Hyogo-ku - 兵庫区

Asahi Onsen

Japanese Name: 朝日温泉Prefecture: HyogoCity: KobeAddress: 兵庫県神戸市兵庫区永沢町2丁目3番3号Access: 5 min Walk from JR Kobe or Hanshin, Hankyu, Sanyo or Shintetsu ShinkaichiType: Sento w/ natural hot springWebpage: http://asahi-onsen.cool.coocan.jp/Price: Hyogo Prefecture Public Bathhouse Association price or cheaper (sauna, if available, may be extra)Holiday: WednesdayHours: 7:30-24:00ReviewAsahi Onsen has two of my favorite baths that go great together, the 46 degree extra hot bath and the refreshing 31 degree hot spring bath. The onsen here is much like that of Minatoyama Onsen or Nada Onsen to name a few. It has a metallic taste and feel. Cooling off in the cool spring water bath after sitting in the 46 degree hot bath is one of the reasons I am addicted to this place. I travel the extra distance to get here, and other places like it, for the experience. There is a little balcony with an open air cold water bath and a good selection baths and saunas in its third floor bath for its size. Since the changing room and entrance is on the second, you will have to climb some stairs naked.Kids will play around in the water and enjoy themselves. I've had a number of funny conversations in the changing room with the other bathers here. It is a great community bathhouse with an outstanding spring.
Review Update January 2020:One of the best sento in the country. It has a true hotspring feel to it like it was in Kagoshima or someplace far away from the big city--not a short walk from JR Kobe Station. The extra-hot 46℃ Kuro no Sen (黒の泉) is a perfect complement to the straight from the well gensen kakenagashi (源泉掛け流し) lukewarm bath or the outdoor cold water bath. The lukewarm gensen bath can be busy at times so take your time here and grab a spot when one opens.
Visit: January 2020
Hot Spring DataWell Name: Misen no Yu - 巳泉の湯Type: Simple alkaline hot spring - アルカリ性単純温泉Type: Weak alkaline - 弱アリカリ性Well Temperature: 31.1Type: Warm spring - 低温線Osmotic Pressure: Low - 低張性

Ashihara Onsen

Japanese Name: 芦原温泉Prefecture: HyogoCity: KobeAddress: 兵庫県神戸市兵庫区湊川町2-10-11Access: 10 min walk from Kobe Subway or Shintetsu MinatogawaType: SentoWebpage: http://kobe-ashihara.sakura.ne.jp/index.htmlPrice: Hyogo Prefecture Public Bathhouse Association price or cheaper (sauna, if available, may be extra)Holiday: NoneHours: 14:00-10:00 (The next day)ReviewA Yuasobihiroba onsen with multiple baths and a nice, smallish rotenburo on the second floor. Open all night. Good place to try despite being pretty small.
On my last visit I was able to read the onsen information panel on the wall in the outdoor bath. This is most likely a tanked in hot spring, but I am not sure about the current status. I forgot how local the locals are here and it was nice to see. Everyone is happy to be here and using the baths. Highly recommended.
This is one of those amazing split level sento where you change on the first floor, the sauna and some of the baths are on the second floor, and the third has the remainder of the baths plus an outdoor bath on a balcony. The changing room is small but do not let that compact room bias your view of the sento in its entirety. Once you get up those first stairs the high ceiling and windows give this sento a open airy feeling--especially if you visit during the daylight hours. You do not have to visit only in the daylight hours however, located near the Shinkaichi entertainment district of Kobe, Ashihara is an all night sento and open from 2 in the afternoon till 10 in the morning. (Note: I need to visit here at 3 or 4 am sometime to see what it is like.)
The outdoor bath used to be filled with a hot spring but that changed a few years ago. Now they put bath salts or herbs into the bath. This most recent visit they had a cloth sack stuffed full of herbs making the water deep brown and giving it that kanpo (漢方/chinese medicine) smell. The bag was suspended from above and floating in the middle of the bath--the first time I have seen that arrangement. Unique.
Also, I love the stream of water continually flowing down the set of stairs from the first to the second floor. A refreshing way to begin your bath, just make sure not to slip and fall!
The owners here seem to be sento enthusiasts and sell some books sento travel guides. They really seem to love what they do. While this might be a bit of a rough place at first glance, it has a good heart and is worth checking out.
Last Visited: February 2020

