Onsen is the name for the famed Japanese natural hot spring baths. Some of the best ones in Kyoto and its surroundings are Kurama Onsen, Tenzan-no-yu Onsen, Kinosaki Onsen, Shirahama, and Arima Onsen.
Kurama Onsen is located in a tiny mountain village named Kurama, where you can find both indoor and outdoor baths. Tenzan-no-yu Onsen is a natural hot spring with a huge bath and spa complex where saunas are also available.
Kinosaki Onsen, Shirahama, and Arima Onsen are located much further from Kyoto, but they are also worth the trip for an enjoyable visit. Kinosaki has approximately seven public hot baths, and during wintertime, all ryokan (traditional Japanese inns) serve seasonal specialities such as fresh savoury crabs.
Onsen experience is available all year round, but the best season for this activity is winter, when you can warm yourself up and give your tired body a chance to relax and free your mind.