Nakanobo Zuien

Arima Onsen Nakanobo Zuien

This is a review of our stay at Arima Onsen Nakanobo Zuien.

In mid-May, when the cherry blossom season is over and the fresh greenery is beautiful, I was in Osaka on a business trip and decided to spend the weekend enjoying Arima Onsen with my best friend who lives in Osaka. We had been looking forward to staying at this ryokan for some time, as it is one of the most wonderful and exclusive ryokans in Arima Onsen.

To get straight to the point, this was the best luxury ryokan in Arima Onsen, with its high quality space and hospitality, where adults can enjoy a relaxing and quiet time. This ryokan is not suitable for families with small children, though, as it only allows guests 13 years of age or older.

Around 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, we met at a bus stop near Osaka Umeda Station and took the Hankyu highway bus to Arima Onsen. The trip from Osaka takes about 50 minutes. After getting off at Arima Onsen Bus Stop and walking up a gentle slope, the ryokan where we will stay this time came into view.

As we entered the building, we were greeted by a large hanging scroll with the inscription “Snow, Moon, and Flowers. This was the work of Mumon Yamada, a famous monk of Myoshinji Temple in Kyoto. The powerful calligraphy was very impressive. Also, looking up at the high ceiling, we saw a huge oval light made of Japanese paper decorating the ceiling. Taking the escalator up to the second floor, we found ourselves in a spacious lobby. The calm space had large windows from which one could view the well-maintained Japanese garden, which is the pride of the hotel. Near the window was a pond connected to the garden outside, where beautiful Nishiki-koi carp were swimming. The Japanese garden was said to have been a favorite of Queen Grace Kelly of Monaco. 

Then we noticed that the lobby was filled with the rich fragrance of sandalwood expressed by Shoeido, an incense specialty store in Kyoto. In one corner of the lobby, there was a small museum with displays of antiques collected over generations and “Arima Doll Brush,” a folk craft handed down in Arima Onsen. The Arima Doll brushes are a very cute traditional craft in which small dolls peek out from the head of the brush.

We checked in while admiring the Nishiki-koi swimming in the pond in the lobby, and were treated to matcha green tea and Japanese sweets. The Japanese confectionery, which is made of sweet bean paste wrapped in warabi mochi and covered with soybean flour, has been a specialty of the ryokan since it first opened. The slightly sweet bean paste and warabimochi melted in the mouth, and the savory soybean flour flavor spread out.

After this, a staff member in an elegant kimono guided us to our room. The ryokan offers a wide variety of rooms, the most popular of which are the rooms with private outdoor onsens. The room we stayed in this time was a Japanese modern deluxe type room called “peacock” with a private outdoor hot spring bath. This room had a private Kinsen onsen.

Upon entering the room, we found a spacious and relaxing Japanese-style room with a sophisticated wooden warmth. Tatami mats were laid on the window side of the twin bed room, and there was a large couch and rocking chair that perfectly matched the room’s ambience.

When we opened the shoji doors on the window side, we could see the townscape of Arima Onsen, the mountains, and the steam from Tenjin Souce. At night, the view of the hot spring resort was even more enjoyable, as the hot spring steam from Tenjin souce at the illuminated Arimaten Shrine could be seen clearly from the room.

Then the private Kinsen onsen in this room is a small, one-person-sized round ceramic bathtub, but it was most luxurious to be able to enjoy the private Kinsen onsen at any time during our stay. The golden spring called Kinsen shining in the sunlight was mystical. At night, the air outside felt pleasant on my skin, and my vision was filled with the indescribable feeling of the lights floating in the night, the reddish-brown color of Kinsen, and the steam rising from it. 

We changed into yukata, sat on the couch, brewed some Japanese tea, and relaxed for a while with soda crackers and steamed buns prepared on the table. The yuzu-flavored buns with a sweet red bean paste melted in our mouths and went well with the Japanese tea. The soda crackers, made with soda from onsen, had a mild flavor and were filled with eggs. Also available in the refrigerator were complimentary drinks: tea, water, and two types of banana and mango smoothies. Both were thick and full of juice that filled our mouths.

After this we decided to go to communal hot springs baths on the fourth floor. The ryokan has two communal onsen baths. Also, there are two private family hot spring baths. One is charged and costs 2,200 yen per hour, and the other is free of charge and can be used anytime it is available. Then free beer, cold water, oolong tea, sports drinks, sweet and sour muscat vinegar, and kelp tea were available near the entrance to the communal baths.

After enjoying the communal baths, we headed upstairs to the teppanyaki restaurant called Chef’s Room Kuriya for dinner. Upon entering the restaurant, we found a huge kiln. We decided to enjoy the teppanyaki kaiseki course, which featured dish after dish of premium ingredients and local seasonal vegetables. From our seats at the counter, it was a powerful sight to watch the chefs dynamically grill the seasonal ingredients right in front of us.

The dish that left a particularly strong impression on me was the seared sushi with Japanese black beef. The flavor of the tender meat and the sweetness of the rice from the vinegared rice spread in my mouth. The beef was sprinkled with salt kneaded with rice flour, which brought out the flavor of the meat and enhanced its deliciousness. Also, the main dish, a filet of Japanese black beef, which was carefully grilled in front of us by the chef, was superb. There was also a wide selection of wine and sake. In addition to the Chef’s Room, there are also in-room dining, private dining rooms, and a Japanese restaurant in the ryokan.

