Yufuin: An Idyllic Japanese Getaway

Nestled in the rolling hills of Oita Prefecture, Yufuin is a charming little town. It is known for its hot springs, picturesque scenery, and laid-back atmosphere. Located about 10 kilometres inland from the Beppu and near Mt Tsurumi, Yufuin has long been a popular destination for travellers seeking a break from the hustle and bustle of Japan’s larger cities. With its abundance of natural beauty, quaint shops and cafes, and soothing hot springs, Yufuin is the perfect place to unwind and reconnect with nature.

The town’s main attraction is its hot springs, or onsen, which draw visitors from all over Japan and beyond. There are dozens of onsen in the Yufuin are; from small, traditional baths to large, modern facilities with multiple pools and amenities. Many of the onsen are located in hotels or ryokans that offer visitors a unique and immersive experience.

One of the most popular onsen in Yufuin is the Kinrin Lake Onsen. It boasts a stunning view of the nearby lake and mountains. This onsen is especially popular in the winter months when visitors can soak in hot water while watching the snow fall outside. However, March is great for cherry blossoms and October is great for autumn colours. Another highly recommended onsen is the Yufuin Hanayoshi, known for its beautiful garden and peaceful atmosphere.

Beyond the hot springs, Yufuin is also home to a number of charming shops and cafes. At its centre stands Yufuin Floral Village, reminiscent of a village from the Cotswolds in the UK. Here, visitors can browse a variety of artisanal goods, including pottery, textiles, and sweets. You can also stop for a cup of coffee or tea in one of the cosy cafes. Want something more hands-on? Try your hand at making your own pottery or traditional Japanese sweets or dye fabrics at one of the local workshops.

Yufuin is also known for its stunning natural scenery, which can be enjoyed on foot or by bicycle. One popular hiking trail is the Mount Yufu Trail, which offers spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and countryside. You can also hike all the way to Beppu. Another popular activity is cycling around Lake Kinrin, which takes visitors through some of the town’s most beautiful scenery. Along the way, cyclists can stop at various lookout points and cafes to rest and take in the views.

What else can I do in Yufuin?

In addition to its natural beauty, Yufuin is also home to a number of cultural attractions. One of the most notable of these is the Yufuin Floral Village Art Museum. It houses a collection of Japanese paintings and ceramics from the Edo period. The museum’s garden is also worth a visit, as it features a variety of seasonal flowers and plants.

Another cultural attraction in Yufuin is the Bussanji Temple, a serene and peaceful temple that dates back to the 8th century. Explore the temple’s grounds and admire its many statues and carvings, or participate in a traditional Buddhist meditation practice.

For those interested in learning more about Japan’s traditional arts and crafts, Yufuin is also home to a number of workshops and classes. Visitors can learn how to make traditional Japanese sweets, dye fabrics using natural dyes, or even try their hand at creating their own lacquerware.

How to get to Yufuin

There are 2 main ways to get to Yufuin via public transport: bus and rail.

The train station in Yufuin hosts two lines: the Yufu line and the Kyudai line. The Yufu line is a limited express train that runs between Hakata and Beppu. It will cost around ¥7,700 to go from Hakata to Yufuin. The Kyudai is a local line from Hita to Oita.

If you are coming from Beppu, the local bus number 36, which runs between Yufuin and Beppu, is also available. I recommend buying a day or two-day “Beppu wide” pass (meaning Beppu and surrounding areas) as it will be cheaper than a round trip back and forth.

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Key: Sightseeing (blue), Nature (green), Food (purple), Art/Festivals/Culture/Religion (orange), General Information (black), Quora question (red)

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