Yufuin

The road leading from Yufuin Station

Yufuin is a popular hot spring resort, located about ten kilometers inland from Beppu, another, much larger and more developed hot spring resort. Yufuin has a wealth of art museums, cafes and boutiques, and many travelers come to the city just to stroll about town for the day.

Yufuin is located on a flat river basin surrounded by mountains. The most prominent feature of Yufuin's skyline is the twin peaked Mount Yufu, which hovers over the town and serves as the backdrop for many scenic views. The area is rural and shortly after leaving the main walking route, travelers will come across the rice paddies and farm houses that make up a considerable part of the town.

A shopping area along the main walking route / Lake Kinrinko

The ryokan and hotels of Yufuin are spread out around town, and not clustered along the main street like in many other resort towns. Instead, the main street is lined with cafes, boutiques and small museums, giving Yufuin an atmosphere more like a trendy shopping area than a traditional onsen town. Nonetheless, there is a large number of lodgings with hot spring baths, some of which open their baths to non-staying guests during daytime.

Another natural landmark of Yufuin besides Mount Yufu is Lake Kinrinko. The small lake is located at the end of the town's main walking route, about a kilometer and a half from the station. Walking paths surround the lake as well as more small shops and cafes, and there is a small shrine located at the lake's southern end. There are also a few public bath houses, one of which, the Shitanyu, can be used by tourists, while the others are for use by local residents only.

Below is a list of some of Yufuin's best baths:

Tsuka no Ma
Tsuka no Ma (formerly known as Shoya no Yakata) is located on a hillside in the northern part of Yufuin where large steam clouds from hot spring sources can be seen raising into the air. The ryokan has large, gender separated outdoor baths with blueish-looking water, untypical for Yufuin. The location on the hillside allows for some views onto the town below.

Daytime Hours: 9:30 to 18:30 (entry until 18:00), closed Wednesdays
Daytime Admission: 800 yen
Overnight Stay: From 18,000 yen per person including two meals

Baien
Baien is located slightly above the town to the south, and has large, attractive outdoor baths (rotemburo) for visitors. On clear days, the twin peaks of Mount Yufu are visible from the baths. The facilities are gender separated.

Daytime Hours: 11:00 to 16:00 (entry until 15:00)
Daytime Admission: 700 yen
Overnight Stay: From 19,000 yen per person including two meals

Musoen
The views of Mount Yufu from Musoen's outdoor baths are considered among Yufuin's best. The ryokan is located slightly above town to the south and has large, attractive baths that are gender separated. The ryokan grounds are quite attractive, as well.

Daytime Hours: 10:00 to 15:30 (entry until 15:00)
Daytime Admission: 700 yen
Overnight Stay: From 19,000 yen per person including two meals

Sansuikan
Located just a short walk from Yufuin Station, the Sansuikan offers some of the most easily accessible baths to tourists without private means of transportation. The large ryokan's gender separated bathing facilities feature multiple outdoor and indoor pools, a scented bath and a sauna.

Daytime Hours: 12:00 to 16:00
Daytime Admission: 700 yen
Overnight Stay: From 14,000 yen per person including two meals

Saigakukan
Saigakukan is located to the south of town, however its baths are not quite as large, open and attractive as those of the Baien and Musoen. Nonetheless, they are quite nice and offer some views of Mount Yufu. There are gender separated indoor and outdoor pools.

Daytime Hours: 11:00 to 16:00 (entry until 15:00)
Daytime Admission: 620 yen
Overnight Stay: From 17,000 yen per person including two meals

Shitanyu Public Bath
The Shitanyu is a very simple, old-fashioned public bath house at the shore of Lake Kinrinko with two small pools. It is gender mixed without dedicated changing rooms and very limited facilities. The bath house opens towards the back, giving bathers a view onto some greenery.

Hours: 10:00 to 22:00
Admission: 200 yen

Orientation

Yufuin can be easily explored on foot, and the majority of the town's attractions are located along the 1.5 kilometer long main walking route between Yufuin Station and Lake Kinrinko. Walking the entire route takes between 20 and 30 minutes, not counting any stops along the way.

