If you’re looking for a nice town to enjoy hot spring in Japan, I’d recommend visiting Yufuin(由布院 – 湯布院). Located approximately 10 km from Beppu, Oita (another famous onsen destination), Yufuin – 湯布院 is a lovely onsen resort that you can easily spend a day discovering. In this article, you can find tips on Yufuin transportation, places to go in Yufuin, best things to do in Yufuin, what to eat in Yufuin and more.
One of the most beautiful places in Yufuin – Yufuin Floral Village
I. How to travel to Yufuin – 湯布院?
Depending on your location, there are several ways to travel to Yufuin.
1) From abroad
If you’re outside Japan, you’ll need to travel to Fukuoka first by airplane or ship. There is no direct flight to Oita airport from abroad, but hopefully, there is in the future.
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 station and Hita station is stopped. It will be operating as an extra train between Hakata station and Yufuin station via Kokura/Oita station for an indefinite period of time.
Scenic train to Yufuin – sit back and enjoy the beautiful landscape of Southern Japan.
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.
Bus from Fukuoka to Yufuin: Approximately 1 hour. You can search for the timetable here.
II. Places to visit in Yufuin, Oita
1) Main shopping street
Yufuin food stand
Are you a big fan of shopping? Even when you’re not, I bet that you’ll still love the Yufuin shopping street. Along the main street of Yufuin, there are several cafe, restaurants, shops, and museums. As each shop has different products, and it’s really interesting to get in and discover all those local products. Wandering along the main shopping street is also interesting 🙂
2) Yufuin cafe & restaurants
As I mentioned above, Yufuin cafe and restaurants are the main attractions in this lovely town. Each cafe and restaurant has its own design and dishes, so you’ll never get bored!
Would you like to try some traditional Japanese food? This restaurant is for you!
There are only a few chairs outside this Soba shop, so you’ll have to be hurry!
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 single shop. Snoopy shop, Totoro shop, Cat shop, Dog shop, … You name it!
Yufuin snoopy shop
Need some haircut while traveling in Japan? There’s a hair shop in Yufuin as well!
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 🙂
Owl Museum in Yufuin – 湯布院, Japan
5) Yufuin Floral Village
Yufuin Floral Village is my favorite place in Yufuin. In order to visit Yufuin Floral Village, you will need to walk along the main street from Yufuin station and then turn right. Don’t worry, you won’t get lost (There’s a huge sign!)
The village is quite small, but it’s really lovely. Each house presents one cartoon character, and you can buy some souvenirs back home. 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 🙂
Yufuin Floral Village
The Rabbit House in Yufuin Floral Village
Yufuin Floral Village Cafe
There’s Alice in the Wonderland theme cafe shop but you’ll need to pay to enter and have coffee there.
6) Yufushi Yufuin Chuo Jido Park
Going with kids? Here is the place for them! This park has a nice playground for children. Also, while letting them play, you can observe the head of the train here.
7) Lake Kinrinko
Lake Kinrin 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 believe me, 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 🙂
It’s one of the purposes of your trip to Yufuin, isn’t it? From a long time ago, immersing in the warm water of onsens has become an indispensable activity of Japanese people and tourists visiting this country. 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.
9) Mount Yufu
Since Yufuin is surrounded by mountains, the landscape here is really stunning. Leave the main walking route, you can discover the rural area of Yufuin, with paddle fields and farmhouses.
III. Best things to do in Yufuin
1. Wandering around the town
2. Finding hidden cafes
3. Hunting cute things
4. Observing traditional Japanese houses’ architecture
5. Finding cute bicycles around the town
6. Buying some souvenirs
Yufuin’s gift shop
7. Visiting Totoro shop
You might hear of Totoro, one of the most famous movies from Ghibli production.
8. Buying Japanese footwear – Geta (下駄)
Japanese wooden footwear, 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 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.
9. Staying at a traditional Yufuin onsen ryokan
Staying at a Japanese traditional room is one of the must-do activities in Japan. These ryokans were built few hundred years ago, so they still maintain the charming vibe and appealing architecture. The service is also amazing, and you’ll be served traditional Japanese food. Normally the waitresses or waiters will serve meals into your room for dinner, and you’ll eat in the common room for breakfast. It’s may be more expensive than a normal hotel, but it’s totally worth the try.
Tips: It will be cheaper if you choose the room without meals.
Staying at Ryokan in Japan – A must-do activity!
10. Hiking Yufuin Mountain
If the weather is nice, you can try hiking Mount Yufu, or also known as Yufudake. This mountain is considered as the “little Fuji of Oita” thanks to its beautiful twin peaks. You can reach the top of the mountain around 2 or 3 hours.
IV. What to eat in Yufuin? – Yufuin restaurants
Disclaimer: These reviews for shop 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 own milk and cheese supply from the city, so 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? In Trip Advisor, they name this shop as “The best cheesecake in Yufuin”.
Cheesecake here is actually the best cheesecake I’ve ever had in my life. With only 120 Yen, you can purchase a small cup of melted-cheesecake. They serve both hot and cold version, but I prefer the hot one. It’s actually warm, not too hot, so you can eat it right after buying. However, if you’d like to buy some back home, there’s only cold version.
The hotels and ryokans are located around the town, but not the main road. I didn’t stay there because I live in Beppu, but it will be better if you spend the night over and relax in the hot springs.
VI.Tips to visit Yufuin
Visit Yufuin in the morning in order to escape the crowd
Try some local cheese products
Autumn is the best time to visit Yufuin
If you visit Yufuin in the winter, remember to wear warm clothes because it’s really cold on the mountain.
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