Nestled in the picturesque valley below the double-peaked Mount Yufu-dake and about an hour and 15 minutes by train from Beppu City via the Kyudai Line, is the small town of Yufuin. Yufuin is a popular hot spring resort with a wealth of art museums, cafes and boutiques, which line its main street. The ryokans and hotels are spread out across town and not clustered along the main street like in many other resort towns. The area is rather rural and upon leaving the main walkway, visitors will encounter the rice paddies and farm houses that make up a considerable part of the town.
Yufuin can easily be explored on foot as the majority of the town’s attractions are located along the main walking path between Yufuin Station and Lake Kinrinko. Walking the entire route takes between 20 to 30 minutes. Bicycles are a convenient method for traveling to the more remote baths or for seeing the town swiftly. Rental bicycles can be obtained at Yufuin Station between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM for ¥200 per hour or ¥1,000 per day.
Lake Kinrinko is a small lake located at the end of the town’s main walking route. Walking paths lined with small shops and cafes surround the lake. There is a small shrine located at the lake’s southern end.
When you are in Yufuin, you will soon realize that the town lives for tourism. It is a good place to see contemporary Japanese crafts such as ceramics, clothing, woodworking and sampling interesting foods offered in one of its many cafes. But do note that Yufuin gets pretty crowded during the holidays and weekends. If you plan to stay overnight, make every effort to arrive before dusk.
Photo credits: Rocky Andoh