Dai-Ichi Heiwa Onsen

Japanese Name: 第一平和温泉Prefecture: HyogoCity: KobeAddress: 兵庫県神戸市兵庫区下沢通8丁目2−18Access: 5 min from Kobe Subway Kamisawa Type: Sento w/ natural hot springPrice: Hyogo Prefecture Public Bathhouse Association price or cheaper (sauna, if available, may be extra)Holiday: NoneHours: 14:00-10:00 (The next day)ReviewThe onsen with the impossible name. The reading of the kanji used in this the spring's name, dragon, is so rare they have furigana for it written on the sign. Dai-ichi Heiwa Onsen also has a few wonderful baths worth checking out, along with some funny design quirks. The electric bath has a perfectly placed panel that hit my back just right. The rotenburo is large and quite comfortable and it is filled with the hot spring water. Sadly, the hot spring here is not very distinct. Besides the name, The other odd thing is the long row of lay down jet baths along the back wall. There are way more of these then would ever needed. I've been there twice and rarely seen anyone use them also. On top of that, the jets are quite old and too weak for my taste. While I always enjoy my time there I always get the feeling that I'm being watched more than usual. Be it from the young boys or the middle aged salarymen. My second time there I did see an old man take about twenty minutes to shave. He was sitting on the floor and not using a mirror. Japanese grandpas are pretty... unique.
Looks like the outdoor baths have been remodeled here a bit. Looks busier that before also. Happy to see that.
Updated Review January 2020:
One of the many sento in Kobe that have natural hot spring baths. This is one of the best things about living in this area. The spring here is not too noticeable, but the entire place is comfortable. The right side has a long outdoor bath lined with tourmalines rock and a small but very refreshing cold water bath. Inside there is the longest row of different jet baths that I have seen in a sento. The left side has a totally different layout with a much bigger outdoor bath. I like that side better, but both are fine. Seeing that this sento is right next to the entrance to Kamisawa station on the Kobe Subway, access is also perfect. Oh and it is also open all night. Worth a trip.
Last Visited: January 2020
Hot Spring DataWell Name: Raga no Yu - 龍の湯Type: Simple hot spring - 単純温泉Type: Neutral - 中性Type: Warm spring - 低温線Osmotic Pressure: Low - 低張性

Daikuro-yu

Japanese Name: 大黒湯Prefecture: HyogoCity: Kobe-HyogoAddress: 兵庫県神戸市兵庫区石井町6丁目4-1Access: Bus #7 from Hankyu, Hanshin or JR Sannomiya or JR Kobe Type: SentoWebpage: http://hyougo1010.blog.jp/archives/16244230.htmlPrice: Hyogo Prefecture Public Bathhouse Association price or cheaper (sauna, if available, may be extra)Holiday: MondayHours: 14:00-23:30ReviewThe neon lights, the sign out on the street, the statue of Ebisu perched at the top of the building, all this means you're in for a good bath. Beyond the first set of doors is the shoe lockers and two doors marked for men and women, quite common. As I was taking my shoes off, however, an old guy came out of the women’s door! I was a bit surprised but figured he must be the owner. Still a bit confused I slowly opened the men's door, just in case I was making a huge mistake. To my surprise both doors led to the same entrance hall. Duh. It has been many years since my last visit here and since then they remodeled the entrance removing the bandai and replacing it with a front style that offers more privacy for the bathers. Very interesting for anyone interested in sento design to see how they did it given the space constraints. Inside this was one of the best compact sento I have been to. Only one long connected hot bath with bubbles and jets hugs the dividing wall. The bubble bath was one of the shallowest and smallest I've been in, but I found it very relaxing. Besides the hot bath there's a small, refreshing cold water bath and a sauna that can fit about 3 people. The sauna has a TV, but it is mounted on the rear wall so if you sat down the TV would be behind your head. If I started a YouTube channel it would focus on finding the Doug DeMuro style quirks of the sento I visit.
Wonderful sento, lovely owners. Check it out!
Visit: January 2020

