10 Best Onsens In Kyoto For The Ultimate Japanese Bathing Experience

Gin Seah is the voice of AAB Kyoto. His journey in Japan began at age 11 in Miyazaki and led him through many cities including Tokyo, Osaka, and Sapporo. It was in Kyoto, rich with history and culture, that he found his second home.
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Discover the serenity and relaxation of the best onsens in Kyoto. From traditional Japanese baths to modern spa experiences, we’ve curated a list that caters to every preference. Dive into rejuvenating waters surrounded by picturesque landscapes, immersing yourself in centuries-old bathing traditions passed down through generations. Indulge in therapeutic mineral-rich pools that promise to soothe your mind and body after a day of exploration in this historic city.

Prepare for an unforgettable journey as we unveil the hidden gems waiting to be explored within Kyoto’s onsen scene. Scroll down to uncover our top picks and reviews, guiding you towards a blissful retreat unlike any other.

Key Takeaways

  • Visit Tenzan Tohji-kyo for a traditional onsen experience with various indoor and outdoor baths.
  • Experience the tranquil Kurama Onsen, nestled in the mountains, known for its healing properties and beautiful surroundings.
  • Relax at Fufu no Yu, a modern onsen with luxurious amenities and a serene ambiance.
  • Immerse yourself in the rustic charm of Ohara no Sato, offering a peaceful onsen retreat away from the city.
  • Stay at Kyo no Minshuku Ohara for a traditional Japanese inn experience combined with soothing hot spring baths.
  • Indulge in the elegance of Ryokan Yoshida-sanso, a historic ryokan with top-notch service and rejuvenating onsen facilities.

10 Best Onsens In Kyoto

a traditional Japanese onsen, capturing the serene and tranquil atmosphere of a natural hot spring set against a backdrop of lush mountains

1. Tenzan Tohji-kyo

Tenzan Tohji-kyo in Kyoto offers a traditional Japanese onsen[1] experience with breathtaking mountain vistas. The facility boasts a range of indoor and outdoor baths, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the serene ambiance while enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds them.

The onsen’s tranquil atmosphere provides the ideal setting for unwinding after a busy day exploring Kyoto’s temples and gardens. Guests can indulge in the therapeutic hot springs while taking in views of lush bamboo groves, creating a truly immersive relaxation experience.

With various bathing options available, including different temperatures and mineral compositions, visitors can tailor their onsen experience to suit their preferences. Whether seeking rejuvenation or simply looking to unwind, Tenzan Tohji-kyo caters to all needs.

2. Kurama Onsen

Located in a serene mountain village near Kyoto, Kurama Onsen is renowned for its natural hot spring water that offers exceptional healing properties. Visitors can indulge in the unique experience of outdoor baths surrounded by lush greenery, providing a tranquil and rejuvenating atmosphere.

  • Scenic Setting: Nestled amidst nature, the onsen provides a picturesque backdrop for relaxation.
  • Cultural Experience: Guests can immerse themselves in Japanese bathing culture while enjoying the therapeutic benefits of the hot springs.
  • Healing Qualities: The mineral-rich waters are believed to have various health benefits, such as improving circulation and relieving muscle tension.
  • Traditional Atmosphere: With a focus on authenticity, Kurama Onsen offers visitors an opportunity to unwind in traditional Japanese-style baths.

Embrace the essence of Japanese tradition and unwind in the soothing embrace of nature at Kurama Onsen. Indulge in a holistic experience that harmonizes body and mind amidst breathtaking surroundings.

3. Fufu no Yu

Fufu no Yu is a luxurious onsen resort in Kyoto that stands out for its private open-air baths, offering guests an exclusive and serene bathing experience. The modern design of the facility contributes to a tranquil ambiance, perfect for relaxation and unwinding.

Indulge in a variety of spa treatments available at Fufu no Yu, allowing you to pamper yourself and rejuvenate your body and mind fully. This onsen resort boasts gourmet dining options that cater to various tastes and preferences.

