One of Japan’s three oldest onsens, is Arima Onsen in Hyogo Prefecture.
At Arima Onsen there are two hot springs, Kinsen and Ginsen.
In recent years the amount of water flowing out at Arima has led to the reduction of onsen facilities that provide pure unadulterated hot spring water.
Amongst those left and has a great reputation is Kamiobo, which we introduce today.
At Kamiobo, the water is so concentrated with minerals it is almost thick like chocolate fondue.
One of Arima’s best Kamiobo
At Arima Onsen there are many onsen inns and bath houses. But out of the many places one stands out in popularity, Kamiobo.
As I mentioned earlier there are only a few places remaining in Arima Onsen that provide pure unadulterated water straight from the hot springs.
Out of those few left is Kamiobo. Not only are they providing untouched pure water they are drawing it from one of the springs from the Kinsen, called Tenjin Sengen.
*Kinsen is used to describe the brownish orange hot spring water in Arima Onsen. *Sengen means a spot where an onsen source is.
Tenjin Sengen, which is the most widely used at Arima Onsen
If you walk along the side alley of Kamiobo you come to Tenjinjya. Inside this shrine you will find the Tenjin Sengen.
It seems in Arima the people revere onsens as deities. The entrance to Tenjinjya is discolored a brownish orange.
Also, when you step onto the grounds you find a spot where steam billows out. This is the source Tenjin Sengen.
At 97 degrees it is basically boiling out of the ground. You can feel the energy of the earth directly here as well as the thrill and gratitude to onsens. I urge you to check it out when you come and visit.
Kamiobo is right in front of this Tenjin Sengen. You can fully experience this hot spring water as fresh as possible.
At the foot of the stairs is…
When you open the door to the bath house at Kamiobo you find some stairs. When you go down those steps you find the above view.
On the right you find a clear bath tub on the left is a muddy brown bath tub. This muddy brown water is the water straight from Tenjin Sengen. When it first comes out of the ground it is clear, but because of the large amounts of salt and iron in the water, by the time it gets here not 50m away it oxidizes quickly and turns into this chocolate fondue looking hot water. This thick of a brown in onsen water is probably found nowhere else in the nation.
No outdoor bath? Yes, Kamiobo only has an indoor bath. There is a women only bath but it is smaller and of course only indoors.
I just want to say one thing. If you want to bathe in onsen water that can only be found here at Arima Onsen then this is the place to do it.
*the clear water on the right isn’t onsen water it is just plain hot water.
An extremely thick opaqueness, with zero clarity
I hop in. Do this, before you do though. Before you get in mix the water thoroughly.
The reason why is the water that is flowing in is extremely hot, and the water at the top is where it is the hottest.
When mixed the temperature drops gradually, and the minerals that settled at the bottom get mixed in with the top water turning the water a thicker darker color.
Mixing it is actually pretty fun because of this color change.
When in the water, as you can see it is so thick it looks like chocolate. I wouldn’t be far off from saying it is probably one of the most concentrated onsen in all of Japan.
When toweling off be careful because the towel will change color in an instant. It might be fun to keep a small towel in a pail of this water to dye it as a memento.
Check the water easily in a wash bowl
As you can see here the water is completely brown and with zero clarity.
Alongside the salt and iron, there is calcium as well as potassium minerals in the water so if you dump the water on your head your hair becomes stiff for a while.
So, normally I wouldn’t suggest that but for onsen lovers go ahead and enjoy that.
Have the best hot spring water Arima Onsen has to offer
Again, at Arima Onsen the brownish orange water is called Kinsen and the clear water is called Ginsen.
These are both actually registered trademarks of Arima Onsen.
The Ginsen clear waters are actually all using antibiotics in their circulation systems so they don’t have that special onsen type feel to them.
Because of that, when visiting Arima Onsen I can only suggest coming here to Kamiobo.
I am sure it will be an onsen visit you won’t forget.
[Name] Kamiobo [Address] 1175 Arimacho, Kita Ward, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 651-1401 [Tel] 078-904-0531 [Visitor bath hours] 15:00～18:00 1000 JPY per person per hour
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