With all the hype around Japan’s cherry blossom season, autumn in Japan should also be on every traveler’s bucket list. If you’re looking for a picturesque autumn scenery in Japan, Yufuin is the perfect place! When the leaves are turning into red gleaming amber, I fall in love even more with this idyllic little town. After three years of living in Japan, I found Yufuin’s autumn foliage to be just too breathtaking to skip.
Yufuin: An overview
Located in the east of Oita Prefecture, just 10km from Beppu, this sleepy town is surrounded by the natural beauty of hills, mountains, and flowing rivers. It is also known for their myriad choices of onsen for you to relax and unwind. From afar, you’ll see the sight of the twin peaked Mt. Yufu. It’s the kind of place where you want to have an aimless stroll all day, and all of a sudden, time seems to fly so fast. You can easily see everything in Yufuin in a day, as it is a very small town with just three major streets. Yufuin definitely deserves a day trip when visiting Kyushu.
Yunotsubo Kaido Shopping Street
Yunotsubo Kaido (湯の坪街道) Shopping Street is a long street full of cute boutique cafes and food stalls. Definitely come here with an empty stomach, this street is a food heaven! From big takoyaki, Kinsho (gold medal) Croquette, B-Speak roll cake, grilled squid, cheese biscuits; the temptation is endless.
Definitely try the famous Milch cheesecake (website in Japanese), my personal favorite. For only ¥120, you get both the cold and hot ones to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Yufuin Floral Village
Not far from Yunotsubo Kaido Street, you will find yourself stumbling upon a cute tiny fairytale village in Yufuin Floral Village. It has a classic English feel as it’s inspired by Cotswolds Village in the UK. You will be greeted with squirrels, ducks, rabbits and goats; how cute can that be! You can even visit the Owl’s Forest and pay a visit to Hedwig from Harry Potter. Each house here represents each character from Japanese anime, such as Kiki’s Bakery and Totoro’s house as if you’re in a anime wonderland.
Lake Kinrinko (金鱗湖) is the star scenery in Yufuin. From here, you get to admire the stunning view of blazing autumn foliage. Go in early- to mid-November to get the best view. Yufuin draws visitors all year round as it showcases the beauty of all of Japan’s four seasons. Whether it’s colorful leaves in the autumn, pink vibrant cherry blossoms in the spring, luscious green trees and clear blue sky in the summer, or pure white landscape blanketed in snow in the winter, there is always something for everybody. Yufuin definitely deserves at least a day trip when you’re in Kyushu just simply to have a pleasant day or to reconnect with nature.
By bus: There are frequent direct buses between Beppu and Yufuin Stations. It’s a 45 minutes’ bus ride and it costs ¥900 one way. From Fukuoka, the ride will take two hours and it will cost you ¥2880 one way.
By train: From Beppu, you can take the local JR train. It costs ¥1,100 one way. Or you can take Yufuin-no-mori limited express train for a scenic view. It runs from Hakata via Yufuin to Oita and Beppu. The ride is also covered by the JR Pass.