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Introducing Yufuin

About 25km inland from Beppu, delightful Yufuin sits in a ring of mountains, with the twin peaks of Yufu-dake especially notable. The town lives for tourism and is a good place to see contemporary Japanese crafts; ceramics, clothing, woodworking and even interesting foods abound in its narrow lanes. However, Yufuin gets crowded on holidays and weekends. If staying overnight, arrive before dusk, when the day trippers leave and wealthier Japanese retreat to the sanctuary of their ryokan.

The tourist Information office inside the train station has some information in English, including a detailed walking map showing galleries, museums and onsen. Bicycles are available for rent from 9am to 5pm.

As in Beppu, making a pilgrimage from one onsen to another is a popular activity. Most historic is Shitan-yu, a one-room thatched bathhouse with mixed bathing only, on the northern shore of Kinrin-ko (Lake of Golden Fish Scales, named by a Meiji-era philosopher). Most local baths are separated by gender, such as nearby Nurukawa Onsen, a cluster of small bathing rooms with with lots of character and mountain views.

Double-peaked Yufu-dake (1584m) volcano overlooks Yufuin and takes about 90 minutes to climb. Some buses from Yufuin stop at the base of Yufu-dake at Yufu-tozanguchi (由布登山口; ¥360, 16 minutes, hourly).