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The hot spring town of Kinosaki Onsen in northern Hyogo Prefecture has a history that reaches back many centuries. According to local legend a hot spring sprang forth in 717 A.D. after the priest Dochi-Shonin prayed here for one thousand consecutive days. The buddhist temple Onsenji was built to honor the priest and on April 23rd and 24th a festival is still held to commemorate his miraculous feat.
Beautifully located along the Otani River, it is lined with a large number of community bathhouses. Especially famous are Satono-yu, Ichino-yu, Jizo-yu and Kono-yu. Kono-yu’s name originates from another famous local legend about a stork that used a spring in this location to heal its wounds. Its name actually means stork’s hot spring.
Kinosaki became a household word in Japan thanks to the novel Kinosaki ni te (At Kinosaki) by Japanese novelist Naoya Shiga.