Yufuin, Japan

Yufuin is perhaps the lesser known onsen village to its sisters Beppu and Hakkone, nestled within the valley of Mount Yufu. I liken it’s main road to St. Helena in Napa, California, with its many quaint boutiques, gourmet food shops, and cafes. Though, like St. Helena, the gem of this quiet town is found outside of downtown.

Must pamper

Shoya no Yakata. This was by far one of the most luxurious highlights of our trip to date. We were able to book a private royaken style cottage with a personal onsen inside. We soaked morning, noon and night, not only in our private bath, but in the Family Bath, and the men [only] and women [only] baths as well. All baths pristine, each filled with fresh natural sulfer spring water, overlooking the mountains. A truly zen experience, and as a friend mentioned, something you should do at least once in your lifetime!

Must eat

Coursed breakfast and dinner at Shoya no Yakata. We read that much of the onsen experience was complimented by its dining, with savory dishes made by top chefs specializing in Japanese haut cuisine. In our room, we found proper Japanese robes, overcoats, socks and slippers, laid out for us to wear to each meal, where we had our own private table and personal server. We indulged in numerous courses of varying types of sushi, sushimi, noodles, tofu, smoked fish, and Miyazaki beef, among other things. Utterly satisfied after each meal, the only option we had to do from there was to soak some more!
Note: We wouldn’t recommend for vegetarians or vegans!

Must drink

Shochu. This is Japanese distilled alcohol most commonly made from potatoes. In the Kushu prefecture, shochu is more popular than sake! It pairs nicely with the coursed dinner, but you can also enjoy it on it’s own. Recommended on the rocks.

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