The Arashiyama Bamboo Groove is one of the places you definitely shouldn’t miss when visiting Kyoto. And even though this isn’t one of Japan’s most renowned hot spring resorts, there are a few onsens near Kyoto’s bamboo forest that you could enjoy before heading back to Japan’s former capital to see even more beautiful temples and shrines.
For day-trippers the best onsen near Arashiyama Bamboo Forest are Kyoto Arashiyama Onsen Ryokan Hanaikada, Fufu no Yu Onsen, Tenzan no Yu, and Nizaemon No Yu. Except for Nizaemon No Yu, they are all in walkable distance from Kyoto’s bamboo grove and can be reached in 15 – 20 minutes.
There are more beautiful hot springs nearby, but they belong to Onsen Ryokans and can only be used if you stay for one night. Since I’m sure that an authentic ryokan experience is also really high on your list, I have listed them after my onsen recommendations. Just be aware that most ryokans in Arashiyama are expensive, because, in ancient times, this was a resort area for the royal family and nobles.
Best Onsen Near Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto
After some research, I found 4 onsens near the bamboo forest in Kyoto that you can visit as a non-staying guest. One of them is also an onsen ryokan and a bit more expensive, but the other 3 are public hot spring baths with normal prices. The closest onsen is just 14 minutes away from Arashiyama Bamboo Forest.
1. Kyoto Arashiyama Onsen Ryokan Hanaikada (14 minutes away)
Location: 14 minutes from the Bamboo Forest, Arashiyama, Kyoto
General Information: Kyoto Arashiyama Onsen Ryokan Hanaikada (嵐山温泉 彩四季の宿 花筏) is an authentic Japanese style ryokan hotel just 14 minutes away from Arashiyama Bamboo Forest. Other famous sights nearby include Togetsukyo Bridge, the symbol of Kyoto’s Arashiyama area, Tenryu-ji Temple, and Gio-ji Temple. They can be reached in 5, 10, and 20 minutes on foot.
About the Onsen: The ryokan’s onsen has 6 types of baths as well as a private onsen with views of the Togetsukyo Bridge. All of the baths are filled with 100% natural hot spring water that comes from the Arashiyama Hot Spring. One of their bathing facilities features a beautiful indoor bath entirely made of cypress and a rotenburo made of bamboo. Bathing is possible from 11:00 – 13:00 o’clock and from 17:00 – 09:00 o’clock the next morning.
Private Onsen: You can rent Hanaikada’s private open-air onsen for 1,500円 (about $14 or 12€) if you stay overnight or book one of their meal day trip plans. Each bathing session is 40 minutes and please note that you have to make a reservation beforehand.
Day Visit: The onsen ryokan welcomes day visitors but only in combination with a meal plan which you need to book in advance. Their cheapest plans start from about 3,500円 (about $32 or 30€). For about double the price you will get your own private tatami room and the food will be served there. And if you should be willing to pay about 10,000円 (about $90 or 85€) you will get a room with a private onsen. Bathing is possible from 11:00 – 14:30/17:30.
Stay: From 20,000円 (about $185 or 169€)
Access: The nearest JR station is Saga-Arashiyama Station from where it is a 13-minute walk to the Onsen Ryokan. From Kyoto, the whole trip will take about 30 – 40 minutes.
2. Fufu No Yu Onsen (17 minutes away)
Location: 17 minutes from the Bamboo Forest, Arashiyama, Kyoto
General Information: Fufu No Yu Onsen (風風の湯) sometimes also written as Fu-fu-no-yu is a hot spring bathing facility south of Togetsukyo Bridge. Arashiyama’s bamboo forest is about 17 minutes away. This onsen is the only real public onsen bath near the bamboo groove and the perfect place to experience a Japanese hot spring if you don’t want to stay at one of the onsen ryokans.
About the Onsen: The public hot spring has gender-separated bathing facilities that feature 2 indoor baths and 1 outdoor bath each. The smaller one of the 2 indoor baths has silky white water while the water of the other 2 is clear. You can also enjoy 2 different kinds of saunas, a dry sauna, and a mist sauna. The onsen is open from 12:00 until 21:30 and the last entry is at 21:00 o’clock. There are no regular holidays but sometimes the bath might be closed for maintenance. So better check their homepage before you want to go.
Access: The nearest JR station is Saga-Arashiyama Station from where it takes about 16 minutes on foot to the public onsen. From Kyoto Station, the whole trip will take about 35 minutes.
Price: On weekdays it is 1,000円 (about $10 or 8€), on weekends it is 1,200円 (about $12 or 10€). If you can bring your own towel or otherwise you have to borrow one for an additional 200円.
