Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Ichi no Yu: The Hot Spring With the Best Medical Benefits

If receiving medical benefits from the hot spring is important to you, Ichi no Yu (一の湯) is the best public bathhouse to visit in Kinosaki Onsen. The spring quality was ranked the best in Japan by Japan’s Father of Hot Spring Medicine. Moreover, if you are after an experience of bathing in a cave or wish to rent a private onsen tub, Ichi no Yu may be the best option for you!

Table of Contents

Ichi no Yu, The Landmark of Kinosaki Onsen

© 豊岡市

Ichi no Yu is located in the middle of the hot spring town in front of the Ōbashi Bridge (王橋). It is the landmark of Kinosaki Onsen. The building is so magnificent that many mistake it for a Kabuki Theater (歌舞伎座)!

Remember to walk past Ichi no Yu at night, again. Both the Ōbashi Bridge and Ichi no Yu’s building are lit up, which makes the bathhouses appear extra majestic.

Because Japan’s Father of Hot Spring Medicine praised the hot spring source here (Arayu, 新湯) as the best in the country (天下一の湯) in 1734, the bathhouse was named Ichi no Yu. This is also why the stone monument in the small garden beside the bathhouse has the phrase Kainai Daiichisen (海内第一泉) written. As expected, Ichi no Yu is one of the most visited public bathhouses in Kinosaki Onsen.

In addition, probably because the word “First (Ichi, 一)” is in the bathhouse’s name, the onsen here is known as the hot spring that helps you pass exams and bring you good fortune (合格祈願・開運招福の湯).

The bathhouse is most renowned for its cave bath. Some even said that being surrounded by rocky surfaces while indulging in the warm onsen simulates being in a mother’s womb.

After enjoying the hot spring, you can continue relaxing on the second floor. The floor is heated for the guests to lie on all year round!

Tip: There may be a queue on weekend evenings at Ichi no Yu. A morning bath is recommended.

What to Bring to Ichi no Yu

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

Also, towels are only provided for a fee. We paid 200 yen for a regular towel for the visit. A bath towel can also be rented.

Ichi no Yu’s Cave Bath

The bathhouse’s cave bath was created utilizing the natural rocky hill. Soaking in the onsen in the semi-open-air bath while feeling the rugged rock surface will make you feel as if you are bathing in the wild. It is both relaxing and spiritual to bathe here.

The cave bath has a capacity of a maximum of 15 people. As it is semi-open-air, you can enjoy it even on a rainy and snowy day. The rock ceiling will shield you from the snow so it won’t accumulate on your head!

© 豊岡市

Moreover, this outdoor bath generally has the perfect bath temperature if you don’t usually take scorching hot showers.

The Private Onsen Tub at Ichi no Yu

If bathing with strangers isn’t your cup of tea, you can pay extra to utilize Ichi no Yu’s private onsen on the second floor.

The Hand and Foot Spa Next to Ichi no Yu

If you don’t have time to bathe in a bathhouse, how about spending a couple of minutes at the hand and foot spa next to Ichi no Yu’s stone monument?

© 豊岡市

While foot spas are commonly found in Japan’s hot spring towns, not many have one that also has a hand spa. Especially on a cold winter day, this little spot is gold to warm you up!

The facility is free to use but popular. Thus, it may get crowded. If there aren’t many people at the hand and foot spa, take off your shoes and put your tired feet into the hot spring before resuming your exploration of Kinosaki Onsen again!

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

  • Ichi no Yu is open daily from 7 am to 11 pm except for Wednesdays.
  • The admission fee is
    • 800 yen for adults
    • 400 yen for children from 3 to elementary school students
  • The bathhouse is a 5 to 10-minute walk from JR Kinosaki Onsen Station.

The Hot Spring Drinking Fountain in Front of Ichi no Yu

There is also a drinking fountain across the road beside the Ōbashi Bridge. You can use it to wash your hands, and the warm water will smoothen your skin, too!

As there are no cups around, use your water bottle or your hands to taste the onsen. The hot spring flows continuously, so there is no hygiene issue.

It has a slightly salty taste.

Other Public Bathhouses in Kinosaki Onsen

As you know, Ichi no Yu is just one of the seven public bathhouses in Kinosaki Onsen. Especially if you plan to stay in one of the town’s ryokan, trying out other public bathhouses is highly recommended. 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!

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

Visit Kinosaki Onsen for Extraordinary Michelin Certified Sceneries

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

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 Kinosaki, don’t just stay in the ryokan or public bathhouses. Explore the town!

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

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