Translated by Tomoka Aono
A Taste You Won't Forget! Home-Made Ice Cream in Yunohira Onsen, Oita
The Ryokan Yamashiroya, a traditional inn located in Yunohira Onsen, Oita prefecture, has been quickly gaining in popularity online among international visitors to Kyushu. Learn more about the charms of this amazing ryokan!
Written by Norihisa Hasegawa
Oita prefecture, known as a hot spring destination, has many popular onsen such as Beppu and Yufuin and others that attract more and more international visitors each year.
Yunohira Onsen, located in Yufu city where the famous Yufuin area exists, is one of them. The place has a long history and good hot springs just like Beppu. Even if you have already experienced Beppu and Yufuin, Yunohira Onsen will offer you a different and wonderful experience.
What is Yunohira Onsen?
Yunohira Onsen was established 300 years ago, which means its history is longer than that of Yufuin.
Numerous shops and ryokan (Japanese inn) are along the stone path, which creates a charming, nostalgic atmosphere.
Ryokan Yamashiroya, A Popular Inn with International Visitors
Among the many ryokans in Yunohira Onsen, Ryokan Yamashiroya, which received a high evaluation from Trip Advisor and Booking.com, attracts a lot of international visitors.
Ryokan Yamashiroya has only eight rooms. “We can offer special omotenashi (hospitality) because we are small facility” said Ms. Ninomiya, the proprietress of the ryokan. She has been learning the customs of the origin country of her guests day by day so that she can better meet their needs.
The map of Kyushu region displayed at the entrance is one of her ideas to help the guests. The map shows the positions of tourist destinations and the airport, which are all questions frequently asked by guests.
Onsen Can be Reserved!
Yamashiroya has four bath rooms, all of which can be reserved; families and couples can enjoy bathing together.
The most recommended bath is the rotemburo or open-air onsen! The ryokan is located on a hill, so you can feel the openness of the area more when bathing here.
Japanese Style Guest Rooms
All of the eight rooms are set up in the traditional Japanese style with tatami and futon. They have one room that is in a Japanese-western style with a bed and a dining room. If you prefer sleeping on a bed, please mention so when making your reservation.
It’s Fun to See Inside the Ryokan!
Various signboards and items are displayed in the ryokan. Some of them are antiques that you can rarely see these days, so you are sure to enjoy seeing them.
The annex hall used to be a post office, so an old bicycle that was used to deliver the mail is displayed here.
What’s the Most Attractive Point? The Proprietress!
Yamashiroya has a lot of attractions but the landlady Ms. Ninomiya’s cheerful character is the most attractive point of this ryokan. Just talking with her will cheer you up. Stay in Yamashiroya when you visit Yunohira Onsen. The lovely proprietress who speaks English will welcome you with special omotenashi.
Yunohiran Ice Cream
Yunohira Onsen also has a local specialty that you must taste when you are there. Yunohiran ice cream is made with local seasonal products such as citrus fruit and it is made by the ladies of Yunohira Onsen. The ice cream is available at ryokans in Yunohira Onsen and on the Limited Express Yufuin-no-mori that connects Hakata and Yufuin.
You can get the ice cream at Kaneko Shoten, the souvenir shop at Yunohira Onsen too. The shop has an eat-in space, so you can stop by and taste one right away.
Each of the three flavors, buckwheat, caramel and sweet Watson pomelo, has unique depth and sweetness thanks to the fresh taste of the ingredients.
The sweet Watson pomelo sorbet, available for a limited time only, has a lot of fresh pulp in it, which makes it feel as though you were eating the whole fresh fruit.
Visit Yunohira Onsen!
You can surely feel the unique atmosphere at Yunohira Onsen even if you have been to Beppu and Yufuin before. Why don’t you visit Yunohira Onsen to spend some precious moments and taste the special ice cream made by local landladies?