Higashi-yu

Japanese Name: 東湯Prefecture: HyogoCity: Hyogo WardAddress: 兵庫県神戸市兵庫区三川口町1丁目1−1Closest Station: Shinkaichi Station / 新開地駅Category: SentoPrice: Hyogo Prefecture Public Bathhouse Association price or cheaper (sauna, if available, may be extra)Holiday: MondayHours: 14:00-23:30Review:This is another of Kobe’s smaller sentos. Located on the corner of a smaller road intersecting the major east-west Route 2 in a unique place for a sento. Typically sento are found in a neighborhood away from the major roads. This one is not. The lobby area is big enough with a few tables and a cute turtle near the entrance. In the changing room there is a vending machine with beer. A quirk that you do not see that often. It makes me think: Do they have the same machine in the women’s side? I will probably never know, but more power to the obachans buying cans of Kirin and chugging them in a towel--if they can.
The baths here are somewhat typical for the size. One long connected hot bath on the outside wall with a deep place, electric, and some jets. The section with jets is treated with bath salts. It was “forest” this time which made the bath… blue. I loved the smell, but could not really feel any effects. The main deep bath is also filled from a waterfall fountain along the outer wall that was a nice touch, Above the waterfall a bronze looking relief of a goddess holding some wheat or rice with roses framing here is on the wall. Another awesome quirk of this bath. Besides that there is a paid dry sauna and a small but refreshing cold bath to round it all up. Quality bath and worth considering if you are in the area.
Visit Date: January 2020

Kasamatsu-yu

Japanese Name: 笠松湯Prefecture: HyogoCity: KobeAddress: 兵庫県神戸市兵庫区笠松通6丁目3−6Closest Station: Wadamisaki Station / 和田岬駅Category: SentoWebpage: https://twitter.com/bandai_musumePrice: Hyogo Prefecture Public Bathhouse Association price or cheaper (sauna, if available, may be extra)Holiday: TuesdayHours: 15:30-20:30Review:Kasamatsu is an amazing old style sento. One bath in the middle of the room with a shallow and deep section. Only a few of the faucets along the walls have a shower. Very typical old style, but the unique thing about this sento is that the bathtub looks to have been recently remodeled (as of Feb 2020). So if you are a bit worried about some of the older baths but want to have that experience--this is the place. The changing room is the same old style that feels like an antique shop in the best way. Also there are two great great mosaics on the two walls along the back of the building. The smaller one is an abstract flower motif, while the second larger one is a Kansai style European lake scene. Highly recommended sento.Visit Date: February 2020

Minato-Yu

Japanese Name: 湊湯Prefecture: HyogoCity: KobeAddress: 兵庫県神戸市兵庫区湊町1−1−17Access: 5 min Walk from JR Kobe or Hanshin, Hankyu, Sanyo or Shintetsu ShinkaichiType: Sento Price: Hyogo Prefecture Public Bathhouse Association price or cheaper (sauna, if available, may be extra)Holiday: NoneHours: 11:00-23:00Review:Minato Yu is a small local sento that has seen better days in a rough Kobe neighborhood. Sadly this sento is rather dirty inside with lots of mold and water damage on its walls. The tile back walk has a simple mosaic of a flower which is well done. There are not many baths to choose from either. On the other hand, the large and open changing area has some very old lockers that are interesting. Minato is not a sento for a first time bather. Only a completest or sento historian could enjoy this one.
Review Update December 2020:Located off the main street connecting Shinkaichi to the Kobe Station area. This is a tougher area of Kobe--not the fashionable and chic Kobe that is the image of most people. The movie theater that shows foreign art films is nearby as is a 1000 yen a night hotel for day laborers. The bath is located on the first floor of a larger apartment building with a somewhat hidden entrance. Minato-yu has a very municipal, community space feel to the bath. The changing room is quite large and open. In the bath that feeling is continued. Fairly basic main tub with a saltwater and somewhat cooler bath near the entrance. The large flower tile art along the back wall is pretty. I was wearing my Santa hat when I went which prompted a fun conversation with the kind owner.
Visit Date: December 2019

