As the place of worship and protectorate of Arima hot springs, Tosen Shrine holds a first bath of the year ceremony on January 2nd featuring Buddhist and Shinto priests along with the people of Arima including a group of geisha girls in traditional bathhouse costumes as they all gather to pray for the safety of the area. A mikoshi, or portable wooden shrine, contains the wooden statues of two venerated Buddhist monks and is carried in a procession.
Referring to tranquility of this beautiful Japanese garden of the former Zuihoji Temple, Toyotomi Hideyoshi once said of the garden, “No matter how much you see of it, you never grow tired of it.” With places for resting scattered all throughout, the Zuihoji Park is meant to enjoy slowly.
In autumn, visitors can enjoy the beautiful leaves with their autumn hues while having a bowl of udon noodles, warm oden, or sweet Japanese sake. The park has also been chosen by Kobe City as one of its 50 designated places to see beautiful cherry blossoms.
Nenbutsuji Temple has been called the imprint of the villa from Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s wife “Nene” and has a spectacular view of the entire area. The main hall was built in 1712 and is the oldest building in the Arima Onsen area. Its garden, called the Sal Tree Garden, features a sal tree whose age is over 300 years.
Each year in late June when summer is just beginning in Japan, the tree displays its beautiful flowers, and there is an appreciation festival held at the temple for the Sal flower and the ichigen-kin, a one-stringed instrument.
To the north of the Arima hot springs stands Mt. Arima Fuji with an elevation of 374 meters. From late autumn to early spring, the Ryokan guests are often treated from the outdoor mineral bath to the spectacle of a “sea of clouds” among the distant Hokusetsu mountain ranges including Mt. Arima Fuji.
The beautiful sight of the Mt. Arima Fuji has been known since the Edo period as one of “Arima’s Six Splendid Scenic Areas.”
Founded in the 8th century by a monk whose name is venerated in Buddhism even today, Zenpukuji Temple is a temple steeped in history and lineage.Majestically standing in the temple’s compound are four cherry blossom trees exceeding 270 years in age.
Every year in the beginning of April, visitors come in large numbers to enjoy the beautiful sight of these trees in bloom. These cherry blossom trees are called the “trees of the Kobe people” as well as “Kobe’s prized trees.”