Yufuin Travel Guide - Best Destinations, Hot Springs, Art, And Food

About Travel in Yufuin
Mt. Yufu. Picture courtesy of Tourism Oita

Yufuin is a famous onsen town located in Yufu, Oita Prefecture. The town is blessed with naturally-flowing water and boasts mesmerizing scenery with Mt. Yufu surrounded by peaceful fields.

Yufuin is close to Hakata in Fukuoka, making it an ideal day trip destination. In addition to its great location and onsen, there are cafes, restaurants, and other facilities that cater to a wide variety of travelers. This article introduces places where visitors can enjoy food, museums, and other entertainment in Yufuin.
1. Dip Into Famous Yufuin Onsen
The women's outdoor bath at Musoen. Picture courtesy of Tourism Oita

Natural hot springs are, of course, are a must-try in Yufuin.

Musoen has a rotenburo (outdoor) bath exclusively for women that is 250 square meters, from which bathers can admire Mt. Yufu. Yufuin Nanairo no Kaze also has large indoor and outdoor baths, from where visitors can gaze upon the grandiose mountain.

As for the lodging facility, we recommend the traditional inn (ryokan), Yufuin IyoTomi. The ryokan has indoor cypress baths and a large outdoor rotenburo. The kids’ room will ensure everyone has a great and relaxing time.

2. Shopping on Yunotsubo Street
Picture courtesy of Yufuin Tourism Association Office

The main shopping street, Yunotsubo Street, connects Kinrin Lake with Yufuin Station. The street has more than 50 different stores, including restaurants and cafes offering dishes made with fresh, local ingredients, and souvenir shops where visitors can find unique items.

The tiled roofs on the walls are fascinating, as they were built to emulate the towns of the late Edo period.

Halfway down the street you’ll arrive at Yunotsubo Alley, where there are stores with local, seasonal desserts and snacks, together with shops selling craftwork and accessories.

3. Encounter Snoopy and Studio Ghibli SNOOPY Tea House
Picture courtesy of 2019 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

As mentioned above, Yunotsubo Street has many stores. Some shops feature characters from animations and pop culture. SNOOPY Tea House is a must-visit café where customers can enjoy Snoopy and Peanuts character-themed fare with a Japanese flair.

Picture courtesy of 2019 Peanuts Worldwide LLC

The unbelievably cute dishes inspired by Snoopy and Charlie Brown are almost too precious to eat. You can also enjoy dishes prepared with local Oita ingredients and delicacies from the cafe's original menu. Onsen manju (*1), ideal for giving as souvenirs, is a Yufuin-only delicacy, too.

*1 Onsen manju: manju is a type of traditional Japanese dessert, a steamed bun filled with red bean paste. Onsen manju is technically made with hot-spring steam, but it may also refer to any manju dessert sold in a hot spring area.
Donguri no Mori Yufuin Store
Picture courtesy of Folcart

Donguri no Mori is a must-visit for any Ghibli or Miyazaki Hayao fan. With a myriad of Studio Ghibli character goods, such as ones from “My Neighbor Totoro”, “Kiki’s Delivery Service”, and “Spirited Away”, it will delight any visitor with an appreciation for Japanese animation.

Picture courtesy of Folcart

The nostalgic feel of the store combined with the Ghibli-filled atmosphere complement the surroundings of Yufuin. The whole store ambiance feels heart-warming and cozy.

4. Dive into a Fairytale World in Yufuin Floral Village
Picture courtesy of Yufuin Floral Village

Yufuin Floral Village is a theme park based on the Cotswolds area in England, where the famous movie “Harry Potter” was made.

The villages in the Cotswolds area are said to be some of the world’s most beautiful villages. This fantastic theme park is filled with things to do. With an owl on your arm and a robe on, you'll feel like you've gone straight to the world of Harry Potter. A commemorative picture will take you deeper into the magical world of the beloved movie.

