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Arima Hot Spring

Hideyoshi's favorite hot spring

Arima hot spring in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture, is famous for being one of Japan’s three oldest hot springs. It is said that that the source of the hot spring was discovered by the two deities, Onamuchino-mikoto and Sukunahikonano-mikoto.

During the country's Warring States period, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of Japan's great military commanders who helped unify the nation, often used Arima hot spring. His official wife, Nene, unable to have children throughout her life and desiring a child, would often visit the hot spring with Hideyoshi. The Nene Bridge, vermilion-coloured, can be found in the area and along side it, a statue of Nene. Both are lovely sightseeing spots and well worth the visit.

Visiting one of the hot springs for a day trip turned out to be a very relaxing experience. A massage chair that I tried was surprisingly nice but really, it's the hot springs that are the pride of place here. After enjoying one, partaking of some traditional Japanese foods is a great way to feel satisfied.

There are not only traditional ryokan Japanese hotels, with their own hot springs, but also many souvenir shops with plenty of shopping opportunities. Fans of hot springs and souvenirs have no cause for complaint in Arima. During the evening and at night, the hot spring street here gives off a fantastic atmosphere. If it's not too cold, then it really is a lovely place for a memorable stroll.

Arima hot spring is a convenient day or weekend trip from either Kobe or Osaka. Residents of these cities have long visited Arima, much like Hideyoshi and his wife did many centuries ago. Its many narrow backstreet lanes help create an appealing local atmosphere. Numerous temples and shrines can also be found and the area's relatively small size makes visiting both easy and enjoyable.