arima onsen with kids

Arima Onsen in Kobe with Kids: What to Do and Where to Stay

Last Updated: April 15, 2024

Tucked into Mount Rokko in Kobe, Arima Onsen is one of Japan’s oldest and most famous onsen towns. 

So it may be no surprise that Arima Onsen is one of my favorite places to visit in Kansai. It’s accessible enough for a day trip from Osaka or Kobe, not too crowded, and the food and onsen are fantastic. I think it’s a great place to bring kids as well! 

In this article, I’ll share my experiences going on a family trip to Arima Onsen, specifically with a young child. Hopefully, this will help others when planning their visit to this historic location.

There’s a map at the end of the article as well to help you with your trip! 

How to Get to Arima Onsen 

Arima Onsen Station is located about an hour by train from Kobe Station or 30 minutes by car, or by bus. Depending on the route you take, you may need to transfer trains a few times. The simplest route is to take the Kobe Dentetsu-Kobe Kosoku Line from Shinkaichi Station and then switch at Arimaguchi Station to the Shintetsu Arima Line.

The easiest way, and recommended if you have kids, is to take a bus from Shin-Kobe Station or Sannomiya Station.  

It takes about 1.5 hours by train from Osaka-Umeda Station or one hour by bus, and 2 hours by train from Kyoto Station or a little over an hour by bus.

What to Do in Arima Onsen with Kids 


Tabearuki means “to walk and eat” in Japanese. Arima Onsen is a small and very walkable town, and because of this, there are many shops selling food that’s portable.

Keep in mind that people usually stop in a corner to eat instead of eating while walking, so it’s more of “stop, eat, walk”.

Some recommended foods to try with kids in Arima Onsen include:

Tansan Senbei

Tansan Senbei

Tansan senbei is a rice cracker (senbei) made with carbonated water (tansan). The carbonated water helps make the cracker airier and crisper.

You can find Tansan Senbei sold at various stores and in different flavors throughout the town but one rare experience is trying freshly made Tansan Senbei at Yunohanado Honpo. You’re supposed to eat it within 5 seconds to enjoy the chewy texture of the senbei before it hardens. It’s quite hot, though, so I don’t recommend it for small children (instead, grab one of their chocolate-coated Tansan Senbei, which is what we did for our daughter).  

Arima Cider Teppo Water

arima onsen teppo water

This is believed to be the first cider made in Japan and is bound to be a hit with kids who enjoy carbonated beverages. This can be found at stores throughout Arima Onsen.


manju at arima onsen

My daughter is a huge fan of these steamed rice cakes, and thankfully Arima Onsen has plenty of shops selling them! I recommend trying the brown sugar and yam manju from Mitsumori Honten.

Note that these rice cakes are very hot when served fresh, so I recommend taking a bite out of it first to help it cool down before giving it to a small child.


gelato at arima onsen

Arima Gelateria Stagione is a famous shop that placed 38 in the 2022 Gelato Festival World Ranking. They serve 18 flavors of gelato and each cup is served with a Tansan Senbei. My daughter, obviously, loved the gelato from here. 

Fruit Juice

arima onsen fruit juice

Arima Cinq is a shop that specializes in Arima beer and fruit juice, so it’s perfect for the whole family. I got some apple juice for my daughter, which had freshly cut apple slices in it, while I grabbed a pint.


We really liked this cheesecake-on-a-stick from Uwanari Coffee. It was a fun way to enjoy this classic dessert! The coffee here is great as well.

(Note that some of the recommendations above might sound familiar because I wrote an article for Japanese Food Guide all about food in Arima Onsen! Check it out for recommendations for parents as well, like craft beer.)

Onsen Hopping

It should be no surprise that visiting onsen (hot springs) is a must-do activity in Arima Onsen.

Arima Onsen is famous for having two types of onsen, ginsen and kinsen, each with its own unique health benefits.

Ginsen refers to “silver” onsen water, which is transparent and is believed to help with blood circulation, relieve fatigue and strengthen the immune system.

Kinsen refers to “gold” onsen water, an orange-brown color that my daughter called “orange juice” when she saw it for the first time at age three. This onsen water’s color comes from its high concentration of iron, which causes it to become “golden” when interacting with air. Kinsen is moisturizing and contains rare ingredients that are hard to find elsewhere in the world.

kinsen water at arima onsen

You can experience these hot springs at various ryokan, which I’ll cover later in this article, as well as day trip bathhouses. 

If you haven’t already, make sure to read my article about going to onsen with kids so that you’re prepared! 

Tip: Bring a hand towel with you so you can enjoy the free footbath in town.

foot bath arima onsen

Arima Toys & Automata Museum

arima onsen toy museum

This museum is bound to make any kid happy. It’s filled with wooden toys and games from Germany, some of which kids can play with. My daughter spent an hour here and she didn’t want to leave! It’s especially a great place to visit if it’s hot or raining.