Yufuin's baths are spread out all across the town, and many of them are difficult to access without private transportation. Bicycles are a convenient method for traveling to the more remote baths or for seeing the town quickly. Rental bicycles can be obtained at Yufuin Station for 250 yen per hour or 1250 yen per day. Taxi and rental car are other options for getting around. Nissan and Ekiren have rental car outlets in Yufuin, while many more outlets are found in nearby Beppu.

How to get there

From Beppu

By bus
Kamenoi Bus operates 1-2 buses per hour between Beppu and Yufuin Stations. The one way trip takes 50 minutes and costs 900 yen.
By train
Train travel between Beppu and Yufuin requires a transfer of trains at Oita Station. By local trains, the one way journey takes about 80 minutes, costs 1110 yen and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass and Kyushu Rail Pass.
By Kyusanko Kyushu Odan Bus
The Kyushu Odan Bus operates between Beppu and Kumamoto, stopping at Yufuin along the way. The one way journey between Beppu and Yufuin takes one hour, costs 980 yen and is covered by the Sun Q Pass.

From Fukuoka

By highway bus
A direct highway bus runs about once per hour between Fukuoka (Hakata Station, Tenjin Bus Center and Fukuoka Airport) and Yufuin (Yufuin Station). The one way trip takes two hours and costs 2880 yen. A round trip ticket is available for 5140 yen. The bus is covered by the Sun Q Pass.
By train
There are about five daily JR limited express trains between Fukuoka (Hakata Station) and Yufuin. The one way trip takes around 2.5 hours, costs about 4500 yen and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass and Kyushu Rail Pass. Discounted sets of two tickets (2枚きっぷ, nimaikippu) to be used by one or two persons in either direction are available for 7920 yen.
Important Notice: Heavy rain caused damage to the train tracks between Kurume and Hita in July 2017. Train operation is scheduled to resume on July 14, 2018. Until then, the "Yufuin no mori" limited express trains between Fukuoka and Yufuin are temporarily operating via Kokura and Oita instead via Kurume.

From Kumamoto

By bus
The Kyusanko Kyushu Odan Bus connects Kumamoto (Kumamoto Station, Kumamoto Kotsu Center and Kumamoto Airport) with Yufuin (Yufuin Bus Center). The one way trip between Kumamoto and Yufuin Stations takes 4-5 hours, cost 3550 yen and is covered by the Sun Q Pass.
By train
Train travel between Kumamoto and Yufuin is fastest via Kurume. By limited express trains the one way journey takes around 2 hours 45 minutes, costs about 5500 yen and is fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass and Kyushu Rail Pass.
Important Notice: Heavy rain caused damage to the train tracks between Kurume and Hita in July 2017, while the 2016 earthquake damaged the train tracks between Kumamoto and Aso. In the meantime, the fastest way to travel by train between Kumamoto and Yufuin is via Fukuoka and Oita. The train line between Kurume and Hita is scheduled to be reopened on July 14, 2018, which will then allow for quicker travel via Kurume again.

From Aso

By Kyusanko Kyushu Odan Bus
The Kyushu Odan Bus by Kyusanko travels from Yufuin to Aso Station before continuing to Kumamoto. The one way journey between Yufuin and Aso takes about 2.5 hours, cost 3000 yen and is covered by the Sun Q Pass. Click here for timetables and online reservations.
By train
Train travel between Yufuin and Aso leads via Oita: take a train from Yufuin to Oita Station (one hour, 1-2 trains per hour) and then the Kyushu Odan Express limited express train to Aso (about 2 hours, 4 trains per day). The entire one way trip takes around 3.5 hours and costs about 4000 yen. Alternatively, the journey by local trains takes about 4.5 hours, costs 2810 yen and requires multiple transfers along the way. All the trains are fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass.

From Tokyo

How to travel between Yufuin and Tokyo
Travel between Tokyo and Yufuin is best done via Beppu:
1) How to travel between Tokyo and Beppu
2) How to travel between Beppu and Yufuin

information source: japan-guide.com

Airport: Oita Airport

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