6 Things To do at Kinosaki Onsen in Autumn

The backdrop to an awesomely local autumn experience in Japan.

Just 2.5 hours from Kyoto lies Kinosaki Onsen — one of the top hot spring destination towns in Japan.  Located in Hyogo Prefecture’s Toyoka City, the greater area is filled with the tradition and culture of old Japan that comes alive in autumn.

Travelers can stay in a traditional ryokan and visit the seven public hot spring baths spread out over town. In addition to this hot spring town, Toyoka City has other towns to explore. That includes Izushi, an Edo-era castle town with beautiful castle ruins, a samurai house (Karo Yashiki) and a traditional kabuki theater. Discover these yearly events to really see what Kinosaki is all about.


1. Kinosaki Danjiri Festival

Photo by: Visit Kinosaki Fighting shrines!

This event is also known as the Fighting Shrine Festival. Four major portable shrines, each representing a part of the town (north, east, south and west), are paraded through the town. The climax of the festival is when the shrines meet in the middle to battle. This is one of Kinosaki’s largest festivals, one not to be missed!

  • Oct. 14-15. Events run all day. Main event from 5 p.m.~
  • In front of Ichino-yu, Kinosaki - Map
  • Nearest station: Kinosaki Onsen Station (5-10 minutes on foot to venue)


2. Izushi Autumn Festival

Izushi Autumn Festival

The Autumn Festival is also known as the Danjiri Festival. Danjiri are large wooden carts (danjiri guruma) in the shape of a shrine or temple. The festival celebrates a good harvest for each year and involves men using 17-meter long poles to attack each other’s danjiri. This creates a vigorous and compelling sight, exciting for all who attend. Because of its aggressive style of celebration, it is also known as a “fighting Danjiri.”

  • Oct. 14. From 12 p.m.~ (Yearly date is the Sunday nearest the 15th of October.)
  • Izushi-cho - Map
  • Nearest station: Izushi Bus Stop (出石(バス)) (5-10 minutes on foot to venue)


3. Eirakukan Kabuki Theatre Performances

Eirakukan Kabuki Theatre

In the Eirakukan Kabuki Theatre, you take a behind-the-scenes look at the stage, powder rooms backstage, and a rotating contraption under the stage.  The opening event of the Eirakukan Theatre was performed by a kabuki star Ainosuke Kataoka in 2008. Since then, Kabuki plays are performed by this actor, now one of west Japan’s leading kabuki actors, and his theatre company.

  • 2018 Date: Oct. 18  – Oct. 24 (dates change each year)
  • Eirakukan Kabuki Theatre, Izushi - Map


4. Izushi Kimono Festival

Izushi Kimono Festival

The locals consider wearing kimono, the traditional Japanese cloth, as a long-term sightseeing feature of Izushi. There will be events to encourage wearing kimono at the soba noodle race, kimono wearers’ raffle, kimono-wearing contest, and other events. Get up-close-and-personal with Japan’s beloved garment here.

  • 2018 Dates: Oct. 27 – Oct. 28, 10 a.m. ~ 3:30 p.m. (dates change each year)
  • Izushi-cho, Uchi-machi, Izushi Castle Ruins, etc. - Map
  • Nearest station: Izushi Bus Stop (出石(バス)) (5-10 minutes on foot to venue)


5. Izushi Castle Festival

On the third of November every year, the Castle Festival is held to symbolize the castle town of Izushi. The main attraction of the day is the marching of about 120 people all dressed in traditional costumes, with 30 men holding decorated spears as they walk along the streets.

  • Nov. 3, 9 a.m. ~ 4:20 p.m.
  • Izushi-cho - Map
  • Nearest station: Izushi Bus Stop (出石(バス)) (5-10 minutes on foot to venue)


6. Dodan Tsutsu-ji Fall Foliage Viewing

Ankoku-ji Temple

The huge Dodan-Tsutsuji tree at the Ankoku-ji Temple is said to be more than 100 years old, and in autumn its leaves turn a brilliant red. The view of the colored tree from the main temple is like viewing a living painting. Visitors can take turns posing in front of the tree and taking pictures. The best time to view the Dodan-Tsutsuji is in autumn, usually around November. It’s recommended to arrive before the sun starts to set.

  • 2018 dates: Nov. 7 - Nov. 20
  • 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. (admission until 18:30 p.m.)
  • Ankoku-ji Temple - Map
  • Nearest station: Deaidanchi Mae bus stop (30-35 minutes on foot to venue)
  • The trees are only lit up in the evening. Large buses to the temple only available on weekdays (please refrain from coming on the weekend or on a national holiday).
  • https://visitkinosaki.com/things-to-do/ankokuji-temple
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