Website: www.hotespa.net/spa/fufu (Japanese)
3. Sagano Onsen – Tenzan No Yu (18 minutes away)
Location: 18 minutes from the Bamboo Forest, Sagano, Kyoto
General Information: Tenzan No Yu (天山の湯) is a bathing facility located in Sagano, which is the name of the area east of the Katsura River and Arashiyama. Kyoto’s Bamboo Forest is still easily accessible, though. On foot, it will take you about 28 minutes to get to the onsen. But you could also take the Random Tram Line to Arashiyama Station and get to the bamboo forest in 18 minutes (10-minute walk from Arashiyama Station). However, please note that the streetcar is not covered by the Japan Rail Pass.
About the Onsen: Tenzan No Yu Onsen is a real hot spring oasis that features all kinds of tubs in their gender-separated bathing facilities. In the outdoor area, there are 2 rotenburo, 2 tsubo (pot) baths, and a lie-down bath. Indoors you have a large indoor bath, a jet bath, and an electric jet bath, and a cold water bath.
The women bathing facilities also have a silky nanobubble bath, and hot water pot baths as well as a rocky sauna and a salt sauna. While in the men area you will find a lukewarm pot bath, a sitting bath (looks like a bank), and a theater sauna with TV. Near the relaxation area, you can also find different footbaths and a fish spa (costs extra, though). This is by far one of the best-equipped onsens I have seen so far.
The opening hours of the onsen are from 10:00 o’clock in the morning until 01:00 o’clock at night. So you could easily stop by on your way back from Arashiyama to Kyoto. The last entry is at midnight. If you would also like to enjoy one of their renowned meal sets you can do this from 11:00 – 23:30.
Price: 1,050円 (about $10 or 8€). Don’t forget to bring a towel or you will have to pay an additional 200円 to borrow one. The tickets allow for “re-bathing”. So you can relax in the rest area or enjoy their delicious traditional Kyoto cuisine and bathe one more time.
Access: The nearest JR station is Uzumasa Station. This is one station before Saga-Arashiyama Station. From Uzumasa Station you can walk to the onsen in about 14 minutes. From Kyoto Station, it will take you about 30 minutes.
4. Kyoto Katsura Onsen – Nizaemon No Yu (40 minutes away)
Location: 38 minutes away from the Bamboo Forest, Katsura, Kyoto
General Information: Nizaemon No Yu (仁左衛門の湯) is a hot spring bathing facility about 38 minutes further south of Arashiyama’s Bamboo Forest. It is located in the Katsura district of Kyoto. This area has been a popular location for moon viewing among the nobles of the Heian court. Just a bit further west of the station, near the river, you can find the Katsura Imperial Villa. This historic palace from the 17th-century has a scenic Japanese garden with small teahouses.
About the Onsen: This onsen has 2 different bathing facilities. One of them features an open-air rock bath and the other one features an open-air cypress bath. Which of the bathing facilities can be used by which gender alternates daily. If you prefer one over the other you can check on their homepage beforehand. Besides the outdoor bath, you can also enjoy a large indoor bath, a jet bath, a jacuzzi, and a sauna. The spring water comes from 2 natural hot springs that flow 600 and 1,500 meters deep. Bathing is possible from 10:00 o’clock in the morning until 02:00 o’clock in the evening. On weekends they open at 8:00 o’clock.
Price: 700円 (about $7 or 6€) on weekdays and 850円 (about $8 or 7€) on weekends and national holidays. The additional fee for a towel is just 100円.
Access: From Arashiyama you can ride the Hankyu-Arashiyama line to Katsura Station from where it is a 27-minute walk to the hot spring. This will take about 50 minutes from the Bamboo Forest. A faster way is by bus. It only takes about 30 – 40 minutes but you need to transfer once at Matsuo Taisha Mae. From Kyoto Station, you could get to the onsen in 30 minutes.
Website: www.nizaemon.com (Japanese)
Onsen Ryokan Near Arashiyama Bamboo Forest in Kyoto
While I was very happy that I found a few nice hot springs you can visit as a day tripper, most of the onsens near the bamboo forest are actually exclusively for staying guests of onsen ryokans. They are definitely not the cheapest ryokans you can find around Kyoto, but some of the best. So if you don’t have any plans to visit one of Japan’s famous onsen towns or if you are still looking for a beautiful ryokan near Kyoto, here they are.
Arashiyama Benkei (13 minutes away)
Location: 13 minutes from the Bamboo Forest, Arashiyama, Kyoto
General Information: Arashiyama Benkei (嵐山辨慶) is located right in the center of Arashiyama and just a short 13-minutes walk away from the famous bamboo grove. This is one of the best and most renowned ryokans that you can find in Kyoto. As you would expect from such an upscale ryokan everything from the traditional Kaiseki course meals to the Japanese rooms, to the views over the river and the forested slopes are exceptional. Sights nearby are Togetsukyo Bridge, Tenryu-ji Temple, the Kimono Forest, and Kameyama Park.
About the Onsen: The ryokan’s small onsen facilities are gender-separated indoor onsen baths. The bathing water comes from the Arashiyama Onsen hot spring. Nothing too special but if you book from their webpage you can use their private open-air baths for free.