Whether you are looking to immerse yourself in the healing waters or enjoy a delectable meal after a day of relaxation, Fufu no Yu provides the ideal setting for a memorable retreat in Kyoto’s soothing hot springs environment.

4. Ohara no Sato

Ohara no Sato offers a charming onsen retreat in the serene countryside of Kyoto, providing a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

Immerse yourself in the beauty of nature as you relax in their soothing hot springs, surrounded by lush greenery and picturesque landscapes that create a tranquil ambiance.

Experience authentic Japanese hospitality at its finest during your stay at Ohara no Sato, where you can enjoy warm welcomes, attentive service, and an opportunity to engage with local traditions firsthand.

Indulge in delectable local cuisine prepared with fresh ingredients sourced from the region, adding a culinary delight to your overall relaxation experience at this hidden gem of an onsen retreat.

the quintessential Japanese experience of relaxation and connection with nature, featuring steaming waters, wooden structures, and guests enjoying the healing properties of the onsen

5. Kyo no Minshuku Ohara

Kyo no Minshuku Ohara offers an authentic experience with its small onsen facility, allowing guests to unwind in a traditional Japanese setting. You can immerse yourself in the charm of Japanese culture by staying in their Japanese-style rooms and savoring delicious home-cooked meals.

Exploring the enchanting Ohara area surrounding Kyo no Minshuku Ohara is a must-do activity during your stay. This region is renowned for its stunning temples and serene gardens that offer a glimpse into Japan’s rich history and natural beauty.

If you seek tranquility away from the bustling city life, this guesthouse provides a perfect retreat where you can relax both body and mind. Immerse yourself in the peaceful ambiance of Ohara while indulging in the simplicity and elegance of traditional Japanese hospitality at Kyo no Minshuku Ohara.

6. Ryokan Yoshida-sanso

Historic Ryokan Yoshida-sanso offers a serene onsen experience that immerses guests in traditional Japanese culture and hospitality. The outdoor baths provide panoramic views of Kyoto, enhancing the relaxing ambiance.

  • Guests can enjoy the tranquil atmosphere while soaking in the hot springs.
  • The ryokan’s historical significance adds to the charm of the overall experience.
  • Traditional tatami-matted guest rooms offer an authentic stay.

Immerse yourself fully in Japanese customs by partaking in tea ceremonies or kaiseki dining, further enriching your cultural journey at Ryokan Yoshida-sanso.

7. Sumiya Kiho-an

Sumiya Kiho-an is an elegant ryokan with a rich history dating back to the Edo period. The establishment boasts spacious rooms that offer a blend of traditional Japanese aesthetics and modern comforts, creating a serene atmosphere for guests.

The ryokan features beautiful gardens that add to the overall tranquility of the setting, providing a peaceful retreat from the bustling city life. Guests can enjoy strolling through these meticulously landscaped areas, enhancing their relaxation experience.

One of the highlights of Sumiya Kiho-an is its rejuvenating hot springs. These natural thermal baths are known for their therapeutic properties, offering visitors a chance to unwind and soak in mineral-rich waters believed to have various health benefits.

Moreover, guests can savor kaiseki cuisine at Sumiya Kiho-an, which is meticulously prepared with seasonal ingredients. This culinary experience not only delights the taste buds but also reflects Japan’s culinary traditions and attention to detail.

8. Kinosaki Onsen Nishimuraya Honkan

The quaint town of Kinosaki is famous for its seven public bathhouses, offering a unique experience for visitors seeking relaxation and cultural immersion. One standout option is the Nishimuraya Honkan ryokan, known for its prestigious status and access to a private hot spring source.

Participating in “sotoyu meguri,” or bathhouse hopping, allows guests to explore various public onsens scattered throughout the downtown area of Kyoto’s Nakagyo Ward. This tradition provides an opportunity to enjoy different atmospheres and healing properties offered by each establishment.

