Yufuin Travel Guide: Explore the Charming Onsen Town Japan
Located approximately 10 km from Beppu, Oita (another famous onsen destination), Yufuin is a lovely onsen resort that you can easily spend a day discovering.
What to do in Yufuin, Japan?
In this comprehensive Yufuin Travel Guide, you can find tips on Yufuin transportation, places to go in Yufuin, the best things to do in Yufuin, accommodation in Yufuin, what to eat in Yufuin Japan, and more.
I. Things to know before visiting Yufuin Japan
- Places to stay: To enjoy the best of your trip to Yufuin, I recommend staying in Yufuin for at least one night, especially at Ryokan – a traditional Japanese inn.
- How to get there: Take a bus or train from Oita or Hakata station. You can buy a 7-day-rail-pass or a 14-day-rail-pass to use transportation in Japan.
- Travel insurance: Even though Japan is a safe country to visit, it’s better to have travel insurance when you’re abroad. Check out here.
II. Places to visit in Yufuin, Oita
1) Main shopping street
Are you a big fan of shopping?
Even when you’re not, I’m sure you’ll still love the Yufuin shopping street.
Along the main street of Yufuin, there are several cafes, restaurants, shops, and museums. Each shop has different products, and it’s exciting to get in and discover all those local products.
Also, wandering along the shopping street is lovely!
As every corner in Yufuin is Instagrammable, you will be amazed by the architecture of the buildings. Each house has a different color, and the landscape makes it even better!
Also, observing traditional Japanese houses’ architecture is an enjoyable activity to do here. If you’re interested in traditional Japanese architecture, it’s a good idea to go off the main road to see some houses.
2) Yufuin cafe & restaurants
As I mentioned above, Yufuin cafes and restaurants are the main attractions in this lovely town. Each cafe and restaurant has its design and dishes, so you’ll never get bored!
However, not all the cafes are on the main road. Some of them are hidden somewhere, and your mission is to find them!
>> Read related article: 10 delicious Japanese dishes you shouldn’t miss.
3) Yufuin shops
There’re several shops in Yufuin, but no shop is alike.
If you’re into manga and anime, you’ll love visiting every shop: a Snoopy shop, a Totoro shop, a Cat shop, a Dog shop, etc. You name it!
Tips: Don’t forget to visit the Totoro shop!
Have you heard of Totoro, one of the most famous movies from Ghibli production?
When stopping by these shops, don’t forget to repurchase some souvenirs home.
The locals usually make them, so buying these souvenirs will remind you about a good time in this lovely town, and they are beautiful gifts as well.
I’d suggest buying Japanese footwear – Geta (下駄)
Japanese wooden shoe, or Geta (下駄), resembles clogs and flip-flops. They are usually used with Yukata or Kimono, and they keep or feet above the ground with a wooden base.
Have you tried walking on this wooden footwear yet? If not, you should try at least once!
Tips: You can rent Yukata/ Kimono to wear around Yufuin along with Geta
4) Yufuin Floral Village
Yufuin Floral Village is my favorite place in Yufuin.
To visit Yufuin Floral Village, you will need to walk along the main street from Yufuin station and turn right. Don’t worry. You won’t get lost (There’s a huge sign!)
The village is quite small, but it’s adorable. Each house presents one cartoon character, and you can buy some souvenirs.
There’s a little Ghibli vibe, some English vibe, some other famous Japanese cartoon as well. A small playground for kids is a big bonus here :)
There’s an Alice in the Wonderland theme cafe shop, but you’ll need to pay to enter and have coffee there.
5) Lake Kinrinko
Lake Kinrinko is one of the must-visit destinations in Yufuin.
It takes around 30 minutes from the train station to the lake (according to Google map), but it will take way longer cause you’ll stop by many places.
I suggest visiting this place at the end of the trip, so you don’t need to rush here :)
A long time ago, immersing in the warm water of onsens has become an indispensable activity of Japanese people and tourists visiting this country.
Why do people love onsen?
There are several benefits of visiting onsens, such as curing disease and relieving stress, pain, and aches. If you are looking for a recommendation for onsen in Japan, Yufuin is one of the best places to go.
7) Mount Yufu
Since mountains surround Yufuin, the landscape here is stunning.
Leaving the main walking route, you can discover the rural area of Yufuin, with paddy fields and farmhouses.
If the weather is beautiful, you can try hiking Mount Yufu, also known as Yufudake.
This mountain is considered the “little Fuji of Oita” thanks to its beautiful twin peaks. You can reach the top of the hill in around 2 or 3 hours.
8) Yufushi Yufuin Chuo Jido Park
Are you going with the kids? Here is the place for them!
This park has a lovely playground for children. Also, while letting them play, you can observe the head of the train here.
There’re some small museums in Yufuin, and it will cost a bit for the entrance fee.
Are they worth visiting? I’ll let you answer it :)
10. Bonus activities: Hunting cute things
Do you love Kawaii things?
It’s quite difficult not to see cute things in Yufuin cause they are everywhere. You might feel overwhelmed by the cuteness of this town. Each decoration or sign looks cute.
How about finding bicycles around the town?
Even though you cannot ride bicycles in this town because it’s usually full of tourists, you can still find them here. Besides cars, bikes are the primary vehicles in Japan.
III. What to eat in Yufuin? – Yufuin restaurants
Disclaimer: These reviews for shops and restaurants are based on my taste, so you may like it or not. However, if you’d like to hear some honest reviews of delicious food, don’t leave yet!
1. Cheese products
Yufuin is famous for cheese!
The residents have their milk and cheese supply from the city, so the cheese is the local product.
