Ryokans are Japanese style inns located mostly at hot spring resorts. While Beppu is the more popular choice for onsen in Oita, I convinced CS to travel farther to Yufuin instead. This quaint town offers a wealth of fascinating boutiques, interesting local finds, beautiful cafes, and art museums - all within walking distance from the train station. After spending a few days in the city and sleeping in a small hotel room in Fukuoka, it was indeed a treat to wander amid rice paddies and farm houses before finding our home for 3 days in town - Yufuin Ryokan Nogiku.
There's no security in the property as Japanese people are known for their honesty and discipline. Guests can just follow the signs (with English translation) leading towards the reception area.
CS and I were warmly received by the staff upon entering the reception area. As soon as he learned that we're from the Philippines, he called his English speaking colleague to officially welcome us, explain onsen etiquettes and its operating hours, show us the facilities and lead us to our room.
Yufuin's most prominent skyline is the twin-peaked Mount Yufu, as viewed from our living area.
Before leaving, the staff graciously offered hot green tea and some homemade Dorayaki, a classic Japanese confection of honey pancake sandwich with red bean paste filling, made by his father. The mildly sweet and fluffy pancake was extremely delicious that we brought 2 boxes back to Manila for pasalubong and personal consumption.
This traditional Japanese hotel offers only 8 rooms - each equipped with tatami floors, futon beds, LED television with local channels only, kotatsu (Japanese heated wooden table), refrigerator, toilet and outdoor bath with basic toiletries, and private onsen. Guests are also provided with yukata and wooden slippers for the authentic Japanese onsen experience.
Our booking is inclusive of delicious and balanced breakfast freshly delivered everyday. As the hotel has no in-house restaurant, our meals are delivered by the staff directly to our room.
If we're not dining out, MaxValu is our go-to place for affordable sushi and sashimi. Best time to visit is late in the afternoon to early evening for discounted prices up to 70% off.
Pros: Private outdoor onsen on each room, clean and well-kept accommodation, spacious bedroom and living area with a great view of Mount Yufu, delicious Japanese-style breakfast, attentive and helpful staff, and free parking if you're driving to town.
Cons: No lunch/dinner service and late check-in/early check-out policy in Japan.
Yufuin Ryokan Nogiku
2879-1 Kawakami, Yufuin
Yufu, Oita, Japan
Tel.: (8197) 785-3372