Only 2 hours from Kyoto. Enjoy snow and eating crabs in the Onsen resort founded 1,300 years ago
Kinosaki Onsen has a beautiful and nostalgic view with rows of willow trees along a little river. There are at most 7 public baths in the area and you can casually visit and enjoy them even without staying over at the local ryokan Inns. They are called "sotoyu"(open air bath) which is opposite of "uchiyu"(indoor bath).
A digital ticket for sotoyu is a convenient ticket for those who want to go around the sotoyu facilities and stroll around the town. It can be purchased at any of the 7 sotoyu. (Rate: 1,200 yen per adult, 600 yen per child). You can try all the seven sotoyu facilities with different constructions and atmospheres.
My recommendations are "Satono-yu" with fine view outdoor bath and "Ichinoyu" with a cave pool. Please note, when you stay at any of the local ryokan in the Kinosaki area, you can visit 7 sotoyu baths for free and also enjoy taking a walk around the town dressing in "yukata". Kinosaki is a very yukata-friendly town. Actually it is considered as a dressing up style to wear Yukata and Geta in Kinosaki.
Both "Satono-yu" and "Kouno-yu" provide "Ashiyu" (foot baths) in front of the entrance where anyone can stop by. So you can enjoy Kinosaki hot spring even with your clothes on.
One of the great things about Kinosaki is you can enjoy it any time of the year. During Autumn or winter, Kinosaki offers a series of best crab dishes. Spring is a lovely cherry blossom season and in summer you can drive down to Takenohama beach just for 15 minutes.
The famous travel guidebook "Michelin Green Guide Japan" picks up Kinosaki Onsen with two stars as a place to stop by and a view from Daishi Mountain with one star. You can climb up the mountain by a cable car. They write about the street of Izushi city, their local "sara-soba" dishes, Eirakukan(old theater), nearby beaches such as Takenohama and Keinohama and much more. They also talk about local activities to conserve and protect wild stork in the column.
You can download the brochure about Kinosaki in Toyooka city from the below link.