Minatoyama Onsen

Japanese Name: 湊山温泉Prefecture: HyogoCity: KobeAddress: 兵庫県神戸市兵庫区湊山町26-1Access: 5 min walk from Hirano bus stop on the Kobe city bus #7 from Hankyu, Hanshin or JR Sannomiya or JR KobeType: Sento (with Hot Spring)Webpage: http://www.jin.ne.jp/m-onsen/Price: ¥680Holiday: WednesdayHours: 7:00-10:30 (the following day)ReviewThere are so many things to say about this wonderful onsen tucked up into the mountains that border Kobe. In a great old Kobe neighborhood accessible by bus or an enjoyable yet long walk from the nearest station, Minatoyama Onsen is a gem. There's no outdoor bath, no jet baths, the design is not too special in anyway, but the water here is the key. The well here which comes out at a refreshing 28 degrees is heated to different temperatures for the 5 baths here. The attraction for me is the extra hot bath that ranges from 44-47 degrees. The regulars here have a trick to make it even hotter by tricking the thermostat in the bath with cold water. You'll typically see a few guys, some of them heavily tattooed, sitting around the hot bath chatting and occasionally even getting in. A foreigner getting into the extra hot bath here will always spark a small conversation. I recommend getting into the super hot bath for a few minutes then quickly entering the cool 28 degree bath. Feeling the heat slowly sucked from your body is absolute bliss.
A few years back you could drink the water here. There use to be special cups and faucets to do so, but it is all blocked off now.People often ask me what is my favorite onsen and I most often say Minatoyama Onsen. I end up going out of my way to get here at least once a month.
It is hard to update the last visit for this onsen as I go here so often. As you might know it was closed for a few months but re-opened under new owners who have really cleaned up the place. Sadly, no more drinking the spring but there are new free massage chairs and much more parking now. Still the best.
Added a rare photo of it closed during daylight hours.
Last Visited: Fall 2019
Hot Spring DataWell Name: Minatoyama Onsen - 湊山温泉Type: Carbon dioxide spring - 二酸化炭素泉pH: 5.92Type: Weak acidic - 弱酸性Well Temperature: 28.2Type: warm spring - 低温線

Mizuki-yu

Japanese Name: 水木湯Prefecture: HyogoCity: Hyogo WardAddress: 兵庫県神戸市兵庫区水木通2−2−21Closest Station: Shinkaichi Station / 新開地駅Category: SentoPrice: Hyogo Prefecture Public Bathhouse Association price or cheaper (sauna, if available, may be extra)Holiday: SundayHours: 13:30-23:00Review:"This sento 5 minutes from Shinkaichi station (Hankyu, Hanshin, Shintetsu and Sanyo all trains all stop there) in Kobe’s old downtown was an absolutely lovely experience. This is a basic bathhouse, the water is just Kobe city water, nothing special about it, but this place proves how the right baths, design, and overall atmosphere can turn any water into a great experience. Small and old, Mizuki-yu doesn’t show signs of wear as other sentos of the same age do. It felt like the baths were a bit hotter than the usual 41 degrees. The one pitfall of this sento was the sauna. While without extra charge, it had an unpleasant smell that made unusable. The grandmother who was sitting at the in the bandai was very kind and engaged in a little chat with me as I was leaving. Her kindness definitely added to the wonderful atmosphere of Mizuki-Yu.
Devember 2019 Update; I had not been back to this sento in quite a while and was surprised to see it packed. It seems that a local company near by has their Vietnamese staff here in Japan on training use the bath here. I have always thought that the sento is a perfect place to learn about Japanese manners and customs and I was very happy to share the bath with all these guys. Not too sure all of the locals liked it, but that is on them. I seemed to remember Mizuki differently than what I experienced this time. It has been quite a while since I last bathed here. There is a good selection of jets and a nice electric bath. The main deep bath was smaller than what I remembered but fine. I forgot how bright and fresh this bath was even in the evening--very clean feeling. Thanks to its location and great baths Mizuki is one to keep in your mind for a quick soak before or after a night out. Visit Date: December 2019