Private Onsen: Arashiyama Benkei has 3 private onsen baths that can be used for free for 45 minutes if you book via their official homepage. One of the private baths is a wooden barrel, while the others are normal Japanese-style pools. All of the private onsens are open-air baths and you can even enter if you have tattoos. On their webpage, they even directly invite the LGBT community which in my opinion is very nice and rare in Japan.
Stay: From 40,000円 (about $371 or 339€)
Access: From Saga-Arashiyama Station, the nearest JR Station it will only take you 12 minutes to walk to the Onsen Ryokan. From Kyoto, it will take you 29 minutes in total.
Suiran Luxury Collection Hotel (10 minutes away)
Location: 10 minutes from the Bamboo Forest, Arashiyama, Kyoto
General Information: Suiran (翠嵐) is a luxury style Ryokan set along the Katsura River and right in front of Arashiyama. It is probably the closest Onsen Ryokan to Kyoto’s Bamboo Forest. Kameyama Park and Togetsukyo Bridge are also just around the corner. Here at this luxurious but authentic Ryokan, you can experience Japan’s hospitality, traditional Kyoto cuisine, and architecture at its finest. From the Ryokan, you have beautiful views over the jade-green river and when dining in the 100-year-old Japanese villa you can overlook the Japanese Garden. But as the name already suggests, this is an expensive stay.
Private Onsen: Suiran doesn’t have a public onsen bath, only private ones. 17 out of their 39 rooms have a hot spring bath directly in their room, but they also have 2 private onsens with bigger open-air baths that can be rented for 3,500円 (about $32 or 29€). They can be rented from 6:00 – 11:00 and from 15:00 – 23:00. The hot spring water for the private onsens comes from the Arashiyama Onsen Spring.
Stay: Too expensive (*/ω＼*)
Access: The nearest JR station is Saga-Arashiyama Station from where it is an 18-minute walk to the Onsen Ryokan. From Kyoto, it will take you 35 minutes to get here.
Togetsutei (14 minutes away)
Location: 14 minutes from the Bamboo Forest, Arashiyama, Kyoto
General Information: Togetsutei (渡月亭) is a long-established Ryokan in Arashiyama with a history of more than 150 years. The inn is located south of Togetsukyo Bridge opposite the banks of an inlet of the Katsura River. Arashiyama Bamboo Forest ist just a short 14-minutes walk away and to Iwatayama Monkey Park it also only takes 12 minutes on foot.
About the Onsen: The onsen facilities of the ryokan are pretty basic but with an ancient touch. Unfortunately, the marble and granite make the bath look more western than Japanese, but still, I think it looks beautiful. There’s only one indoor bath in the gender-separated bathing areas, but the water comes from the Arashiyama Onsen spring. Bathing is possible from 16:00 o’clock until midnight and in the morning from 6:00 – 9:oo o’clock.
Private Onsen: Togetsutei Ryokan also has a private onsen that can be rented 2,500円 (about $24 or 22€) for 45 minutes or for 5,000円 (about $46 or 42€) for 105 minutes. The private onsen has a similar Romanian style as the public bath.
Stay: From 20,000円 (about $185 or 169€)
Access: Saga-Arashiyama Station is the nearest JR Station. From the station, you can walk to the Onsen Ryokan in 14 minutes. The whole trip from Kyoto will take about 30 minutes.
Website: www.togetsukei.co.jp (English Translation available)
Kadensho (16 minutes away)
Location: 16 minutes from the Bamboo Forest, Arashiyama, Kyoto
General Information: Kadensho (花伝抄) is a luxurious onsen ryokan located in Arashiyama. Kyoto’s bamboo groove is just a short 16-minute walk away and other sites like Togestukyo Bridge or the Arashiyama Monkey Park Iwatayama are even closer. The traditional inn is highly recommended and has everything you would want from a ryokan experience, but please read the details about the hot spring baths below.
About the Onsen: The bathing facilities of the ryokan consist of a large indoor bath with a silk bath, and a rotenburo. On their webpage, it says that the water comes from the Arashiyama Onsen spring, a weak alkaline thermal spring with a lot of beauty benefits for the skin, but only the indoor baths are real onsen. The open-air baths are actually Kusuri-yu, which means that bath salts are added to the water. On another Japanese webpage, I also read that actually only the men’s indoor bath uses real hot spring water, but this might be outdated information. Nevertheless, if you want to soak in a real onsen, it might be better to skip this one.
Private Onsen: A very nice thing about this onsen ryokan is that there are 5 private baths that you can rent for free. 3 of them (Ichi no Yu, Ni no Yu, and Shi no Yu) have a traditional Japanese style while the 2 others look more like a Romanian bathhouse. You also don’t need to reserve them in advance, as long as the in-use lamp is off you can enter.
Stay: From 15,000円 (about $139 or 129€)
Access: The nearest JR station is Saga-Arashiyama Station from where it is an 18-minute walk to Kadenshou Onsen Ryokan. From Kyoto, the whole journey will take 35 minutes.
Website: www.hotespa.net/hotels/kadensho (Japanese)