Yufuin no Mori is a stunning old-fashioned train that runs from Hakata to Beppu, stopping at the lovely little town of Yufuin along the way. With rich wooden furnishings and gorgeous designs with green and gold highlights, Yufuin no Mori provides a relaxing and unique experience in reaching your destination.
Yufuin no Mori requires reserved seat tickets, and you cannot ride the train without them. You can get these beforehand at the JR ticket Office (the green window office). The JR pass covers this train, so if you have the pass and plan to go to Kyushu, visit a JR ticket office early and book your reserved seat! When I tried to book a seat from Hakata to Beppu, they were already sold out, so in the end I could only make the trip from Beppu to Yufuin. It was still a very worthwhile and enjoyable ride, despite the short time on the train. The seats were green cushioned and very comfortable, and there was a little foldable table that you can flip out from the arm rest.
The scenery from Beppu to Yufuin was beautiful, and seeing the Japanese countryside was great. The train doesn't only have passenger seat carriages, but also a carriage specifically for viewing the scenery. In the viewing carriage, there are tables one side of the carriage with large viewing windows for you to enjoy the view.
There is also a food carriage selling special goods only available on the Yufuin no Mori. On my ride, I bought the Yufuin cider (remember that cider in Japan is not the same as Western alcoholic cider! Cider in Japan refers to fizzy drinks) and soybean ice cream to try. The cider had great flavour and the green bottle it came in was beautiful (I kept it as a souvenir after I finished it). The soybean ice cream was very unique with a kind of grainy texture, and interesting because you felt like you were eating something healthy even thought it was ice cream!
As well as the food carriage, Yufuin no Mori also gives each passenger a Yufuin no Mori postcard which you can stamp the special train stamp on. The train attendants also come with a driver's hat and commemorative date board for you to take photos with. There are even little uniform jackets for children to try on! Yufuin no Mori is a definite must for all train lovers, and a special experience to try for any traveller.