Sunday, January 6, 2013

Yufuin – Yawaraginosato Yadoya

It’s a little touristy but Japan touristy can be good especially for us city folk. It’s not crawling with foreigners yet but the main drag on Yufuin is really only about a 30 minute walk end to end. Like many other small towns, the area’s produce like milk, honey, senbei and pickles are on offer. Shopkeepers dish out samples too so you never go hungry.

Blue mountain
Aside from browsing the stores and sampling the wares, it is relaxing to just sit and have coffee at one of the lovely cafes.

Yasai Coffee
There was one which is a couple of doors from B-Speak that roasts its own beans and does it quite well too.

B-Speak Roll (original flavor)
And have the renowned B-Speak roll, which despite its fluffy lightness, is full of an aromatic fragrance combining egg and vanilla, and of course bound together by the freshest cream ever. So light I can eat this all day..

Kinrinko Lake
I didn't really get the excitement about the lake at the end of the strip but I suppose there is something mystical about watching vapor over the lake akin to something out of a scene from the Lord of the Rings.

Entrance at our ryokan
But like most onsen towns, the real attraction is checking into a ryokan and enjoying the hotspring and food.

Beef - just admire the marbling
Sukiyaki was on offer for dinner and Kyushu is considered beef country too, with Oita prefecture and neighboring Saga known for supreme quality bovine not unlike Kobe.

Even our server ignored the starters and just promptly started to cook all of our beef just as we put in our orders for Sake. A little too hasty for me since I enjoy the nice-and-slow but we probably looked like we were starving after a relaxing soak in the outdoor spring area, which you can reserve privately for 50 minutes. There are public baths in the ryokan too which you can access anytime without reservation but these are indoor, so you don’t have the benefit of cold crisp air on your face as the rest of your body is being cooked sous vide ( I kid!).

Soaking and eating are the benefits of checking into a ryokan. But it’s pretty regimented in terms of a routine, so you have a small window to eat dinner and a smaller window to eat breakfast, as the service ends by 9am. Check out is at 10am so if you snooze, you lose. Literally.

But breakfast is hearty so it’s well worth getting up for even if this ryokan isn’t the most traditional, offering up a half buffet which has juice and coffee. Most other places just have freshly brewed green tea as traditionalists would only allow.

A full stomach later (again) and we were off on our merry way. Next stop: Kurokawa.

Yawaraginosato Yadoya
2717-5 Yufuincho Kawakami
Oita Prefecture 879-5102

3040-2, Kawakami
Yufu City
Oita 879-5102

Yasai Coffee
*can't locate English address but it's literally a couple of shops down from B-Speak

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