For those looking to unwind in a serene outdoor setting, some public onsens in Kinosaki also feature open-air baths surrounded by nature. Visitors can indulge in therapeutic waters while taking in picturesque views, enhancing their overall onsen experience.

Whether planning a day trip or an extended stay at Nishimuraya Honkan, it’s essential to consider the opening times of both the ryokan’s private onsens and the public bathhouses around town. Timing visits strategically can ensure maximum enjoyment and relaxation during your onsen adventures in Kyoto.

9. Gion Hatanaka

Experience the ultimate relaxation at Gion Hatanaka, nestled in Kyoto’s historic Gion district. Immerse yourself in a serene atmosphere as you indulge in traditional onsen baths within the confines of a charming machiya townhouse.

Unwind with private open-air baths that offer exclusivity and tranquility, allowing you to soak in the therapeutic waters while enjoying the picturesque surroundings.

Enhance your cultural experience by partaking in an evening featuring a mesmerizing Maiko performance, showcasing the artistry and grace of these apprentice geishas. Delight your taste buds with a meticulously prepared Kyoto-style kaiseki dinner, offering a culinary journey through Japan’s rich gastronomic heritage.

Immerse yourself fully in Japanese culture by staying at Gion Hatanaka during special events or public holidays when additional festivities and cultural activities are often organized for guests.

10. Arashiyama Benkei

Unwind at Arashiyama Benkei, a riverside ryokan with stunning views of the bamboo forest. Relax in the outdoor baths that offer a serene panorama of the Hozu River.

Explore nearby attractions like Tenryuji Temple and the Monkey Park, immersing yourself in the rich cultural tapestry of Kyoto.

one of the best onsens in Kyoto, capturing the luxurious and tranquil ambiance set against the backdrop of Kyoto's stunning natural landscapes


You’ve now explored a range of top-notch onsen spots in Kyoto, each offering a unique experience. From the traditional charm of Tenzan Tohji-kyo to the serene beauty of Kurama Onsen and the luxurious retreat at Ryokan Yoshida-sanso, Kyoto’s onsen scene has something for every preference. Whether you seek relaxation, cultural immersion, or a blend of both, these hot spring destinations promise a rejuvenating escape amidst Japan’s ancient capital.

Now that you’re armed with this insider knowledge, why not plan your own onsen adventure in Kyoto? Take your pick from these stellar recommendations and treat yourself to a well-deserved soak in the healing waters of these esteemed establishments. Your journey to relaxation and cultural discovery awaits!

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes Tenzan Tohji-kyo a standout onsen in Kyoto?

Tenzan Tohji-kyo stands out for its serene atmosphere, traditional wooden baths, and picturesque garden views. The therapeutic hot springs offer relaxation akin to soaking in nature’s embrace.

Is Kurama Onsen suitable for first-time visitors to Kyoto?

Absolutely! Kurama Onsen provides a quintessential Japanese onsen experience with outdoor baths surrounded by lush greenery. It’s perfect for unwinding after exploring the cultural wonders of Kyoto.

Why should travelers consider staying at Ryokan Yoshida-sanso?

Ryokan Yoshida-sanso offers an authentic ryokan experience with tatami rooms, kaiseki meals, and private onsens overlooking scenic landscapes. Immerse yourself in Japanese hospitality and rejuvenate your senses.

How does Fufu no Yu differentiate itself from other onsens in Kyoto?

Fufu no Yu sets itself apart with its modern design, minimalist aesthetic, and innovative wellness facilities like salt saunas and relaxation lounges. Experience tranquility amidst contemporary luxury at this unique onsen.

Can visitors enjoy both traditional and modern amenities at Sumiya Kiho-an?

Yes! Sumiya Kiho-an seamlessly blends traditional architecture with modern comforts like private open-air baths and gourmet dining options. Indulge in the best of both worlds while savoring the essence of Japanese hospitality.

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