If you find yourself wandering down to Yufuin, maybe after a visit to Beppu to wander around the Floral Village and see Kiki’s Bakery- I would recommend the Country Road Youth Hostel as a place to stay!
I reserved a place on Booking.com for the good price and promise of a small onsen in the hostel. The hostel sits about a 25 minute walk from the centre, or a 5 minute drive, shadowed by the snowy peak of Mt Yufu.
The place has so much personality, you can feel it as soon as you step inside. It’s run by a couple who are really friendly and helpful, plus they speak English which I was really grateful for. When I checked in I was given all the information I needed about the hostel, as well as things to do in the surrounding area. They even do a free pick up service for guests, which is such a nice idea!
Getting back to my room after a long day of wandering, I was happy to find that the rooms were clean, the beds were comfy and I was looking forward to the onsen. I put my wind-down on hold when the host announced a night tour!
As I headed out, stamping my shoe on and looking up, I saw that my party consisted solely of middle-aged Japanese men. They looked just as surprised to see me as we shuffled out into the cold. We did some stargazing, which was amazing with the sky being so clear and the host translating everything into English for me. Next, it was all aboard the minibus, heading to a viewing point over the city.
While we drove the host told us more about the town, saying that tall buildings are prohibited in Yufuin, resulting in over 100 small hotels to manage the influx of tourism. It was a great little experience and very random.
When we got back I sacrificed the taiko performance for some onsen time which was definitely worth it. I had the little onsen to myself and it was well needed.
My time at the hostel was really relaxed and welcoming. It was also pretty comical when, at 7:45am, I woke up to the sounds of acoustic guitar and the hosts singing ‘Country Roads’. Turns out they do this for all guests upon check-out which I think is the cutest thing ever, even if it did remind me of Role Models.
My trip to Beppu and Yufuin left me in a headspace that would have been difficult to get to back in Asagiri and I think my stays in such genuine, fervent environments were the main reason for that.