You can see cheese everywhere: melted cheesecake, cheese cookie, bacon wrap with cheese, cheese ice cream, cheese souvenirs, etc. There’s even a Cheese factory in Yufuin!
They’re a bit crazy for cheese here, I know, but if you’re a cheese lover, you’ll love everything here.
Anyway, back to our topic here, you may wonder where you can have the best cheese product in Yufuin, right?
While wandering around Yufuin, I was stopped by the tastiest cheesecake scent at Milch.
So what is Milch? Trip Advisor names this shop as “The best cheesecake in Yufuin.”
Cheesecake at this shop is one of the best cheesecakes I’ve ever had.
With only 120 Yen, you can purchase a small cup of melted cheesecake. They serve both hot and cold versions, but I prefer the hot one. It’s warm, not too hot, so you can eat it right after buying it.
However, if you’d like to buy some back home, there’s only a cold version.
Address: 3015-1 Yufuincho Kawakami, Oita 879-5102, Oita Prefecture
Phone: +81 977-28-2800
2. Yakiniku (Japanese Grilled meat)
Japanese people love eating Yakiniku, just like their neighbors – the Koreans. Having Yakiniku with a few drinks is one of the best activities in the evening.
Also, you can understand more about Japanese living style if you experience it like a local :)
3. Famous Korokke (Japanese Croquette) stand
It’s impossible to miss this food stand, cause there’s always a long line waiting to buy this famous Korokke.
What is Korokke?
Korokke is made by mixing cooked chopped meat, seafood, or vegetables with mashed potatoes. This food stand is famous for this, so you might want to give it a try.
Read more: Top 10 Japanese food to try.
IV. Where to stay in Yufuin?
Staying in a traditional Japanese room is one of the must-do activities in Japan.
These ryokans were built a few hundred years ago, maintaining a friendly vibe and appealing architecture.
The service at the ryokan is also fantastic, and you’ll be served traditional Japanese food. Typically, the waitresses or waiters will serve meals in your room for dinner, and you’ll eat in a dining room for breakfast.
It’s maybe more expensive than a standard hotel, but it’s worth the try.
Tips: It will be cheaper if you choose the room without meals, but if you’ve never stayed at the ryokan before, you should try the whole course!
The hotels and ryokans are located around the town, but not on the main road.
-> Read reviews and check availability of places to stay in Yufuin
V. Tips for visiting Yufuin Japan
- You should visit Yufuin in the morning to escape the crowd. It’s crowded in the middle of the day.
- Trying some local cheese products is a must-do activity!
- Autumn is the best time to visit Yufuin because all the trees change their colors.
- If you visit Yufuin in the winter, don’t forget to wear warm clothes because it’s freezing on the mountain.
- Taking your camera with you!!!
- You should stay at least one night in Yufuin. Click here to book places to stay in Yufuin!
VI. How to travel to Yufuin – 湯布院?
Depending on your location, there are several ways to travel to Yufuin.
1) From abroad
You’ll need to go to Fukuoka first by airplane or ship if you’re outside Japan. There is no direct flight to Oita airport from abroad, but hopefully, there will be in the future.
- Fukuoka Airport: Narita International Airport, Kansai International Airport
- From Busan, Korea to Fukuoka Seaport: JR Kyushu Jet Ferry “Beetle” (3 hours), Dae-A Express Shipping “Dream” (3 hours 15 minutes), Camellia Line Co., Ltd “Camellia Line.”
2) Inside Japan
- From Fukuoka to Yufuin: Hakata Station -> Oita Station -> Yufuin station
- From Oita to Yufuin: Oita Station -> Yufuin station
- Note: According to JR Kyushu Train, due to heavy rain, Yufuin no Mori (the green luxury train) operation between Teruoka and Hita stations is stopped. It will be operating as a special train between Hakata station and Yufuin station via Kokura/Oita station for an indefinite period.
- Bus from Beppu to Yufuin: Approximately 45 minutes. There are 12 roundtrips on weekdays and 17 round-trips on Saturday, Sunday, and national holidays. You can check the transportation between Yufuin and Beppu here.
- The bus from Fukuoka to Yufuin takes approximately 1 hour.
- Book tours to Yufuin here!
It’s been a pleasure to read tour entry on Yufuin! I am going with my family early May to Kyushu island. And we are going to visit Yufuin. Your blog is certainly helping me in planning the trip there! Thank you for sharing.
Do you probably know where I can rent a kimono while walking around Yufuin in it? We would love to experience Yufuin in a kimono. I think would be awesome! And one more thing…is it possible to enjoy the onsen here without staying for the night? I am thinking whether I can enjoy the onsen in the afternoon and take the night train back to Fukuoka. Because I already booked all nights in Fukuoka… ??? Thank you!!
Hi Yuanita, I don’t remember exactly the name of the Kimono shop, but it’s really easy to find it because the shop is on the main shopping street (it’s only 1 street).
I think it’s possible to enjoy onsen without staying. You can ask at the tourist office about the places that provide the service. I found Kotori Onsen (http://www.yufuin-kotori.com/english/onsen.html) provides public onsen and private onsen (1500 yen for 50 mins), but I think there are cheaper places as well.
This is such a wonderful and comprehensive guide to Yufuin! It looks like so charming – I’m definitely adding it to my list of places to visit next time I travel to Japan. All of the info you provided was so great, from the quirky shops to the food recommendations to the nature and sightseeing. The photos and videos you took are beautiful. (That cheesecake looks sooo yummy!) Thank you for writing this lovely guide!
Thank you, Clara. I’m glad that you like the guide.
Such a lovely place;:)