This is a review of my stay at Arima Onsen Tocen Goshoboh.
I had finished work earlier than scheduled in Osaka on Friday afternoon, so I decided to enjoy Arima Onsen before returning to Tokyo. To get straight to the point, this ryokan was a place where the authenticity and culture of the long history and prestige of the ryokan was certainly worth the price of a luxury ryokan.
Around 3:00 p.m., I took the Hankyu bus from Hankyu Highway Bus Osaka-Umeda Terminal at Osaka Umeda Station and arrived at Arima Onsen by 4:00 p.m. As I got off the bus at Arima Onsen Bus Stop, I could hear the sound of the river flowing out of nowhere, creating a pleasant atmosphere. The ryokan where I stayed this time was visible from the bus stop, so I recognized it easily. It was about a two-minute walk away. While the number of large hotels is increasing in Arima Onsen, I was impressed by the way they are preserving the wonderful wooden architecture. This ryokan is also registered as a tangible cultural property. At the entrance, an old-fashioned shishiodoshi was placed, and reddish-brown hot spring water was slowly flowing from a cut bamboo tube. I noticed that I could faintly smell the scent of hot spring water.
Pulling the sliding door and entering the building, I found a refined yet sophisticated space that skillfully blended the essence of a Western mansion with a traditional interior. To the left was the reception counter, to the right a small souvenir shop, a tatami-mat waiting room with two round kotatsu tables, and next to it a small teppanyaki restaurant.
Then the staff greeted me warmly. The wooden structure, which was built more than 100 years ago, was quaint in its original form, which is hard to find in modern times. At the same time, I felt the dignity and history that only a long-established ryokan can offer.
I then headed to the room where I would be staying, looking with great interest at the interior design, antique furniture, and ornaments that had been carefully selected one by one by the owner of the ryokan. Inside the ryokan, there were tastefully placed antique furniture chairs and tables here and there to rest on, as well as many artifacts and Chinese poetry motifs to please the eye.
This time I stayed in a standard room called SHOU, located on the 4th floor. This ryokan is a wooden building built in the early Showa period (early 20th century), so there is no elevator in the ryokan. After entering the room with a four-digit code, I found a small room with a table and chairs on the left side, with a Japanese tea set and sweets on the table. Further in was a Japanese-style room with an alcove, two twin beds on tatami mats, and a cozy couch in the center of the porch. A writing desk was placed on the right side of the porch. A traditional tiled roof and an old tree could be seen from the window with a bamboo screen. I was also impressed by the beauty of the shades of the shoji pattern that emerged in the natural light from the window. By the way, all standard-type rooms do not have a bathtub or shower. There was a restroom near the entrance of the room and a bathroom sink on the left side of the porch. If you are concerned about this, it would be advisable to book a superior type room, deluxe type room, or premium suite.
After this, I decided to go to the communal hot spring baths on 1F I had been looking forward to. This ryokan has a large bathhouse with a very interesting structure, and it is a semi-mixed bathing style, taking advantage of the reddish-brown water feature. Passing through a cave-like corridor, one comes to a semi-mixed bathing area with a low partition. The onsen baths are separated into men’s and women’s baths, and while soaking shoulder-deep in the water, guests can look at each other and talk to each other. This is an innovative idea that takes advantage of the reddish-brown, opaque hot spring water, and is very popular with families and couples because they can share the same space while bathing in separate tubs. Being a shy person, I was hesitant at first, but since I went all the way to Arima Onsen and stayed at the historic ryokan of the famous onsen, I decided to be brave and give it a try. My impression was that, contrary to my expectations, this was an amazingly unique experience. I ended up using this communal onsen bath three times during my stay: when I used it around 5:00 p.m., it was crowded, but when I used it around 9:00 p.m. and early the next day, no one was using it. Normally, onsens in ryokans are crowded before dinner, so I would recommend avoiding this time of the day.
Having said that, those who do not wish to use the semi-mixed communal bathhouse may want to stay in a deluxe-type room or a premium suite type room. The premium suite type rooms come with private onsens. Although deluxe-type rooms do not have private onsens, you can use a private onsen called “Shiho-an” with a tea ceremony room, located in a separate building in a beautiful sukiya-style architecture, for 50 minutes free of charge. “Shiho-an” is located in a beautifully landscaped and tastefully Japanese garden, and offer a wonderful view of the private onsen.
Then there is also a private family onsen, “Yuya Matsukaze,” located about a 3-minute walk from the ryokan. The private indoor hot spring bath is built in a modest house, allowing you to enjoy the private family onsen in a completely private setting. Reservations are required upon check-in and cost JPY3,300 for 50 minutes. This private family onsen can be reserved regardless of which room you stay in.
