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Yufuin

by - 4:35 PM

Earlier this month, I went for a day in the small town of Yufuin, in the neighboring Oita prefecture. Yufuin has been severely affected by the earthquakes of this month and Oita organizes a campaign to encourage tourists tcome back there. This is the perfect time to publish an article about my visit !
 


Yufuin (由布院) is one of the most popular spots of Kyushu island : this is a place known for its onsen, Japanese hot spring.
For the first time in age, I went without any preparation. I usually buy guide books, do research on the net about an hidden place or something but this time I don't know why I just went without doing any of this. I knew there was a lake but that's all.

On the bus, I sat next to a girl who was moving all the way : she handed her hair up, removed and handed again her jacket, took out her cell phone, her headphones  leaning on the seat in front of suddenly returned back. I looked her in the corner of my eyes hoping it calms her down but it had no effect.

Once the bus arrived and freed of thisburdensome girl, I directly headed towards the small Kinrinko lake (金鱗湖) which has a nice walking trail. It passes through a small shrine with a floating torii and this is the most beautiful landscape of the city for me. It then climbs a little on the heights before drifting lower towards a small pond full of multicolored carp.

Kinrinko lake, Yufuin

Floating torii on lake Kinrinko, Yufuin
Yufuin aussi à son torii flottant !
Kinrinko lake, Yufuin

After the walk around the lake, I became to be hungry so I went back to shopping street which I went throught earlier and I tasted a bakudanyaki and honey ice cream.

The bakudanyaki (ばくだん焼) is a kind of giant takoyaki without octopus. The ball should be at least 10cm in diameter and filled with all sorts of things : mochi, sausage, a quail egg, squid and vegetables like corn , mushrooms, Chinese cabbage , etc. There were several choices of sauces but I took the more conventional : the traditional takoyaki with special sauce, mayo and dried bonito.

The honey ice cream was tasty and delicious. There are many shops selling honey to Yufuin , I didn't that know and I was pleasantly surprised because I love honey !

Bakudan yaki, Yufuin
Bakudan yaki
Honey soft serve, Yufuin
A pretty cup for this delicious honey soft serve
I went back slowly to the station via the street : Hello Kitty shop, Tororo shop , souvenir shops, "typically Japanese souvenirs" shop, a lot of food related ones and "you can buy this only here" panels everywhere... it was too touristic for me !
I fell for Hello Kitty socks, I already have Oita one but as it was the first one I received 5 years back it was pretty old.  I also bought a delicious cheesecake justout of the oven at  Yufuin Milch. Oh my God ! It was all hot, fudge and it had delicious cheese flavor. This is the cheese cake I ever had in my life.

Shops in Yufuin

Totoro shop, Yufuin

On my way, I found a Japanese sweets shop called dagashi-ya (駄菓子屋) in Japanese where I bought a few things. The shop itself was a complete mess with sweets, cakes, toys up to the celling ! Just next there was the Showa Retro Park museum which showed different items, shops, rooms of an house of the Showa era (1926-1989) . I love this retro atmosphere (I wonder if it's because I was born in the Showa era? ) So I really wanted to visit it. After receiving a coupon in the dagashi shop (run by the same person )  I was relieved of 400 yens to visit the museum and I wasn't disappointed ! It was so well organized that it was like in a real city of the Showa era. In addition I had the museum to myself, yay! This is a place I highly recommend.

Then I passed by the Yufuin Flower Village, a small place with yellow and tiny shops including the famous Kiki bakery ! Well don't dream about it longer : it's tiny (only 3 people fit inside), the decoration is banal and the breads findable in every other bakeries in Japan. A real disappointment ... like the rest of this part of Yufuin actually : touristy, crowded and expensive.

Dagashi-ya, a Japanese sweets shop
Dagashi-ya, a Japanese sweets shop
Showa Retro Park
Showa Retro Park
Showa Retro Park

Showa Retro Park, Yufuin
Showa Retro Park
Kiki bakery, Yufuin
Kiki bakery
Finding this really street too crowded and too touristy for me I went into the narrow streets under the astonished eyes of the Chinese and Korean tourists, These streets had nothing interesting, touristy wise, but I love to walk in those places, watching the gardens, vegetable gardens, flowers, view of life snatches.

Small street in Yufuin
Small street in Yufuin
Small street in Yufuin

Béné no Fukuoka ! fashion
Hat : no brand / top : sango / pants : Honeys / shoes : Shimamura / bag : no brand
Small streets in Yufuin

Small streets in Yufuin

I finally had a little time before taking the bus and I wentto the station to enjoy an ashiyu (足湯), an onsen for feet. I expected it to be at the station but as there was nothing I went to ask the tourist office which it indicated me the station counter. In fact this ashiyu is somewhat hidden as it is located directly on the home ! I've waded for 40 minutes watching the trains pass, including the superb Yufuin no Mori. I came away completely relaxed and with very red calves. What a delightful way to end the day. Admission is 160 yens and  I received a postcard and a small towel.

Ashiyu in Yufuin station
Ashiyu in Yufuin station
Ashiyu in Yufuin station
Look how cute is this towel !
"Oita, the first onsen prefecture in Japan"
"Oita, the first onsen prefecture in Japan"
I don't know what to think about  Yufuin. I liked it, saying otherwise would be a lie but I didn't loved that place. I thought to find myself in a small village like Takachiho but actually not at all, this is a normal (small) town. The lake and its surroundings have a lot of charm , this is the part of town that I liked most . The shopping street is very (too) touristy for my taste. If I go back, it will be off-season and I want to spend a night in order to enjoy the onsen .

In fact, my video on this day Yufuin will be available soon :)

Access and useful informations




Yufuin (由布院)

Access from Fukoka by train :
Take the Yufuin no Mori or the Limited Express Yufu and get off ain Yufuin. Ittakes 2 hours and 20 minutes and cost 4 040 yens.

Access from Fukoka by bus :
Take the Yufuin-go line from Hakata or Tenjin bus terminals and get off at the final stop. It takes 2 hours and cost 2 880 yens (so it is faster and cheaper than train)

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