Choosing a ryokan in Japan is a difficult task as they come in all different shapes and sizes some are small operations ran by an elderly couple while others are large with over 100 rooms. We suggest you choose a ryokan that has its own hot springs and provide meals that are included in the price. Ryokans are often located in isolated places and they serve the best meals known as Kaiseki Ryori which is a course meal using local ingredients.
Recently we stayed at Kosenkaku, a ryokan located in Arima Hot springs. We stayed for one night which included dinner and breakfast so without further ado, this is our review.
Kosenkaku is located in the charming traditional village of Arima, one of the oldest hot spring towns in Japan. Arima is conveniently located near Kobe which can be reached in 20 minutes by train. Osaka is only a short bus ride away and only takes around an hour to get there. To get to Kosenkaku cross the bridge in the heart of town and access is up the hill.
We were greeted by a man at the archways of the property who took our bags and directed us to the lobby to be checked in. Japanese service at ryokans are always of high standards and here was no exceptions. We waited in the lobby with hot towels and an ice cold drink before being driven to our room in a golf cart. Kosenkaku is one of those big properties that I mentioned above. The cart stopped at the hot springs and restaurant showing us around the property before taking us to the room.
Kosenkaku actually has two kinds of rooms, the traditional rooms with tatami floors and where the futon gets layed out on the floor and you sleep there unfortunately for first time travellers to Japan this is probably the kind of experience you are looking for but we stayed in the log cabins which were spacious sleep I think up to six people upstairs and had a spacious living room as well wait for it…….It’s very own spa.
We loved the room spending a lazy day in the spa or on our veranda where we played cards, sat around talking and generally just relaxing. The WIFI worked fine in the room at good speeds but we hardly used it as we really just wanted to get away from it all. Hot springs can do that to you
Food for me is usually the make or break part of any trip to a ryokan. What I liked about the meal here was that the volume wasn’t too much, usually after eating at a ryokan you are so full that you really start to feel uncomfortable but at Kosenkaku you were first served a plate with four dishes, a salad, some sashimi, pork that is usually used for ramen and a green brocoli tasting jelly like dish. Next there was the chicken soup followed up by the tender Kobe beef grilled perfectly served with paprika and garlic chips. Still feeling hungry dessert was green tea ice cream, banana cake and pudding.
Arima is located in a rural area so not much fish like you would find at a ryokan that was located by the sea which I prefer but the food was still of a good standard. Staying here also gives you the chance to try Kobe beef.
What you have all been waiting for, what were the hot springs like.
Hot springs in Arima became famous for the medicinal value. The waters have been known to help heal ailments so many people come each year to soak in the hot springs and hopefully improve their health.
The hot springs in Arima come in two colours either a redish brown colour that is known in Japanese as Kinsen which gets its colouring from the rich content of iron and sodium. The other is ginsen which is colourless and contains radium and carbonate. These hot springs are next to each other but both are located inside a room I and didn’t have an amazing view of the sea or nature that you find in some hot springs where there baths are located outside. What we did like was that the bath wasn’t scorching hot like you find at some hot springs.
After coming home I did some research to find out that there are no outdoor hot springs in Arima.
If you are looking for a place to relax and haven’t been to a hot spring or stayed at a ryokan by the time you are in Kansai then I definitely recommend for you to stay here because of its rich history and its medicinal value. They are one of the most famous hot springs in Japan however I love an outdoor hot spring and there is nothing better from jumping between indoor and outdoor springs.
The food is good but have had much better from other ryokans plus we really love seafood. The food here doesn’t blow your minds like you get at other ryokans but the Kobe steak is really good.
The log cabins are great but this might not be for everyone especially first time visitors to Japan. They do though have more traditional rooms.
Something I haven’t mentioned is this ryokan also has an indoor swimming pool that not many ryokans have. It is only opened during the Summer months though.
Would we stay here again. I think we would. It’s close to where we live and we really did love the log cabin with the spa in its room. We will leave it up to you to decide if you would stay here.
What do you think, would you stay at this ryokan? Let us know in the comment section below.