A Beautiful Spring Day Hike in Mt. Yufu (由布岳), Japan - April 2023

Japan offers plenty of scenic trails for people of different fitness levels so hiking has been a must-do for me whenever I visit the country. On this return trip, I went to Mt. Yufu (由布岳), a prominent landmark in Oita prefecture and a worthwhile outdoor adventure from Fukuoka, where I had spent the night after flying in from Manila. 

From Hakata station, I took the 7:43AM Yufu 1 Limited express train to Yufuin station (Travel Time : 2 hr 20 minutes.)  Then,  a scenic 15-minute bus ride to the trailhead at  "Yufu Tonzanguchi"bus stop. The view from the left window side of the bus offers sweeping views of Mt. Yufu as it zigzags along the highway. 

beautiful clear day at the start of my hike.

The bus stopped just a few feet from the entrance of the Main Trailhead trail, the most popular  of the 3 routes going to the summit.

One hour (maybe less for some) into the hike and you're already offered
these nice views! pwede na bumaba. LOL.

The hike started on an easy, mild ascent - a wide open trail where you could see the mountain in front of you.  Though it was a little past 11:00 AM, it was cool and very windy, some of my baby hair flapped wildly on my forehead!  

Soon, I'm inside a shady woodland surrounded by leafless trees.  Most of the trail signs are in Japanese so I had to use an offline version of Google Translate to figure out what was written. Still, the route was easy to follow. In less than an hour, I reached a junction which offers two approaches to the summit - via the West Trailhead and my pick, Main Trailhead. The trail started getting steeper and my rest stops became more  frequent. I was exerting a lot more energy than I thought. At one point, I had to take a break along the bushes for a quick onigiri break and orange juice so I can continue walking.

The views started becoming more scenic. Along the trails are vantage points where you can enjoy a view of the nearby towns and mountains. Being a weekend, I ran into a handful of fellow hikers.  I was happy to see people, albeit my limited Japanese that devoid me of substantial conversations. 

At 1:40 PM, I reached the saddle. Here, you can go to East or West peak - about 10-20 minutes away. Seeing the steep, rocky sections,  I chose neither, letting my acrophobia win this time. The sun's heat was blazing but weather was still chilly so I picked a spot beside a rock for some shade and enjoyed a late lunch while quietly enjoying the view. 

I got back to the trailhead past 3:00 PM which gave me plenty of time to change clothes and get back to Yufuin station for the 5:11 PM train back to Hakata. I was looking forward to the sweet finale of my day trip - riding the infamous Yufuin no Mori train while eating a bento box and citrus ice cream!

Hiking Information :

How to get to Mt. Yufu from Hakata Station, Fukuoka

From Hakata station, take a train going  to Beppu and alight at Yufuin station (Travel Time is 2 hr+). For this train ride, I used a North Kyushu JR Pass (bought from Klook) and booked a reserved seat at the JR Kyushu ticket office in Hakata station.  For train schedules, I relied on Google maps. You can also check the JR Kyushu Site. From Yufuin station, walk towards the bus terminal and get off at Yufu Tozanguchi bus stop. Travel time is 15 minutes. The terminal is small and only 1 bus departs at a given time. To make sure you're getting on the right bus, ask one of the English-speaking staff. 

The bus will stop just a few feet from the Main Trailhead entrance. You'll pay for the fare when you get off. You can also use an IC card like Suica or Sugoca (I used Suica). There are no registration fees  or permits to be paid.  There's a resting area and  restrooms across the trailhead. There are no stores and I didn't notice a vendo machine here so you'll need to get your supplies in Hakata or Yufuin station. 

I used the English hiking map of Mt. Yufu that I downloaded here. Average hiking time, in and out of the trail is 4-5 hours depending on which peak you visit. 

Google Map Link to Mt. Yufu Main Trailhead here.

Entrance to Main trailhead trail

Train Pass (JR Pass) - Since my itinerary involved traveling around North Kyushu, I purchased a 5-day North Kyushu JR Pass from Klook to save on costs (PHP 5,695.40). This allows you to take unlimited JR train rides in the North Kyushu area including the special train, Yufuin no Mori (some exclusions may apply so check the terms before booking).  After booking, you'll receive a voucher via email, along with redemption instructions that I found easy to follow. To purchase via Klook, go here

If taking the ever popular Yufuin no Mori train, you will need to reserve a seat. Here's a video guide on how to book reserved seat ticket at a Reserved Seat Ticket Vending Machine . 

In case you encounter issues getting a ticket from the vending machine, helpful and friendly English speaking staff are on standby. 

Taking the Yufuin no Mori Train 
After receiving my JR pass voucher from Klook, I reserved Yufuin no Mori train seats through JR Kyushu Rail Pass Online Booking.  I also pre-booked my meal through one of the links in the site. 

Where I stayed in Fukuoka 
TKP Sunlife - this hotel is right across Hakata Station, ideal if you're catching an early morning train. I booked my stay through Booking.com and didn't have any issues. The bed was a little hard though and there was just one pillow in my room.  I recommend checking the room size if you're bringing luggages. I stayed in a 11 SQM single room and it was just right for me and my 25L backpack.   Nevertheless, I love its cleanliness and proximity to Hakata station. It was easy to spot coming out of the local subway so I'll probably stay here again. 

Previous hikes in Japan here.

Past adventures

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