Tachibana-yu

Japanese Name: たちばな湯Prefecture: HyogoCity: Hyogo WardAddress: 兵庫県神戸市兵庫区荒田町1−2−25Closest Station: Shinkaichi Station / 新開地駅Category: SentoPrice: Hyogo Prefecture Public Bathhouse Association price or cheaper (sauna, if available, may be extra)Holiday: 15:00-20:30Hours: TuesdayReview:Tachibana-yu has been remodeled but it was done in a very retro style. This is a great bath to just go and look around the entrance and shoe boxes. Inside the bathing area is quite small, but nicely laid out. The medicated bath near the front is probably the best. This bath treats its water with radon so if you are worried about exposure, you might want to avoid this sento. Overall Tachibana-yu is a great promoter of sento culture. The owners are proud of their little bathhouse and it shows. On their website they have a page with letters of recommendation and thanks from the local government and other organizations, but they also have one from the local primary school that visited. So cute! Visit Date: February 2020

Yu no Cho Yokujyo

Japanese Name: 湯の町浴場Prefecture: HyogoCity: Hyogo WardAddress: 兵庫県神戸市兵庫区熊野町3丁目13−12Closest Station: Minatogawa Station / 湊川駅Category: SentoPrice: Hyogo Prefecture Public Bathhouse Association price or cheaper (sauna, if available, may be extra)Holiday: 15:00-20:30Hours: TuesdayReview:I only learned about this small and lovely little bathhouse up on the hill thanks to the Sento stamp rally. I came here after my last day at work for the year. It was a bit of an emotional day and I was in a melancholic mood. The clean white walls of this sento gave it a heavenly feel, the shallow long kake-yu tub in the middle provided a good space to sit and just pour the water over myself--an ablution of the year’s difficulties. I was comforted by listening to the grandfathers in the bath chat among themselves about the end of the year preparations. The 3 baths along the bath were deep, shallow and jet. Some of the signage here seemed very old and unlike what I have seen before. This is a unique, little sento with a great name, check it out if you can! Also this is the first sento that uses Yokujyo 浴場 (lit. bath place) in its name rather than sento, yu or onsen. Interesting. Visit Date: December 2019

*Closed* Yanagi-Yu

Japanese Name: 柳湯Prefecture: HyogoCity: KobeAddress: 兵庫県神戸市兵庫区西出町2丁目9−7Type: Sento
Review*Closed* A beautiful little bathhouse hidden in a small neighborhood next to Kobe's Harborland shopping and entertainment district, going to Yanagi-yu, like many sento, is like taking a step back in time. It’s located down a street barely wide enough for a bicycle or small delivery truck. Many stray cats meander around the maze of small paths and streets that serve this densely packed residential and commercial neighborhood. Walking around It's easy to forget that the massive Harborland area of Kobe is just down the street. The bathhouse itself is the old bandai style where there are two doors in the front, one for men (男) and one for women (女). As with most sento, make sure you choose the right one as they are only labeled in kanji.
Inside the bathhouse the building is old and in need of some maintenance, but still very clean. The changing room and bath fixtures seemed to be from the buildings original construction. A highlight of the design is the tile mosaic of a European style lake scene with a rock feature on the far side of the back wall. The baths were fairly normal. The herbal bath was not too hot and constantly refilled from a waterfall spout that was very refreshing in the summer heat. In a separate room that I originally thought was a sauna, there was another bath that appeared to be filled with the same water as the rest of the baths. Exploring the neighborhood and Yanagi-yu’s wonderful old building make this sento worth going to.