After enjoying the communal onsen, I decided to take a walk around the ryokan. Leaving the ryokan, I turned right at the corner before the bus stop and found a narrow alley lined with small restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops. The area around the ryokan was lined with traditional wooden buildings and houses with lattice doors, and it was very pleasant to wander around the area. As I walked along the narrow alleys, the sweet aroma of steamed buns and waffles puffing in the storefronts and the smell of savory croquettes came out of nowhere, and I began to get hungry. Before I knew it, it was already past six o’clock.
I decided to have dinner at a restaurant called Arima zen Sushi, which I visited last time. This restaurant has counter seats, so it is easy to come in alone. I especially love the pink mackerel sushi, which is their specialty. The exquisite taste of the mackerel with sansho (Japanese pepper) was great. They also had French dry white wine to go with the sushi, as well as California white wine.
After dinner, I went back to my room and tried to do some work at the writing desk on the porch, but could not because the lighting in the room was quite dark. I understand that this is part of the nostalgic atmosphere and cozy style that it forms, but I still thought it was not very suitable for working on the computer or reading at night. Also, because the building is old, there were a lot of steps and the sound resonated well. The ryokan is not suitable for families with small children. Some understanding would be required, as I could hear footsteps on the floor below and in the room next door, as well as talk in the hallway.
The next morning, I woke up around 7:00 a.m. and went to the semi-mixed bathhouse again. It was early in the morning, so as I expected, no one was there. After that, I went to the dining room by the first floor entrance. I could choose breakfast time from 8:00, 8:30, or 9:00. I requested the earliest at 8:00. Breakfast is Japanese only, no Western food. The menu offered carefully prepared saikyo-yaki silver cod, salad, ganmono dashi, onsen egg and miso soup with shijimi clam. Particularly memorable was the hot tofu made with black beans from Tanba. The slightly colored tofu was fine and very tasty. Overall, the portions were small.
After breakfast, I packed quickly and checked out before 9:00. I would have liked to relax with a cup of coffee in the library with an old Flugel piano on the first floor, but I will look forward to that next time.
This time, I was a bit hectic as I was scheduled to return to Tokyo in the afternoon, but it was a fulfilling weekend as I enjoyed the historic Arima Onsen ryokan and its famous hot springs.
Check Availability and Pricing for the ryokan on Agoda
TOP3 Best Hotels and Ryokans with Private Onsen in Arima Onsen
TOP3 Best Gourmet Hotels and Ryokans in Arima Onsen
TOP3 Most Expensive Hotels and Ryokans in Arima Onsen
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 Tocen Goshoboh 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.
Rooms I would recommend?
The ryokan has four types of rooms: standard, superior, deluxe, and premier suite.
If you prefer a room with a private onsen (hot spring), I would recommend either the deluxe or premier suite type rooms.
If you stay in a deluxe type room, you can use the private onsen located in a beautiful Sukiya-style building in a separate building for 50 minutes free of charge. Reservations are required upon check-in.
The premier suite type rooms come with fabulous private onsens.
The superior type rooms are newly renovated in 2021.
You can request in-room dining except for the standard type rooms.
As noted above, the standard type rooms have restrooms and bathroom sinks, but no bathtub or shower. You can use the semi-mixed communal hot spring baths.
How about toiletries & in-room amenities?
All of the amenities are taken care of including minimum toiletries, a green tea set, and yukatas. Also, a DVD player and a humidifier were placed in my room. The free WiFi reception is good. In the lobby, there is a PC available for anyone to use. Complimentary coffee is available at the library lounge on 1F. Room service is not available. Two convenience stores are nearby.
Check Availability and Pricing for the ryokan on Agoda
Infor about Arima Onsen Tocen Goshoboh
|Check-in and out times
|Estimated Price||60,000 JPY for 2 adults per room|
||Fill the form in|
|Internet Connection||WiFi reception in the property
|Facility Information||Wheelchairs are not available
Pets are not allowed
The free parking lot is available
|Location||Arima Onsen Tocen Goshoboh’s MAP|
|Access||Refer to the above|
|Address and TEL||〒651-1401 858 Arima-cho Kita-Ku Kobe Japan
|Official Homepage||Arima Onsen Tocen Goshoboh’s HP|
*All information above is as of the date that I posted on my blog.
Still not sure where to stay in Arima Onsen?
Browse through my TOP3 Ranking Lists of all the best places to stay in Arima Onsen.
Alternatively, you could leave a message at the below space for advice.