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An onsen city where tranquility meets healing waters

About Yufu
Photo: Lake Kinrin – Suicasmo / CC BY-SA 4.0

Things to do in Yufu

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The Yunohira of Yore

The Yunohira of Yore

Scott Brause

A traveler discovers that his long-cherished Shangri-la, Yunohira Onsen in western Japan's Oita Prefecture, is still toying..


About Yufu

Nestled in the heart of Oita Prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Yufu is a city known for its beautiful natural scenery and excellent hot spring resorts. The northwest section of the city is home to the famous Yufuin district, which is one of Japan's top onsen destinations. Unlike many onsen towns where inns are clustered along a central street, Yufuin's inns are spread throughout the area.

One of Yufu's historical attractions is the Yunohira Hot Springs area, known for its positive effects on gastrointestinal health. It has been a therapeutic haven since the 17th century. To the north of Mt. Yufu lies the Tsukahara Hot Springs, where the water has a highly acidic pH of 1.4, which is particularly effective in treating various skin conditions.

Another must-visit attraction is Kinrin Lake, an enchanting body of water fed by hot springs, maintaining a warm temperature year-round. The name Kinrin, meaning gold scales, was inspired by a Confucian monk who observed the shimmering effect of the evening sun on the fish scales in the lake. During autumn, the lake is enveloped in a mystical, steamy morning mist, creating a breathtaking scene.

In Yuhu City, you can experience traditional Japanese Kaiseki dishes in hot springs. The area is also known for its famous crispy croquettes.