Our Stay at Nishimuraya Honkan
One experience you should have while in Japan is staying in a traditional Japanese ryokan. Thus, the ryokans in Kinosaki Onsen, which is a quick trip from Kyoto or Osaka, will give you a luxurious experience that will pamper and refresh you.
As denoted by the name, Kinosaki is the onsen district of the city of Toyooka, Japan. Onsens are the traditional Japanese baths, typically with water from natural hot springs. Kinosaki Onsen has been regarded as one of the best onsen towns in Japan, with over 1,400 years of onsen history.
During our time in Kinosaki Onsen, we stayed at Nishimuraya Honkan which we will be covering our experience in this luxury ryokan in this post. However, if you are looking for another place to stay in Kinosaki Onsen or things to do in Kinosaki Onsen, check out this post.
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How To Get To Kinosaki Onsen
From Osaka: Take the JR Kounotori line from Shin-Osaka station to Kinosaki Onsen Station (estimated time: 2h 48min)
From Kyoto: Take the JR Kinosaki Limited Express line from Kyoto station to Kinosaki Onsen Station (estimated time: 2h 45min)
From Tokyo: Take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen (Hikari or Kodama if using the JR pass) from Tokyo Station to Shin-Osaka Station no later than 10:30AM in order to reach Kinosaki Onsen before 4:00PM. From Shin-Osaka station take the JR Kounotori line to Kinosaki Onsen Station. (estimated time: 5-6h)
However, we didn’t take these routes because we were coming from Hiroshima, so we took the Shinkansen to Himeji Station then took the Hamakaze JR line to Kinosaki Onsen.
After you arrive, Nishimuraya Honkan has a complimentary shuttle bus that will pick you up from Kinosaki Onsen Station and take you directly to the ryokan. Just be sure to contact them ahead of time to let them know your approximate time of arrival.
Our Stay at Nishimuraya Honkan
With a history of 150 years, Nishimuraya Honkan is a luxurious ryokan with onsen (some private), exquisite dining, beautiful gardens, and an onsite museum.
We wanted to have a day of relaxation between all our days of heavy travel in Japan, and staying at a traditional Japanese ryokan was the perfect way to do so. We elected to splurge on a room with a private garden and onsen so we wouldn’t have to book specific times and add to the romance of staying in an onsen town.
Check-In Process & Staff
Upon arrival, we were warmly greeted by the staff of Nishimuraya Honkan at the train station where staff collected our bags and drove us on their shuttle bus to the ryokan. When we got to the ryokan, we checked-in with a staff member and arranged your meal times and other additional on-site experiences we wanted to enjoy.
An example of their helpfulness and hospitality can be best described in a situation that occurred during our stay. When checking in, we found out our train ticket was booked for early the next morning and would not be able to enjoy our traditional Japanese breakfast due to the departure time. Staff assisted us in rearranging our train ticket so we were able to stay longer and enjoy this experience.
Interior at Nishimuraya Honkan
After checking in, we were shown around the ryokan before visiting our room. The lobby of Nishimuraya Honkan has many seating areas to relax and a cozy bar area that was available to all guests.
Kinosaki Onsen prides themselves on their craftsmanship and local goods, therefore having a gift shop inside a ryokan is extremely common. There are beautiful linens, pottery pieces, fans, chopsticks, and food goods that are all available for purchase in the gift shop.
READ MORE: Things to do in Kinosaki Onsen
The Gardens at Nishimuraya Honkan
Something else that is very special and unique to Nishimuraya Honkan is its on-site gardens. The gardens are perfectly manicured and very tranquil to spend time in. There is a place to pray, enjoy the koi fish, and walk around while gazing at the beauty of the garden.
Our Room with Private Onsen at Nishimuraya Honkan
If you are looking to have an experience of ultimate luxury and romance, we recommend staying in a room with private onsen. We stayed in the Hatsune room with an open-air bath which was quite spacious and had an on-suite private bathroom, large vanity including toiletries, and an outdoor shower.
Nishimuraya Honkan also provided us with Yukata to wear while we were out and about or to wear while relaxing in our room. In the evening after dinner, your table and chairs are removed and your futon beds are placed on the floor and fluffed.
Kaiseki Dining at Nishimuraya Honkan
During our stay at Nishimuraya Honkan, we elected to have the traditional Japanese meals in the form of Kaiseki dining. Kaiseki is a multi-course dinner that often features small portioned, artistically arranged seasonal dishes. We found the food to be wonderful. A few of the traditional dishes we tried were: uni (sea urchin gonads), Sazae (horned turban sea snail), and Chirimen Jako (young salted dried sardines or anchovies).
READ MORE: Dining Guide: Japan
Other Information for Nishimuraya Honkan
Address: Japan, 〒669-6101 Hyogo, Toyooka, Kinosakicho Yushima, 469 西村屋 本館
Cost of rooms: 45000 JPY – 55000 JPY/night (check current rates)
While our visit to a Kinosaki Onsen was brief, we enjoyed every moment of this beautiful town far from the hustle and bustle of the big cities and deep into the mountains of Japan.
After enjoying our relaxing stay in Toyooka we hopped on a train to our next stop, Tokyo!