While you are visiting Kobe City for the Rugby World Cup in 2019, you can take a train for about 30 minutes from the city centre to extend your journey to Arima onsen. With more than a thousand years of history, it has become a prominent hot spring retreat.
Arima onsen offers two different types of hot spring waters which flow from various sources around town: gold, and silver. The gold hot spring water is coloured by iron deposits, and is said to be good for preventing skin disease and muscle pain, while the silver hot spring water contains radium and carbonate and is said to cure various muscle and joint pains.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the feudal ruler who succeeded Oda Nobunaga and unified Japan in 1590, greatly loved to recover at the Arima onsen between battles, and worked for Arima’s revitalization and prosperity. Together with Ehime’s Dogo Onsen and Wakayama’s Shirahama Onsen, it is among Japan’s Three Ancient Springs.
Remarkably, Arima onsen has preserved the traditional culture of ozashiki (or geisha gatherings) since ancient times. The traditional Japanese female entertainers act as hostesses, while dawning kimono and makeup. Geisha usually operate in various hotels and ryokans – performing songs, dances, and playing shamisen (a Japanese folk instrument). Ozashiki at Arima onsen provides an opportunity to experience this aspect of Japanese hospitality , and of course have fun.