Yufuin (由布院) is Beppu’s little sister, a smaller and quieter hot spring town with a bit more class and sophistication. While Yufuin has many tourists these days, the long shopping district full of interesting foods and stunning country side stop it from feeling like a tourist trap (which some say of Beppu!). Full of cheap hot springs, and great for a stroll around looking for free food samples, Yufuin is a good stop for budget minded travellers.
There is also a mountain nearby, Mount Yufuin (Yufuindake), a moderate hike taking 4-5 hours. Visit on a clear day to get amazing views over the valley and mountains. The buses between Beppu and Yufuin stop here.
Budget travel tips
- If coming from Beppu, get yourself a MyBeppuFree pass (info below) to save loads on the bus there and/or back.
- From the centre, all the main spots are a walk away, so no need to bother with local buses or taxis. Walk up the main street and to Kinrin Lake to see it all!
- Don’t bother with any expensive hotel hot springs. There are plenty of small, and much quieter, hot springs around town for 100 or 200 yen. Get a map at the Tourism Center in Yufuin station and take a stroll to one of them. The best is Shimonyu (下ん湯)
Hostels and cheap hotels
Yufuin no Take
The cheapest place in town, with prices from around 4000 yen. Near the station, this place has traditional Japanese tatami rooms and a free bath to soak in. Check prices at Booking.com.
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From Fukuoka (Hakata station), take a Limited Express like the ‘Yufuin No Mori’ (2 hours).
From Kumamoto, take a Shinkansen to Kurume and connect to the Limited Express (2 hours).
From Beppu, take any local train (15 mins) or one of the above.
Without a rail pass
The easiest and cheapest way to get to Yufuin is to get a MyBeppuFree pass from the Tourism Office in either station for unlimited travel on the buses. To go between Beppu and Yufuin, buy the Wide version (1 day 1600 yen, 2 day 2400 yen, children half price).
The route is also covered by the SUNQ pass.