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Photo By: Visit Kinosaki
Region
Kansai
Island
Honshu
Largest City
Kobe
Population
5,550,742

Izushi

Experience the charms of old Japan without the crowds.

Photo by: Visit Kinosaki Izushi Castle Ruins alongside Arikoyama Inari Shrine’s red torii gates

Just south of Kinosaki Onsen lies the quaint castle town of Izushi. While the red torii gates (shrine gates) of Arikoyama Inari Shrine, sweeping views atop the Izushi Castle Ruins and retro photo-ops in front of Shinkoro Clocktower draw people in for a taste of what it feels like to travel back in time, many more activities await with a whole day trip to this hidden gem beyond Kinosaki Onsen.

Izushi Sara Soba: Izushi’s gourmet specialty

Photo by: Visit Kinosaki Fuel up for the day

A staple of the town’s identity and a must-try for visitors, Izushi Sara Soba is a dish consisting of buckwheat noodles served on five different plates to showcase another one of Izushi’s specialties, Izushi Yaki (Izushi-made porcelain). Izushi Sara Soba is eaten by dipping a chopstick full into chilled Japanese soup stock called dashi. Daikon (radish), grated yam, wasabi, spring onions and raw egg can also be added to the dashi for some variety. There are about 50 Izushi Sara Soba shops dotting the town and some even offer visitors the chance to make their own noodles for lunch. Izushi Sara Soba and Izushi Yaki can be bought as souvenirs in local gift shops.

Eirakukan Kabuki Theater

Photo by: Visit Kinosaki For the drama buffs

Eirakukan is one of the oldest Kabuki theaters in the Kansai region with its original opening dating back to 1901. Nowadays, visitors from all over Japan and abroad flock to Eirakukan’s once-a-year Kabuki performance (usually held in September) for an unparalleled cultural experience. For guests who miss out on the yearly performance, the chance to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the mysterious workings of Eirakukan’s stage is reason enough to visit this cultural property. On days when there are no scheduled performances, an all-access pass to roam freely behind, under and on top of Eirakukan’s stage is included with entry.

Willow Craft: A legacy woven through a millennium

Photo by: Visit Kinosaki The epitome of luxury craftsmanship

Yanagi-gori (willow craft) is wickerwork made by hand using a species of willow that thrives in the area where Izushi is located. This sturdy and supple material produces durable items such as traveling trunks, baskets and even bento boxes. This endangered Japanese craft has a history spanning 1,200 years and is now only made in Izushi by one officially certified craftsman and his apprentices. Bags, baskets and suitcases can be purchased at Takumi Kogei, the craftsman’s workshop. Visitors looking to try making a willow craft bag can sign up for a workshop at Kiryu Traditional Crafts.

Festivals

Photo by: Visit Kinosaki First Day of the Horse Festival

The First Day of the Horse Festival is held in March and draws crowds with a procession of shrine maidens dressed as foxes down the torii-lined staircase of Arikoyama Inari Shrine. Spring brings the annual Soba-Eating Festival in April, where local teams face off in an all-you-can-eat soba competition.  In October, visitors can check out the Kimono Festival and also colliding shrines at the Autumn Festival.  A colorful and lively Castle Festival is held every November, including a procession of 120 people dressed as feudal lords with 30 men dressed as spear-wielding samurai that parade through the town.

Things To Know

More information

To learn more about Izushi, check out https://visitkinosaki.com/in-the-area/izushi/

How To Get There

Address

By train

Local trains from Toyooka Station to Kinosaki Onsen Station are also regularly available.

By bus

Direct bus routes from Kinosaki Onsen Station can access Izushi.

On weekends: three direct buses leave at 9:13, 10:13, and 11:33 in front of Kinosaki Onsen Station. On weekdays, one direct bus leaves at 11:33 in front of Kinosaki Onsen Station.

The ride to Izushi Bus Station is about 50 minutes one-way. Once at Izushi Bus Station, all main attractions are within walking distance.

To return to Kinosaki Onsen, taking two buses is required. At Izushi Bus Station, take one bus bound for Toyooka Station. Then at Toyooka Station, transfer to a bus bound for Kinosaki Onsen Station. The connecting buses are usually timed closely together to make transferring easier and minimize waiting time (information as of 2023).

 


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