Background image showing touristing doing straw craft on a table

Get the most out of your visit and gain a deeper connection with Kinosaki and the surrounding areas!

In order for guests to get the most out of their visit, we have formally trained local guides to be ready to support you during your stay. While being accompanied by a local guide, guests can gain a better understanding and appreciation of Kinosaki Onsen and the surrounding areas.

Who are our local guides?

Our local guides are English speakers that are trained in conducting detailed tours throughout Kinosaki Onsen and the greater Kinosaki Onsen area. All registered guides have completed training administered by the Toyooka Tourism Bureau.

A group of tourists being guided through a Japanese garden in Izushi

Meet our guides

  • Itsuko's profile picture

    Name Itsuko

    About this guide Itsuko is a big fan of Japanese sweets; their mild sweetness, colors, shapes, textures, and poetic names. These sweets, often served at tea ceremonies, are the reason why she practices tea ceremony every week. And as you might have known, tea ceremony is all about hospitality! Born and raised in Hidaka, the southern part of Toyooka City, Itsuko has strong ties to the Tajima region and has many personal memories from there. She currently lives in Nara, after previously living in Kyoto, and visits Tajima on a regular basis.

  • Kaori's profile picture

    Name Kaori

    About this guide From an early age, Kaori has been familiar with Japanese traditional performance, but also loves jazz and John Lennon. She started guiding to show the beauty of traditional Japanese culture to people all over the world. Kaori is also certified in teaching Japanese flower arrangement and can speak Korean. She hopes to show others the beauty of the Tajima and Tango regions!

  • Miki's profile picture

    Name Miki

    About this guide Miki is from Himeji City. She married a fishmonger in Kinosaki Onsen and moved to Toyooka City about 20 years ago. She loves Toyooka very much, and is a citizen writer for the city portal site "Tonderu Local Toyooka" where she conveys the charms of Toyooka City. She is currently raising three children while working at a fish market.

  • Sachi's profile picture

    Name Sachi

    About this guide Sachi is looking forward to conducting cultural exchange with many different people! She would be happy to show you both delicious and interesting Japanese culture through her love of Japanese tea.

  • Shinobu's profile picture

    Name Shinobu

    About this guide Shinobu is experienced in many facets of traditional Japanese culture. She loves kimono and can help others wear it correctly. When she was younger, she learned traditional tea ceremony from both Omotesenke and Urasenke, two of the three main schools of tea ceremony. Shinobu also studied calligraphy and has hachidan, the highest ranking in the calligraphy system. She also loves to travel!

  • Zach's profile picture

    Name Zach

    About this guide Zach is from the USA and he's been living in Japan since early 2016. His first year was in Aomori and he's been in Toyooka after that. He lives in Izushi so he can show you around the local area. He enjoys visiting shrines and temples and hiking in the mountains. He's looking forward to exploring with you!

  • Teina's profile picture

    Name Teina

    About this guide Teina is a curator of the Genbudo Museum and specializes in rocks and minerals. She moved here due to her fascination with the museum's vast collection of stones and with the natural richness of the Tajima region. She loves to be in nature, regularly going outside to gather stones or visit archaeological sites. She can play the recorder, the Japanese bamboo flute, and likes to make traditional Japanese collages. There are many geological sites in San'in Kaigan Global Geopark in which you can enjoy stone gathering. Teina hopes to show you the culture and beautiful nature based in the regional stones.

  • Takako's profile picture

    Name Takako

    About this guide Takako was born and raised in Toyooka City until university. After she graduated, she returned to her hometown and worked for an International Exchange Association, and now belongs to a non-profit that supports foreign residents in the Tajima region. Takako has interacted with many people from overseas in her life, and thus would like to take advantage of those experiences to explore Toyooka City and the Tajima region together with you.

Available guided tours

  • Zazen & Matcha + Private Nursery School Tour (with English-speaking guide)

    Available guides: Itsuko, Kaori, Miki, Sachi, Shinobu, Teina, Takako

    Take a glimpse into both traditional and contemporary Japanese life and culture through this tour. Experience seated Zen meditation, speak with a Buddhist monk, and visit the nearby nursery school.

  • Straw Craft Activity and Craftsman Workshop Tour (with English-speaking guide)

    Available guides: Itsuko, Kaori, Miki, Sachi, Shinobu, Teina, Takako

    Observe the fascinating and complex straw craft process, learn about its history, get a private tour of the craftsman's workshop, and make a beautifully intricate straw craft design on a small box to take home!

  • Onsenji Temple Hot Spring Therapy Origins Tour (with English-speaking guide)

    Available guides: Itsuko, Kaori, Miki, Sachi, Shinobu, Teina, Takako

    Onsenji is a temple in Kinosaki Onsen with rich history regarding the town's hot spring waters. In this tour, learn about ancient onsen rituals, Onsenji Temple's history, the founder of Kinosaki Onsen, and more!

  • Oriental White Stork Observation Tour (with English-speaking guide)

    Available guides: Itsuko, Kaori, Sachi, Teina, Takako

    Learn about the ecology of the storks and the city's commitment to fulfilling their promise of returning the Oriental White Storks to Japan's skies. Visit environmental agriculture sites that aim to create a rich natural environment where storks can live.

  • Full Day Izushi Tour with Meditation & Meeting a Monk! (with English-speaking guide)

    Available guides: Itsuko, Kaori, Sachi, Shinobu, Zach, Takako

    Take this chance to explore the castle town with an English-speaking local AND to casually chat with a Japanese Buddhist monk! The English-speaking guide will show you around town, sharing lesser-known information and taking you to the attractions of your choice.

  • Meditate, Drink Tea, and Chat with a Local Buddhist Monk (with English-speaking guide)

    Available guides: Itsuko, Kaori, Sachi, Shinobu, Zach, Takako

    Participate in two traditional Buddhist practices: seated Zen meditation, and your choice of either Shakyo (sutra-copying) or Shabutsu (tracing a picture of a Buddhist image). With the help of your English-speaking guide, chat with the monk afterwards over tea and sweets.

  • Private Izushi Castle Town Tour (with English-speaking guide)

    Available guides: Itsuko, Kaori, Sachi, Shinobu, Zach, Takako

    Take a local bus from Kinosaki Onsen to Izushi, a quiet castle town that has retro stores, memorable attractions, and unique specialties. An English-speaking guide will give you local tour of places like the Izushi Castle Ruins, Eirakukan Kabuki Theatre, and more!

  • Tajima Tea-Picking Tour (with English-speaking guide)

    Available guides: Sachi

    Enjoy gorgeous tea plantation views, pick your own tea leaves, and use them to make your own tea!