Translated by Jasmine Nishino
Horse Drawn Carriage Tours in Yufuin - A Memorable Experience!
Written by Keisuke Yamada
Check out helpful photos and descriptive courses to leisurely tour around the popular hot spring spot of Yufuin, Oita, in a horse drawn carriage.
With the wonderful hot springs and the great Mt. Yufu to give the natural riches, Yufuin has become one of the popular spots in Oita prefecture. Only a 40 minute drive from Beppu, a city known for having the most hot springs in all of Japan, many visitors go between Beppu and Yufuin frequently.
Right at the entrance of the Yufuin hot springs, at the JR Yufuin Station, an adorable creature with lovely eyes awaits. It is the horse that will be taking you around in a carriage we will be introducing here.
What are Horse Drawn Carriage Tours?
One can say that the horse drawn carriage is the current symbol of Yufuin. The history of these carriages dates back to 1975 when there was a terrible earthquake in Oita. Due to the severe damage, visitors to Yufuin decreased drastically. In order to liven up the city, the people of Yufuin thought of many events to have people return and visit the city once again. From popular music and movie festivals, delicious meat tastings and shouting tournaments, to horse drawn carriage tours - the locals came up with many projects.
The idea of riding around the town in a horse drawn carriage was very unique, and even created the image of a town where people and horses live together in harmony. Yufuin became a place where people can spend their time leisurely and listen to the trotting of the horses. Now, the horse drawn carriage has become an iconic attraction of Yufuin.
Let's Tour Around in a Horse Drawn Carriage
If you plan on visiting Yufuin, you should try going on a horse drawn carriage tour. To join the ride, you can sign up and pay at the Yufuin Onsen Tourism Association. Only ten people can board at a time, so there may be a wait to board. It is best if you can make reservations in advance, but reservations can only be made on the day. Prices are at 1,600 yen for adults and 1,100 for children. For approximately 50 minutes, you will be going from Yufuin Station to Bussanji Temple and Unagihime Shrine.
After departing from Yufuin Station, I saw a rickshaw driver waving at me. You can see how much the people in the town love the horse drawn carriages.
We trotted along passing through the quaint town of Yufuin while the friendly coachman, Mr. Satō, explained the history of Yufuin hot springs.
As we continued, we began to see the peaks of Mt. Yufu. You can see the mountains from anywhere in Yufuin hot springs; they are a favorite of the locals as well as visitors. In order to see the mountains from all angles of the town, Yufuin city has restrictions on the construction of tall buildings. The local people incorporate the natural scenery into their daily lives and thought of many ways to maintain the balance between nature and the town. That is how anyone can enjoy the beautiful landscapes of Yufuin from everywhere.
This is the first stop at Bussanji Temple. It is said to have been constructed some time between the years 964-968. The special Buddha statue in the main hall can only be seen once every thirty-three years.
For approximately 10 minutes, you can explore the historical temple grounds.
After touring around, you will return to Yufuin Station. I got lucky and managed to pass by another horse drawn carriage and saw the two coachmen waving at each other.
Did this manage to tempt you into taking a relaxing ride through Yufuin hot springs on a horse drawn carriage? This special tour would be a fantastic memory of this charming town.
Yufuin Hot Springs Horse Drawn Carriage Tour
Address: Front of JR Yufuin Station
Hours: March to November 9:00-16:00 December to beginning of January 9:30-15:00
Closed: Beginning of January to February, March 1, rainy days and days when the horse is not feeling well.
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Nearest Station: JR Yufuin Station (由布院駅)
Access: Near JR Yufuin Station
Price Range: Adult 1,600 yen, Child 1,100 yen. Pay at the Yufuin Onsen Tourism Association (4-1 Kawakita, Yufuin-cho, Yufu-shi, Oita)
Phone Number: 0977-84-2446
Homepage: Yufu City's Sightseeing Information Site