of the facilities in Ako Onsen, including the onsen ryokans, you’ll be able to enjoy the beautiful views of the Seto Inland Sea.
Some of the attractions here include the Ako Castle Ruins, and the Hyogo Prefectural Ako Seaside Park. At that park, you’ll also be able to enjoy a small amusement park called Ako Waku Waku Rando.
Because it’s such a small area, you won’t be able to find as many ryokans as in other onsen towns, but the ones you can find are magnificent. We recommend for example the beautiful Donkairou Ryokan. A few others options for your accommodation to consider are Taioukan and Ako Park Hotel.
Access from Osaka: Take the rapid Tokaido-Sanyo Line bound for Banshu-Ako, and continue on the Sanyo-Line and Ako-Line. Drop off at Banshu-Ako. Take a local bus to the onsen town. It takes about 2 hours.
3. Arima Onsen (Hyogo Prefecture)
Another famous onsen town in Kansai is Arima Onsen. This is one of Japan’s three most ancient springs (along with Nanki-Shirahama Onsen and Dogo Onsen). It is located right next to Kobe on the opposite side of Mount Rokko.
This town is known for its reddish-brown iron spring called Kinsen, which translates to “gold spring”, as well as the clear carbon Ginsen spring, which means “silver spring”. This explains the names of some of Arima Onsen’s public baths, like Kin no Yu (Golden Hot Spring), and Gin no Yu (Silver Hot Spring).
The Arima Grand Hotel has amazing open-air baths. The town’s oldest onsen ryokan Tocen Goshobo is also open for day trippers as well as overnight visitors. For more accommodation options, feel free to check out our selection of the best Ryokans in Arima Onsen!
Access from Osaka: It takes about an hour to get there. Take the Tokaido-Sanyo Line from Osaka Station to Sannommiya Station), and transfer to the Seishin Yamate Line to Tanigami Station. Then take the semi-express Kobe Dentetsu-Arima Line to Arimaguchi Station. Switch to a local train on the same line to Arima Onsen Station.
4. Shirahama Onsen (Wakayama Prefecture)
Shirahama Onsen, also known as Nanki Shirahama Onsen, is another one of Japan’s ancient hot springs towns. This town has more than 1,300 years of history and is located right by the Shirahama Beach.
On top of relaxing in the spring waters, visitors can stroll on the beautiful clean beach and explore the Sandanbeki Dokutsu Cave, which is 36 metres underground and was used by pirates to hide their sips during the Heian Period.
You can find a lot of luxurious onsen hotels in this town, including the Infinito Hotel & Spa Nanki Shirahama. The only bath left from the town’s historic 7 Yuzaki-Nanayu public baths is the Saki no Yu.
Access from Osaka: Take the direct Kuroshio Limited Express Train to Shirahama Station. Then, transfer to a local bus. To get to Saki No Yu, take the bus bound for Sandanbeki (the cave) and get off at the Yuzaki bus stop.
5. Ryujin Onsen (Wakayama Prefecture)
Located along the Hidaka River in Koya Ryujin Quasi National park is Ryujin Onsen. Famous for its sodium bicarbonate springs which are known to be moisturising for the skin, this is one of Japan’s top three most beautiful onsen towns.
Visitors come for both day trips and overnight trips. A communal bath called Motoyu is a very popular one, as it’s equipped with cypress baths, rock baths and open air baths that overlook the mountain stream. Check out Nyu Yamasemi Onsenkan as well, another open air bath that was built from a former school building.
If you’re staying overnight, check out the Ryokan Marui.
Access from Osaka: Take a train to Kii-Tanabe Station on the Kinokuni Line. Then, take a bus to Ryujin Onsen Bus Stop. It takes about 1.5 hours.
You May Also Like: Best Onsen Towns Near Kyoto
6. Dorogawa Onsen (Nara Prefecture)
Dorogawa Onsen can be found in Nara’s sacred mountains. This is an amazing hidden gem, with an altitude of 820 meters. The onsen town is the starting point of the Omine Mountain Range and the holy mountain Mount Omime. This is a famous training ground for monks and it is known for its 3 tests of courage. It is off-limits to women, unfortunately.
One of the best times to come here is in summer, when the Dorogawa Gyoja Festival takes place, as well as many Shugendo mountain ascetics and pilgrims.
For daytime users, visit the Dorogawa Onsen Center. Those staying overnight should consider Hanaya Tokubei, a wooden ryokan with indoor and outdoor ba
ths with a garden view. There are even private onsens that you can rent as well.
Access From Osaka: From Osaka-Abenobashi Station, take the Kintetsu Limited Express to Shimoichiguchi Station. Then take a 1.5-hour bus ride to the onsen town. The bus stop is called Dorogawa Hot Spring Bus Stop. The whole trip takes 2.5hours.
7. Yumura Hot Spring (Hyogo Prefecture)
Discovered about 1,200 years ago by a Buddhist priest named Jikaku Daishi, Yumura Onsen is a famous one in Japan. Located in northwestern Hyogo prefecture, the highlight of this onsen town is the spring which is called Arayu. A unique tradition in this town is boiling eggs in the spring.
There are over 20 hot spring inns along the Haruki River. Relax in a free-flowing bath by the Haruki River or go to nearby facilities like Refresh Park Yumura or Yakushiyu. If you plan on staying overnight, check out Yumura Onsen Tomiya.
Access from Osaka: Take an express bus from Osaka to Yumura Onsen, which takes about 3 hours.
These onsen towns near Osaka are just some of the highlighted ones — there are others in the region that are definitely worth checking out too. Some of the best parts about travelling to an onsen town is doing a bit of sightseeing along the way, so be sure to plan your trip to have time for that!
For more travel inspiration, you can also read our blog post about the best day trips from Osaka!