In the village of Kinosaki, Toyooka City, Hyogo Prefecture, an onsen town was born. 1300 years ago, the natural hot spring bursted out from here. Boasted as the number one hot spring in Japan, famous writers such as Naoya Shiga, Takero Arishima and Akiko Yoshano loved to visit this resort. Still, it continues to be the favorite onsen of travelers and visitors both domestic and from abroad.
The History of Kinosaki Onsen
There are two legends regarding the discovery of the hot springs in Kinosaki Onsen. One is that the spring was discovered by a wounded stork (The origin of the public bath house Kouno-yu). The other is that in the year 720 during the Nara era, a Buddhist monk Dochi Shonin visited the town, in order to save the lives of sick people, he prayed in Shisho Shrine by chanting Mandala for 1000 days. Finally, the hot spring gushed out (The origin of Mandara-yu).
The main temple of Kinosaki Onsen, known as Onsenji Temple was established by Bhuddist monk Dochi Shonin in the year 739. In days past visitors would pay their respects at the temple before going to the baths. The temple still operates to this day and can be toured. The temple can be accessed on foot or by the Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway.
Secret Buddha Statue
The “secret Buddha statue” of Onseji Temple is open and view-able by the public once every 33 years. This special statue – an eleven headed Kannon statue – is currently being exhibited for the period: 2018 April 23 ~ 2021 April 22