We made a trip to Ohita prefecture and Kumamoto prefecture in the Kyushu island to see autumn foliage and enjoy Onsen (hot spring). After the state of emergency was lifted in Japan in the end of September, it has become much easier to travel around the country. Last year, we went to Saga prefecture and Nagasaki prefecture in the Kyushu island, so this year, we explored different parts of Kyushu. One of the highlights of this trip was to drive the Yamanami highway which is surrounded by beautiful nature, especially, autumn colored trees in November.
How to get to Yufuin in Ohita Prefecture
If you are in Tokyo, the easiest way to get to Ohita prefecture is to take the plane from Haneda airport in Tokyo to Ohita airport which takes about 1.5 hours. Our destination was the area called Yufuin which is the famous Onsen resort in the prefecture. Normally, there is a bus that goes to Yufuin station from Ohita airport. Unfortunately, due to COVID, the bus was temporarily suspended between Ohita airport and Yufuin station so we ended up taking a bus from Ohita aiport to Beppu Kitahama which took about 50 minutes and then take a different bus from Beppu station to Yufuin station which took about an hour or so. You can also take a bus from Ohita airport to Ohita station and take JR line from there to Yufuin station. Either way, it takes about 2 hours from the airport to Yufuin.
Lunch at Beppu
We were initially planning to have lunch in Yufuin but due to the change in our plan as mentioned above, we had lunch close to the Beppu station. If you are looking for a restaurant that you can have fresh seafood, please try “Kaisen Izutsu.” The sashimi was super fresh and tasty. Sashimi in Ohita was nothing comparable to what we can have in Tokyo. “Bungo” is the name of the province (Ohita prefecture) and there is famous fish from the area called “Bungo Saba” which is a little more expensive than other dishes but we highly recommend that you try Bungo Saba if you are in Ohita prefecture as they are extremely fresh and good!
After we got to the Yufuin station, we walked to the hotel to take a bit of rest. Our hotel was about 15 minutes walk from the station and was close to famous street called “Yunotsubo Kaido” and famous lake called “Kinrin-ko (lake).”
Picture of Yufuin station.
Picture of “Yunotsubo Kaido (street)” which has lots of pretty shops along the street.
Picture of a sweet shop on Yunotsubo Kaido.
Ryokan (Hotel) in Yufuin – Soan Kosumosu
We stayed in the hotel called “Soan Kosumosu” which was small, but very cozy onsen hotel. The hotel has continued for about 34 years but has renovated the inside 4 years ago. The retro modern fashioned furniture matches the cozy atmosphere of the hotel. They deliver a top-class service and food with seasonal and local ingredients. There are more than a few hot springs in the hotel which you can chose from after you arrive at the hotel. Due to the COVID situation, the time table for each guest was made to use each hot spring as part of a safety measure. The dining space was also different from other guests. Although the hotel is not so close from Yufuin station, it was very near from the tourist attractions such as Yunotsubo Kaido and Kinrin Lake.
Picture of the entrance of the hotel.
Picture of a room we stayed in.
A view from the hotel.
Within 5 to 10 minutes walk from the hotel, we were able to see the beautiful autumn foliage around the Kinrin Lake. The best season for colored leaves depends on the temperature of the year, but in general, mid-November is the best time to see these beautiful colored leaves.
We did not use as we rented a car but there is also a little electric car that goes around famous tourists’ spots in Yufuin area. Please check out the website below!