Be sure to see the park's charming collection of souvenirs and gifts, which include items related to “Alice in the Wonderland” and “Peter Rabbit”. What makes the facility interior a truly lovely sight, are lined-up cute and petite stores, which will let you enjoy the stroll and the shopping just as if you were visiting an English garden-style wonderland.

5. Spend an Art-filled Afternoon at Museums
Yufuin is home to many fascinating museums and art exhibits. Listed below are three museums where visitors can lose themselves in delightful, imaginative worlds.
Picture courtesy of COMICO ART MUSEUM YUFUIN
COMICO ART MUSEUM YUFUIN is museum designed by prominent architect, Kengo Kuma. It usually displays works from noted artists such as Takashi Murakami and Hiroshi Sugimoto. It is referred to as the birthplace of new form of art, as it also makes a place for creators to communicate, focusing on manga, novels, and movies.

Yufuin Kuso no Mori Artegio
Picture courtesy of Tourism Oita

Yufuin Kuso no Mori Artegio is a music and art museum. Each of the exhibits is one of a kind, with artist and instrument motifs. Guests will slip into a world of artwork and melodies upon stepping inside the museum. At the adjacent tea room, you can relish a tasty chocolate drink or the above-mentioned P Roll.

Watakushi Museum
Picture courtesy of Watakushi Museum

You’ll find the lovely Watakushi Museum tucked in the vast Yufuin greenery. The museum displays around 100 pieces of art by numerous artists with a strong connection to the Kyushu region, such as the painters Hiroki Oda, from Fukuoka Prefecture, and Tatsuo Takayama, born in Oita Prefecture.

6. Try Local Food – Bungo Beef, Croquettes, and Swiss Rolls Bungo Beef Mabushi
Picture courtesy of Yufumabushi Shin

One gourmet dish to try in Yufuin is Bongu Beef Mabushi at Yufumabushi Shin Ekimae.

This is a hitsumabushi dish with different flavors, made with Bungo beef, a type of black-haired Japanese beef from Oita Prefecture. You won’t be able to get enough of the heavenly combination of Bungo beef and delicious Yufu rice.

Yufuin Kinsho Croquettes
Picture courtesy of Yufuin Kinsho Croquettes

If you get hungry while walking in Yufuin, head to Yufuin Kinsho Croquettes, a popular food stand, for a treat. The fried croquettes here have a crunchy outer layer surrounding melty Irish cobbler potato and minced Japanese beef. They are simply delicious.

Picture courtesy of Yufuin Hanakoji Kikuya

Do you have a sweet tooth? Be sure to make a stop at Yufuin Hanakoji Kikiya sweets shop for Purindora.

The delicious filling of dorayaki (*2) is usually red bean paste. However, this sweet snack is filled with pudding instead. The dessert has an exquisite flavor from milk made in Oguni in Aso, Kumamoto, from Jersey cows. Natural spring water found in Yufu is also a vital part of the recipe.

*2 Dorayaki: a Japanese sweet, consisting of anko paste sandwiched between two slices of soft and sweet, pancake-like dough.
Swiss Roll
Picture courtesy of B-speak

Another delightful treat is the P-roll, a Swiss roll made at B-speak. This simple roll cake is not too sweet but makes a great dessert for children, which was also the idea behind its creation.

Address: Oita, Yufu, Yufuin, Kawakami 3040-2 Google Map
Access: About 6 minutes by foot from JR Yufuin Station
Official Website: http://www.b-speak.net/en/index.html
7. Capture the Mystic Beauty of Lake Kinrin on Camera
Picture courtesy of Tourism Oita

Lake Kinrin at the foot of Mt. Yufu is a must-visit hiking spot where you can take in nature year-round. There is also a promenade where you can walk through a forest. You will be able to snap some spectacular photos with Lake Kinrin in the background from some of the nearby piers.

If you head towards Tenso Shrine, you can break away from other travelers and capture the mysterious atmosphere from the mountains reflecting on the lake surface.

