Thursday, 17 December 2015

Yufuin - More than just Onsens

While Beppu is dubbed the hot springs (onsen) town, Yufuin is sometimes referred to as mini Beppu.

We went from Beppu to Yufuin by the JR train and it took some 30 minutes with a change at Oita Station. We got there just around 9.30am and a beautiful sight greeted us as we exited the station. The station itself is nice...

Cold morning coupled with the steam created a foggy morning.

The morning we arrived was beautiful - the morning clouds hanging around Mount Yufu. I understand the clouds are steam from the town rising up.

The day we arrived was a beautiful sunny morning - temperature around 12 degrees celsius and the sun shining through. Lovely!

The walk up to Lake Kinrinko is where the fun is. The road leading to the lake is lined with shops and museums.

For Snoopy lovers, there is even a Snoopy themed restaurant. Try the mochi from the Snoopy stall – made fresh everyday. Sit down by the stall which is located beside the canal.

Enjoy the walk up and if you choose to (and I suggest you do), sit by the Snoopy Cafe and savour the mochi.

The walk itself from Yufuin Station to Lake Kinrinko is about 30 minutes but because of the shops etc., it took us almost 50 minutes to get there. On the way there, we came across a cake shop – B-Speak. We were there at around 9.30am and a queue had already formed. Impressive we thought, as the shop only opens at 10am. So try we must. And we bought the cake on our walk back. Read about it in my other post.

Along the way, try the pudding – they tell us the pudding is made with milk, sugar and eggs much like chawanmushi (steamed egg) except that they are cooked with the hot steam from the onsen. They come with several flavours but we understand the best sellers are the plain flavour. There is the caramel and green tea but we also feel that the plain is best of all. These pudding are also available in Beppu.

Yufuin has many art museums and quaint little shops. We came across the Yufuin Floral Village...

Small shops selling paintings and knick knacks... Including a shop selling Rolexes (vintage).

There is even a shop selling gelato called Firenze.

On top of selling gelato, they also sell wine made in Yufuin.

A word of advice - stay with the regular wines. According to the bartender, the wines are made in Yufuin. They have several types - white, rose and red. We manage to sample some and ended up purchasing two glasses - a red Merlot and the Rosè. Not impressed...

Being the onsen town, plenty of unique food finds including this onsen egg...

There is also the pudding. Comes in three flavours - caramel, green tea and plain. We liked the plain so we bought three each costing JPY310. The same pudding cost JPY300 in Beppu.

When you return from Yufuin to Hakata, try to take the train Yufuin no Mori. The interior of this train is all wood paneling. It was obvious to us that many were waiting for this train - not just riding on it but anticipating its arrival.

And when the train did arrive, there was a hive of activities. Passengers take photos and videos of the train...

Gina posing right by the train.

The interior of the Yufuin No Mori train - all wood paneling. As we were seated at the back, we could view the train as it departed the station.

And as an added bonus, the train attendant will happily take a photo for you with a special sign showing the date of travel on the Yufuin No Mori.

The train ride was about two hours and twenty minutes from Yufuin back to Hakata. A nice rest after a day of walking in Yufuin. Look out for my other post on Lake Kinrinko in Yufuin and the autumn colours there. Here is the link to my post on Beppu and the Hell Tours.

Photos taken with iPhone 6S Plus.

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