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Yufuin Onsen

If you ask serious hot spring enthusiasts, many will say the bohemian charms of this little hot spring town give it the edge over Oita’s more famous options.

A close cousin to the more famous Beppu Onsen resort, Yufuin Onsen is slightly further off the beaten track, and so benefits from less crowds and a more bohemian atmosphere. Aside from the rejuvenating onsen baths themselves, you’ll find a wealth of small cafes, galleries, and shops dotted around town.

The onsen themselves are located around town, so you’ll need to do a little walking if you want to tour them. Explorers will relish the chance to head further out to wander between rice fields, or to conquer the imposing Mt. Yufu, which towers over the town. Down the end of the walking route which runs through town, you’ll find Lake Kinrinko — a small lake surrounded by more cafes and quaint boutiques.

Whether you want to explore all that the town has to offer, or just pick one onsen to luxuriate in for a few hours (or days, or weeks), you’ll be glad that you heeded the hushed whispers of Japan’s in-the-know hot spring hipsters, and headed to this less touristy alternative to Oita’s more famous resorts.

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