Hyogo Prefecture Hot Springs and Gourmet

Luxury travel from Tajima Airport and surrounding areas

Featured    - 6 min read

Hyogo Prefecture's Tajima region welcomes visitors to authentic Japanese experiences, top gourmet selections and luxurious hot springs destinations. Located in proximity to both Osaka and Kyoto, the Tajima area in Hyogo Prefecture has long been known as a luxury retreat among the Japanese and is focused on widening its appeal in welcoming overseas visitors.

We visited this seaside region to discover for ourselves what makes this such an attractive getaway and have shared a few tips and favorite locations we found along the way.

Landing in Tajima Airport: via Tokyo or Osaka

A few from above at Konoutori Tajima Airport
A few from above at Konoutori Tajima Airport

Planning the trip to Hyogo Prefecture is both convenient and charming as the Kounotori Tajima airport has a beautiful landing strip tucked away in the mountains. Descending into Tajima Airport is a wonderful experience and the Airport itself is packed with useful information and amenities to get your trip started right.

From Tokyo to Osaka: Haneda to Osaka (Itami Airport) provides multiple carriers and flight options every day from Tokyo to Osaka. Travel time ~ One hour

From Osaka to Tajima: From Itami take a memorable flight that will set you down on a mountain runway surrounded by green. Two flights run per day back and forth. Travel time ~ 40 minutes (Tajima Airport English website)

Rural exploration: Caves, parks and floating castles

A view of Takeda Castle, known as the castle in the sky due to the surrounding fog
A view of Takeda Castle, known as the castle in the sky due to the surrounding fog

Explore all the Tajima countryside has to offer. Many destinations can be explored by cycling or walking paths so it is a great opportunity for some fresh air and exercise before settling in for the night:

Takeda Castle Ruins: Known as the castle in the sky, this historic landmark is a must-see during the foggy autumn season as the castle appears to float among the clouds. Walk through the ruins of this expansive castle built over 500 years ago and take in spectacular views of the surrounding area from up high.

Takeda Castle
竹田城跡
  • 169 Takeda, Wadayama=cho, Asago-city, Hyogo 〒669-5252
  • Homeland for the Oriental White Stork: Hyogo has worked hard to bring these majestic birds back from near extinction to a growing population and displays the journey in a local museum. View the birds in an expansive breeding habitat and catch feeding time around 2:30pm when the wild storks return home for lunch. About Homeland Museum...
  • Genbudo Park: This geopark was formed by volcanic magma shooting up through the earth and creating beautiful rock formations reminiscent of the body of a snake. There are multiple cliff formations along a walking path and the natural amphitheater allows spectacular music performances during nice weather. About Genbudo Park...
  • Ikuno Ginzan: This silver mine has a history of over 1200 years and the tunnels can be fully traversed and explored for those craving an underground and educational adventure into Japanese historical mining. About Ikuno Ginzan (Japanese)...

Izushi Excursion: Little Kyoto

The clock tower Shinkoro in Izushi
The clock tower Shinkoro in Izushi

The castle town of Izushi is perfect for a stroll around town, culture activities and a leisurely lunch.

  • Walking Tour: Explore the area on foot in about an hour. View the Shinkoro (clock tower) and historical buildings near the river, make your own handbags, and walk the area in Kimono dress. About walking tours...
  • Izushi Eirakukan: Built in 1901 this is the oldest kabuki theater in the Kansai region, recently renovated and available for tours that show off the traditional theater with revolving stages, hidden passages and underground areas historically forbidden from visitors. About Eirakukan (Japanese)...
  • Izushi Soba: Try this local specialty where soba is served on several small plates with dipping sauces that can be varied with each plate. It is said that if your finished plates stack as high as the length of a chopstick you have eaten like a true man (or woman!). About Izushi soba...
  • Gourmet Specialties: Tajima is home to world-renowned gourmet choices including Matsuba Crab (November ~ March) and Tajima beef, source of the renowned Kobe beef.

Kinosaki Onsen: Escape to traditional Japan

Nishimuraya Honkan - one of the finest Ryokans in all of Japan
Nishimuraya Honkan - one of the finest Ryokans in all of Japan

Arguably one of the best hot spring experiences in Japan, Kinosaki Onsen is a town transformed into a complete experience with luxury options aplenty:

  • The Ultimate Ryokan: The immediate appeal is overwhelming as the entire town is setup in the atmosphere of a single Ryokan. The station the entrance, the roads the lantern lit hallways, the public hot springs the baths and the ryokans themselves act as the guest rooms. Everyone is dressed in yukata and geta sandals and the atmosphere is warm and friendly throughout the city.
  • Nishimuraya Honkan: Regarded as the best ryokan in the area (of many famous ryokans), Nishimuraya treats its guests to an unforgettable experience with the highest quality rooms, gardens and seasonal cuisine courses including Matsuba crab and Tajima beef specialties. About Nishimuraya Honkan
  • Kinosaki International Arts Center: A short walk up the hill from the ryokan options lies the arts center which specializes in contemporary and visual theater that will certainly make for a memorable experience. Performances are typically free and house up to 500 guests per show. About Kinosaki International Arts Center

A mix of contemporary style from Kinosaki International Arts Center meets the streets in Kinosaki Onsen
A mix of contemporary style from Kinosaki International Arts Center meets the streets in Kinosaki Onsen

Getting there

In addition to air travel listed above, Tajima and Kinosaki Onsen are well conected by JR West. From Kyoto or Osaka, train travel will be around 2.5 hours and from Tokyo (via Shinkansen) travel time is about 5 hours.

The quickest way to travel around the area locally is by bus, with comprehensive coverage and timetables covering most of the region. Reserving a private taxi is recommended for those looking to travel more comfortably around the rural area. Once you make it to Kinosaki Onsen, the entire onsen town is easily traversed on foot with rental bicycles as an attractive option during nice weather.

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Katie Jackson 4 years ago
Awesome! I was just talking with someone yesterday about Hyogo and they were encouraging me to go there and visit. This article has all the information right here ready for me to book. Thanks!