Kinugawa Onsen
Kawaji Onsen Area

Highlights of Kinugawa & Kawaji Onsen Area

Kinugawa Onsen (鬼怒川温泉) is a very popular onsen (hot spring) village, part of Nikko City, located 30 min from Central Nikko. Onsen enthusiasts come from around Japan to stay in its many Japanese Ryokans and enjoy the effects of the natural hot springs. For a quieter area, the Kawaji Onsen (川治温泉) is another popular hot spring area 10km upstream from Kinugawa Onsen.

Between Kinugawa Onsen and Kawaji Onsen is Ryuokyo Gorge (龍王峡). This gorge offers many outdoor activities, hiking trails, and beautiful views.

The area also has many things for children, such as the  Edo Wonderland, an Edo period (1603-1867) themed attraction, where visitors (adults and children) can dress up as ninjas and samurais!

There are many festivals and events, including the Night (time) Cherry Blossom Festival (early April) and Tsukiakari Hana Kairou (end Sep to early Oct), which are worth coming to see.  The autumn foliage (end Oct- Early Nov) at Ryuokyo is also extremely beautiful.

One way to travel from Tokyo is to take the Tobu Line from Asakusa station, Which takes 2 hours on the express trains. There is also a Nikko Pass covering the area, so if you plan to stay for a few days, it is worth checking out.

Another way to visit Kinugawa Onsen is to travel to JR Utsunomiya station by Shinkansen and take the Silk Express (highway bus). This is recommended if you would like to see interesting attractions not easily accessible by public transport or if you would like to spend some time in Utsunomiya city tasting its famous gyoza or enjoying its vibrant nightlife!


From Tokyo

From Tokyo via Utsunomiya

From Airports

Main Stations

Videos of Kinugawa & Kawaji Onsen


Bridges over Kinugawa River

Things to DO in Kinugawa & Kawaji Onsen

Onsen (Hot Spring)

The hot spring of Kinugawa Onsen (鬼怒川温泉) and Kawaji Onsen (川治温泉) was first discovered in the Edo period (around the 1600s). However, originally priests and daimyos from Edo were the only ones allowed to use it. In the Meiji era (1868-1912) the hot springs were open to the public and gained popularity ever since. It is said Kinugawa Onsen helps relief from fatigue and Kawaji Onsen is good for healing wounds.

Ryuokyo Gorge

Around 22 million years ago, volcanic rocks erupted from underwater volcanoes, creating Ryuokyo Gorge (龍王峡). The gorge lies between Kinugawa and Kawaji Onsens and is renowned for its beauty, especially from late October to early November, with vibrant autumn foliage. The 7-kilometer walking trail offers a 3 to 4-hour hike with stunning views.

Ourdoors activity

The Ryuokyo Gorge is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Experience 'Line Kudari (ライン下り),' a relaxing downstream rafting experience in a traditional Japanese wooden boat down the Kinugawa River (suitable for all ages). If you are more adventurous, why not try rafting, kayaking, canoeing, SUP, and fishing, which some companies offer?


This area has many attractions to keep adults as well as children entertained. The most famous is the Edo Wonderland, but Tobu World Square, Trick Art Pia (museum), as well as a dinosaur attraction and a big maze attraction called palladium are also popular.

Steam Engine

Why not travel here by Steam engine? SL Taiju (大樹) runs the 12.4km journey from Shimo-Imaichi station to Kinugawa Onsen taking approx 35min almost daily.

Bus Tour (Silk Express)

View from inside Silk Travel Bus Express

Why not join a bus tour by Silk Express?

The Silk Express runs from Kinugawa Onsen, Utsunomiya, and Nikko and takes you on a fun excursion around Yunishigawa and the Nikko area.

EATING in Kinugawa & Kawaji Onsen

Japanese Food

Kinugawa Onsen is a popular destination with many affordable Japanese restaurants to choose from offering Soba, Tonkatsu, Tempura and more.

Western Food

Kinugawa Onsen is a popular destination with many affordable Western-style restaurants and cafes offering pizza, pasta, steak and more.


Delicious Soba at Kinugawa and Kawaji Onsen

One of the most popular Japanese dishes in the Kinugawa area is Soba Noodles. The climate is ideal for growing soba wheat and the good quality local water is ideal to kneed the noodles.

Places to STAY in Kinugawa & Kawaji Onsens

Onsen Ryokans (Japanese style inns)

This area is a very popular hot spring destination with many traditional Ryokans that offer rooms for solo travelers and bookings for large groups. Some establishments can also cater to complex food requirements.

Kinugawa Grand Hotel Yumeno toki

Kinugawa Grand Hotel Yume no toki (in Kinugawa Onsen)

Escape the city and indulge in seasonal Kaiseki cuisine, unwind in open-air baths, and relax in a lovely hot spring to experience a calm and memorable stay.

Kinugawa Park Hotel

Deluxe room at Kinugawa Park Hotels

Come and experience tranquility just minutes from Kinugawa Onsen Station. With scenic river views, delicious kaiseki food and amazing hot spring baths, our hotel is great for family vacations and getaways. 

Hotels (Western style)

Although there are more Ryokan-style accommodations in this area, there are also a few 3 to 4-star Western-style Hotels.

Holiday Rental (AIR BNB)

Holiday rentals aer als available in the area.

Day trips from Kinugawa & Kawaji Onsen

Each of these places are within a day trip away. Click on the image to find out more.

More about Kinugawa & Kawaji Onsen

A Different Side of Japan

Kawaji Onsen & Ryuokyo | A Hot Spring & A Gorge in Tochigi (link)

2 Aussie Travellers

Kinugawa Onsen – a relaxed Nikko Ryokan experience (link)

Visit Tochigi

About Kinugawa Onsen (link)

Visit Nikko

Kinugawa & Kawji Onsen (link)

Japan National Tourist Office

About Kinugawa Onsen (link)


About Kinugawa Onsen (link)


Kinugawa Onsen (link)

Kinugawa Onsen Ryokan Association

Kinugawa Onsen (link)

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