Fee: 800 yen for visitors ages 13 and up, 500 yen for kids ages three to twelve.

Zuihoji Park

If you’re visiting in autumn, head to Zuihoji Park where you can see beautiful autumn foliage. It’s a nice walk through a peaceful forest even when there are no autumn leaves, such as in spring.

Fee: Free! 

Arima River Kasen Shinsui Park

Arima River Kasen Shinsui Park

This park near the station doesn’t have any playground equipment, but my daughter enjoyed walking here and looking at the running water. In winter they have some Christmas decorations and in spring they hold some cherry blossom festival events here.

Shrines and Temples

There are a few shrines and temples in Arima Onsen:

Onsenji Temple

onsenji temple at arima onsen

This temple, founded in 738, is believed to protect Arima Onsen. In spring you can see the temple framed by some beautiful cherry blossom trees while in autumn you can see the changing leaves on maple trees.

This is located in town and is easy to get to with kids. 

Tosen Shrine

This shrine is nestled among trees and it takes a bit of a climb up many stone steps to get there. For this reason, I’m not sure I would recommend it for those with toddlers and smaller kids unless you’re okay with carrying them.

It’s believed that if you visit this shrine after soaking in one of Arima Onsen’s baths, you will be blessed with children.

Arima Inari Shrine 

This is another shrine in a forest and is located up several steps so it offers a beautiful view once you’re at the top. This shrine is frequented by the Imperial family in Japan. 

Searching for Onigawara

onigawara in arima onsen

Onigawara are roof tile ornaments that are shaped like oni or demons. These can be found throughout the town and my daughter just loved them! These are great for pictures, too.

Onsen Day Trip to Arima Onsen with Kids 

One of my favorite things about Arima Onsen is that it’s easy to do a day trip if you feel like relaxing but not paying an arm and a leg for a ryokan stay.

Taikou no Yu


This is one of the most popular places in Arima Onsen to experience on a day trip. This onsen theme park is affordable and there are multiple baths to experience. It has two restaurants as well, an area where fish nibble away the dead skin on your feet for an extra charge, a souvenir shop, and a room where you can relax and read manga. 

Taikou no Yu

They provide you with towels and jinbei (Japanese-style loose shirt and pants) to change into (including for kids), and like all onsen, there’s shampoo, conditioner, and body soap. 

Personally, I found it a little crowded since many people visit and my husband said he couldn’t even try some of the baths because of the number of people.

Rakuten Travel offers a very affordable package that includes a train pass to Arima Onsen from Osaka or Kyoto as well as a ticket to Taiko no Yu.

Ginsuiso Choraku

We went on an onsen day trip here and had an amazing time. They have several onsen, including some beautiful open-air onsen that offer views of trees with maple leaves (momiji) in the fall. One of the open-air onsen made me feel like I was in a forest.

There weren’t many people when we went, despite it being a weekend and peak autumn foliage season, and at times my daughter and I had the onsen to ourselves!

After we enjoyed the onsen, we had lunch at the ryokan. This lunch consisted of a gorgeous course of seasonal Japanese food, which you can see in the reel below.

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A post shared by Tiny Tot in Tokyo (now in Kansai) (@tinytotintokyo)

Other famous day-trip bathhouses include:

Gin no Yu

Kin no Yu

Note that although Gin no Yu and Kin no Yu are famous, they are quite small and don’t have outdoor baths (rotenburo).

Where to Stay in Arima Onsen with Kids

Hyoe Koyokaku

Arima Spa Hyoe KOYOKAKU

I stayed here with my family when my daughter was three and I would gladly stay here again! They boast six public baths as well as two private open-air baths. Their baths have both Kinsen and Ginsen.

The view from the room was absolutely spectacular! We also chose to have our dinner in our room, which featured Kobe beef, and it was nothing short of amazing. 

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motoyu Ryuusenkaku

This is a fantastic destination for families with children of all ages. They offer a range of amenities and services for kids, such as a baby room with a bottle sanitizer, a kid’s corner with books and toys, and even homemade meals for babies from 4 months old.

The Family Suite also has a private onsen bath featuring Arima Onsen’s Kinsen onsen. 

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Ginsuiso Choraku

This ryokan that I mentioned earlier primarily focuses on overnight stays. The onsen and food are incredible and the rooms feature views of the mountains.

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Wrap-up: Arima Onsen with Kids

If you’re in the Kansai area, I highly recommend visiting Arima Onsen. Whether it’s overnight or just a day trip, your family is bound to love this small and historical onsen town just as much as mine does.


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Hi! I'm Kay

I’m a long-term Japan resident and parent who loves writing and traveling. My goal is to help parents from around the world navigate living and traveling with kids in Japan.

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