After dinner, we decided to take a walk around the hot spring resort area. The area around Taikobashi Bridge over the Arima River was very impressive at night, with a mystical atmosphere that was different from that of the daytime. Also, Yumotozaka, lined with traditional wooden buildings, was illuminated by soft pale light at night, creating a nostalgic atmosphere with a different charm than during the day. We walked around the same place during the daytime when many tourists were visiting, but the atmosphere changed drastically at night, when the place was quiet and peaceful. There were hardly any pedestrians on the streets, and the night was deserted and quiet. Many of the restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops in the alleyways seemed to close before 7:00 pm. Several izakayas and ramen shops in the Arima Onsen Station area were open.

The next morning, we headed to Chef’s room Kuriya on the second floor for a 7:30 a.m. breakfast. Breakfast was served at the same place as dinner. There is a choice of Western or Japanese cuisine, and this time we chose the Western breakfast at the counter table. A sumptuous breakfast was already set up for us. Bacon, sausage, yogurt with black beans, vegetable soup, salad, scrambled eggs, and thick slices of bread were offered. The bread, baked every morning by a local bakery, had a yeasty aroma. A drink of soy milk, tomato, or tangerine juice was included. Although the portions were small, we were very satisfied with the delicate flavors that we want to eat again and again. Breakfast starts between 7:30 and 9:30 am.

After breakfast, we decided to return to our room and relax, enjoying the private onsen in the room as much as we could. Then we checked out before noon and left the ryokan. It had been a long time since I had seen my best friend again, and we had a very productive weekend. Even though we live in different places and in different environments, the happy memories we shared in the past never fade away. We are busy raising children and working every day, but we are very thankful to have our best friends to travel with us. 

Have a nice trip!  Welcome to receive any questions about the property from the below space.

Check Availability and Pricing for the ryokan on Agoda

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Is the location easy to access?

There are two ways to get to Arima Onsen from Osaka: highway bus and train. The highway bus is the easiest, as there are no transfers, and it is very convenient.

Two highway bus companies, JR Bus and Hankyu Bus, operate buses from Osaka to Arima Onsen. The journey time from Osaka to Arima Onsen takes about 50 minutes, and the fare for both buses is 1,400 yen one way. The bus stops are located at Osaka Station JR Express Bus Terminal for JR bus and at Hankyu Highway Bus Osaka-Umeda Terminal for Hankyu bus.

I would recommend using Hankyu bus since Nakanobo Zuien is located very near Arima Onsen Bus Stop on Hankyu bus.

Hankyu Highway Bus Osaka-Umeda Terminal is located on the first floor of the Hankyu Sanban Gai building in Osaka Umeda Station. Go out of the central ticket gate on the second floor of Osaka Umeda Station, go down the stairs, take the narrow street on the left in front of Kinokuniya Bookstore on the first floor toward the Chayamachi Exit, and the highway bus terminal is on your right. Bus tickets can be purchased at the bus terminal or on the website.

How about toiletries & in-room amenities?

All of the amenities are taken care of including enough toiletries, yukatas, pajamas, a green tea set, and a coffee machine, etc. You can travel light. Also, there are 5 kinds of pillows that you can choose from. The free WiFi reception was good on the property. Then complimentary orange juice, apple juice, coffee, English tea, and cookies, etc., were available at the lounge from 8:00-12:00, 13:00-17:00, and 20:00-23:00. Don’t forget to relax here while viewing a beautiful traditional garden. Also, complimentary beer was available near the communal baths. There is a convenience store nearby.

How about In-house Facilities?

There are wonderful communal indoor and outdoor hot spring baths. They are open from 5:30-12:00, 13:30-24:00. Also, there are two private family hot spring baths. One of them is a Kinsen spring which contains high levels of iron and salt. It costs 2,200JPY for 60min. You need to book it in advance. The other is a Ginsen spring which is mixed carbonated and radium springs. You can use the Ginsen spring for free whenever it’s not occupied. They are open from 6:30 to 23:00.

Then you can use communal hot spring baths in the sister inn, Arima Grand Hotel. Staff sends you to the hotel if you request.

If you have tattoos, you may not be permitted to use the public bathing areas. Please book a room with a private onsen or use the private family onsens mentioned above.

Then this ryokan is an almost universal design. There are some universal rooms. Wheelchairs are available for borrowing. If you bring people with weak legs, you may want to inform the staff in advance as they can arrange a room near the lift.

Have a nice trip! Welcome to receive any questions about the property from the below space.  Check Availability and Pricing for the ryokan on Agoda

Info about Arima Onsen Nakanobo Zuien

Style Luxury Onsen Ryokan
Check-in and out times
Estimated Price 70,000 JPY for 2 adults per room
Contact E-mail 
Internet Connection Free wifi in the ryokan
Facility Information Wheelchairs are available
Pets are not allowed
The free parking lot is available 
Location Arima Onsen Nakanobo Zuien’s MAP
Access 5min walk from Arima Onsen Station
Address and TEL 808, Arima-Cho, Kita-Ku Kobe Hyogo 651-1401
Tel +81 78 904 0787
Official Homepage Arima Onsen Nakanobo Zuien’s HP

*All information above is as of the date that I posted on my blog.

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