Picture courtesy of Tourism Oita

Lake Kinrin is one of the few lakes in Japan where hot springs flow out from its bottom. The mist hovering over the lake surface in cold weather results from this phenomenon. You can see this usually during autumn and winter mornings; if you wish to capture this mesmerizing sight on camera, you should plan a morning visit. The lake also is gorgeous in the evening when the sun sets. An evening stroll around the lake is a great choice, too, for a day-trip.

8. Ride a Sightseeing Train from Hakata to Yufuin
Picture courtesy of  Kyushu Railway Company

A ride on Yufuin no Mori Express Train will add an exciting start to your Yufuin trip. You can board this special train from Hakata.

The combination of the retro and modern designs gives the train a resort-like atmosphere, and the view from the lounge with large windows is magnificent.

Picture courtesy of  Kyushu Railway Company

It takes less than two hours to reach Yufuin Station from Hakata Station (a regular one-way ticket fee costs 4,560 yen). For travelers planning a day-trip, the first train departs at 9:24 from Hakata Station and the last train from Yufuin Station departs at 17:08. This will give you plenty of time to enjoy the hot spring area.

You can also save money by traveling via bus. A one-way ticket costs 2,880 yen. Buses arrive at and depart from Yufuin more often than trains.

Yufuin no Mori Official Website: http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/train/yufuin_no_mori.html

Bus (Yufuin Line) Official Website: http://www.nishitetsu.jp/bus/highwaybus/rosen/yufuin.html (Japanese)
9. Tour Famous Spots in a Carriage
Picture courtesy of Tourism Oita

Use Kanko Tsuji Basha to enjoy a relaxed trip around Yufuin.

Head to the Yufu Tourist Information Center to sign up for the carriage ride. The center is right next to Yufuin Station, and the station is also the starting point of the carriage voyage. The ride is about 50 minutes long and includes a spectacular view of Mt. Yufu. Riders can also admire historical sites such as Bussanji, a temple built in the Heian period, and Unagihime Shrine, which enshrines Kunitachi no Mikoto, a deity from Japanese myths.

The route of the carriage showcases a serene, rural part of Yufuin. Be sure to take lots of photos. The carriage will take you to lesser-known areas that are difficult or impossible to visit on foot. Sit back and enjoy the ride to discover enthralling spots in Yufuin.

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Horse Drawn Carriage Tours in Yufuin - A Memorable Experience!
10. Enjoy Beppu Onsen
Myoban Yunosato, a facility of Myoban Onsen in Beppu. Picture courtesy of Tourism Oita

Beppu Onsen is another destination to visit when in the Yufuin area. Beppu is considered the top onsen in terms of the number of springs and the quantity of spring water. Travelers can reach it easily and quickly from Yufuin, as it takes around 40 minutes by car. You can also get there via Yufurin, a high-speed transit bus, in about an hour and ten minutes (one-way is 900 yen).

Beppu Onsen has eight different types of hot springs called Beppu Hatto (“Eight Hot Springs of Beppu”) in Japanese. Myoban Onsen, in particular, attracts the most attention. This is the very first area in Japan where alum was found. The scent of sulfur wafts all around the oarea.

Kannawa scenery. Picture courtesy of Tourism Oita
One of the eight hot springs is Kannawa, designated as one of Japan’s Cultural Landscape. The whole hot spring town is enveloped with steam, making it a spectacular sight to behold. You'll find Hyotan Onsen, recognized by the Michelin Guide, and other facilities.
Travel in Yufuin
Yufuin is one of the easily reachable, convenient places when in Hakata. It is noted not only for its famous hot spring towns but as a birthplace of a new wave in sightseeing, taking the tourism and entertainment to the next level. Close to the stunning Mt. Yufu, Yufuin offers gourmet food, art, and unique, charming atmosphere to visitors. Be sure to make time for a visit!
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