Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Gosho no Yu: Kinosaki Onsen’s Best Public Bathhouse

Among all Kinosaki Onsen‘s public bathhouses, Gosho no Yu (御所の湯) is the most recommended onsen facility. There aren’t many places where you can adore a 3m mighty waterfall while soaking in a hot spring, so be sure to stop by! While the bathhouse doesn’t have an indoor pool, a part of the onsen tub is covered by a roof, so bathing at Gosho no Yu is still possible even if it rains.

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Why Was the Bathhouse Named Gosho no Yu

Gosho means the emperor’s residence, so you might suspect the bathhouse has some connection with the imperial family.

And you are correct! Gosho no Yu got its name because the older sister of Emperor Go-Horikawa (後堀河天皇) visited the bathhouse in 1267. Thus, technically, you would be bathing in the same facility used by a Japanese royal!

Gosho no Yu, Kinosaki Onsen’s Most Visited Public Bathhouse

Because of the waterfall and the vegetation planted to replicate the Tajima region’s mountains, Gosho no Yu is the most popular bathhouse in Kinosaki Onsen. Whether it is the staff at the tourist information center or the shops and restaurants in town, when we asked them which bathhouse they liked the most, the answer was always Gosho no Yu.

From the congestion indicator, Gosho no Yu is always the most crowded. We visited the bathhouse around 4 pm on a weekday. It was around 80% full. By the time we came out, the number had skyrocketed to 150%!

Was the bathing area crowded? There were surely many people, but we still had a reasonable amount of space to enjoy the onsen and were able to use the spa pool jets and the area where you could lie down while bathing.

While we didn’t use it, there is a steam sauna too.

The Best Time to Visit Gosho no Yu

According to the staff we spoke to, Gosho no Yu is the least busy between 6 pm and 8 pm. During other times of the day, the bathhouse is usually packed.

Also, between 7 am and 9 am, Gosho no Yu is far less congested in comparison to times from 10 am till dinner time.

Gosho no Yu’s Lobby

Among the seven bathhouses in Kinosaki, Gosho no Yu is located in a relatively quieter part of the town towards the mountain where Kinosaki Onsen Ropeway is located. If you know nothing about the bathhouse, you might have skipped it. But once you pass through its gate, it is like another world!

The lobby is spacious, with a large resting area on the right. Covered by tatami mats, you can continue to relax and chill after a hot spring session. Milk and cold drink vending machines are also available for you to rehydrate.

When you rest, remember to look up. The ceiling is decorated with gorgeous paintings. Divided by squares, each small square has an image of a type of flower or bird (the last photo on the Instagram post).

The painting on each of the wooden sliding doors together creates a theme (the 3rd photo of the Instagram post).

What to Do at Gosho no Yu’s Reception

When you are ready, head to the reception. If you are a ryokan guest, you should receive a free hot spring pass for access to all bathhouses. Simply scan the pass at the reception to enter. The same applies if you have a One-Day Hot Spring Pass Yumepa (城崎温泉1日入浴券 ゆめぱ).

If you don’t have the pass, you can purchase the pass from the receptionist or simply pay for your visit.

The Lockers at Gosho no Yu

If you plan to visit Kinosaki Onsen as a day visitor like us, there is no need to worry about where to leave your valuables. Gosho no Yu has many lockers. The first one is at the entrance for your shoes. Remember to take the key once you put your shoes in.

The second locker is close to the reception for your valuables (refer to the second photo in the Instagram post). While there is another locker in the changing room, leaving your wallet and phone in this locker is better as the staff will definitely notice it if someone is trying to break it.

So, by the time you are ready to bathe, you will have 3 sets of locker keys. You can decide whether to bring all of them with you or leave the shoe locker and valuable locker keys in the changing room lockers.

What to Bring to Gosho no Yu

Like other bathhouses in Kinosaki, the amenities at Gosho no Yu are limited. Shampoo and body soap are available in the shower area. However, no toner or lotion is provided.

Also, towels aren’t provided for free. We paid 200 yen for a regular towel for the visit. A bath towel can also be rented.

Gosho no Yu’s Business Hours, Admission Fee, and Access Information

  • Gosho no Yu is open daily from 7 am to 11 pm except Thursdays.
  • The admission fee is
    • 800 yen for adults
    • 400 yen for children from 3 to elementary school students
  • The bathhouse is a 10-minute walk from JR Kinosaki Onsen Station.

Other Public Bathhouses in Kinosaki Onsen

Click the photo for all you need to know about Kinosaki Onsen’s 7 public bathhouses!

As you know, Gosho no Yu is just one of the seven public bathhouses in Kinosaki Onsen. If you plan to stay in one of the town’s ryokan, it is highly recommended that you try out other public bathhouses. Why? Because you will get a free pass to all of them!

For more information about the public bathhouses in town, refer to our article on the Seven Public Bathhouses in Kinosaki Onsen!

Visit Kinosaki Onsen for Magnificent Michelin Certified Scenery

Kinosaki Onsen is a hot spring resort with rich historical and cultural elements that also sports many recreational activities. In addition, the spectacular view from Mt. Daishi is the recipient of a two Michelin star rating!

So when you visit it, don’t just stay in the ryokan or public bathhouses. Explore the town!

For more information, please refer to our article on Kinosaki Onsen!

Click the photo to find out more about the stunning Onsen Town

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