Kinugawa Onsen is a traditional town seeped with centuries of history. Discovered during the Meiji period, Kinugawa Onsen is aptly named after Kinugawa River, the river which flows through the middle of the town.
Kinugawa Onsen was first accessible only to monks and daimyo samurai during its inception. Since then, it opened up to the public during the 19th century and has thrived as a gentle, ambient hot spring resort that’s easily reachable, being only a mere two hours from Tokyo.
If you want a base to explore Nikko, we highly recommend staying in Kunigawa Onsen. It’s located quite central, within either walking or driving distance of a plethora of nearby attractions. It is also included in the free travel zone of the Nikko Passes.
The majority of ryokan here are located in serene and nature-surrounded environments, inviting peace and relaxation – a complete 180 if you’re coming from exploring Tokyo.
If you’re interested, we’ve listed below some of the most beautiful ryokans in Kinugawa Onsen for you to check out.
For a luxury yet affordable ryokan stay, Tsuganoki in Kinugawa Onsen is a fabulous option. The ryokan is decked out in traditional yet quality finishes, from the gorgeous modern open-air onsen baths to the Japanese sliding doors, the tatami mat flooring and the authentic low-rise furniture in the guest rooms.
Tsuganoki boasts a gorgeous terrace to soak in the ambiance, huge rooms, and a location that’s convenient to explore all the local hot springs nearby – it’s right in the geothermal area of Kinugawa Onsen.
Guests Tips: Definitely order breakfast and dinner, as there isn’t a convenience store nearby. You can make a private reservation at both the outdoor and indoor onsen, and it’s recommended that you do it as soon as possible.
Book It Now: Tsuganoki Ryokan
Asaya is a chic Japanese ryokan accommodation that seems to have it all. Its golden feature would be the breathtaking open-air onsens that overlook the surrounding mountains; however, it boasts a number of additional great features that truly make it stand out from the crowd.
Asaya features private onsen baths located in certain guest rooms, a world-class buffet for both breakfast and dinner and an amazing location right next to a bus stop and only 13 minutes by foot away from Kinugawa Koen Train Station.
For an additional fee, you can access the karaoke facilities onsite, and there are even massage services that can be reserved. If you’re looking to explore local attractions, Nikko Toshohu Shrine is a 40-minute drive away, and Edo Wonderland is only a 10-minute drive away.
Guests Tips: Definitely use the open-air bath on the rooftop if you have a chance, as the view is amazing. Massage services are only available during the afternoon and evening.
Book It Now: Asaya Ryokan
3. Monogusa no Yado Hanasenkyo
Monogusa no Yado Hanasenkyo is a nostalgic and traditional Japanese in that feels authentic and homely, and is within the affordable price range for most people – hooray!
Without skimping on the creature comforts that bring an accommodation to above the expectations line, the relative affordability of Monogusa no Yado Hanasenkyo makes it a madly popular choice amongst travellers, so book it in early if you’re keen!
This authentic ryokan features both Japanese-style and Western-style rooms, gorgeous views of the mountains, both indoor and outdoor onsen baths, and super accommodating staff who go beyond their means to ensure your stay is comfortable and memorable.
Guests Tips: The facilities and amenities of the Ryokan are even more updated and modern than the photos, so don’t be fooled! It is roughly a 6-minutes’ walk from the station.
Book It Now: Monogusa no Yado Hanasenkyo
4. Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari Kinugawa Kanko Hotel
This impressive ryokan hotel will satisfy even the pickiest of travellers. From its stunning foyer to its generously-sized guest rooms, to its huge and authentic onsite onsen baths, Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari Kinugawa Kanko Hotel is one spectacular accommodation.
It boasts a fantastic 24-hour front desk service, a delicious breakfast and dinner option, and even a free welcome drink and snacks upon arrival.
What is its best-selling feature though? The 10 different onsen baths to try! They swap the genders for the baths every day, so you can get the best of both worlds!
Guests Tips: Definitely leave enough time during your stay to be able to experience all the onsen baths. You may need to reserve your spot on the shuttle bus to and from town.
Book It Now: Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari Kinugawa Kanko Hotel
5. Kanaya Hotel Kinugawa
As far as world-class accommodations go, you simply cannot get much better than Kanaya Hotel Kinugawa. Located only a mere three-minute walk from Tobu Kinugawa Onsen Station, this stunning five-star accommodation boasts a number of features that make it fit for royalty.
It features larger-than-average traditional Japanese-style guest rooms that boast floor-to-ceiling windows leading to a generous balcony, Kinugawa River views, and immaculately curated furniture. Certain rooms will feature an open-air private bath that will take your breath away.
Onsite, there are karaoke facilities, a sauna, an onsite restaurant, massage services, and a 24-hour front desk.
Book It Now: Kanaya Hotel Kinugawa
6. Kinugawa Grand Hotel Yumenotoki
This incredibly luxurious Ryokan hotel is the epitome of ‘traditional authenticity meets modern grandeur’.
Featuring a breathtaking indoor onsen that overlooks a splendid garden, an outdoor onsen that oozes Zen, views of the rolling mountains from the guest rooms, and an onsite spa facility, you will be pampered into oblivion. There are also cosy private onsen baths available for reservation at the front desk.
It boasts an exceptionally convenient location near Kinugawa Onsen Train Station, with Tobu World Square only a 6-minute drive away, and the famous Nikko Toshogu Shrine about a 30-minute drive away.
Guests Tips: Make sure you get the most out of the onsen, as they provide you with hair serum, face cream, and even toner! There is a fantastic soba noodle restaurant that’s roughly a 10-minute walk away.
Book It Now: Kinugawa Grand Hotel Yumenotoki
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7. Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari Hotel Kinugawa Gyoen
For those looking for an authentic traditional Japanese-style accommodation with the works, but still need to work towards a budget, look no further than Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari Hotel Kinugawa Gyoen.
This well-rounded three-star ryokan is one of the more original ryokan accommodations, as you can tell by the nostalgic vibes and original structures. It features an onsite bar, a huge common lounging area, and a 24-hour front desk. There is also a sauna and hot spring bath onsite for guests to relax in and enjoy.
For breakfast and dinner, chefs use fresh local specialty ingredients and offer seasonal fruits. With it being located within a geothermal area, you can easily access a number of other surrounding hot springs as well.
Guests Tips: It’s close to the train station, but the town itself is quiet and has limited food and shopping options. There is, however, a convenience store down the street.
Book It Now: Ooedo-Onsen Monogatari Hotel Kinugawa Gyoen
Amongst the hundreds of local, off-the-beaten-path onsen towns across Japan, Kinugawa Onsen wins purely because of its location. Situated within Nikko, an area known for its incredible landmarks, sweeping natural beauty, and a plethora of famous sightseeing spots, a relaxing stay at a ryokan should definitely be on the books.
Complement your trip to explore the quieter, more relaxed side of Japan by staying at a ryokan in one of Nikko’s most popular onsen towns, Kinugawa Onsen.
And for some traditional stays recommendations around Tokyo, check out this article about the Best Onsen Ryokan Near Tokyo!