Keep in mind there’s a saving of 18000Y from the accommodation coupons.
Usually my trip’s breakdown sees more equal share of accommodation and transport, maybe 40-30 split. This time because of the double onsen plus exorbitant Hakata saturday price, accommodation takes up the vast majority of cost.
Finding Accomodation 找住宿
The review scores on Rakuten and Jalan are a good indication for a place’s quality. It’s important to take note of the scoring breakdowns. Rakuten has location as one of its points which can drag down a place’s score, though location may not factor much into your specific needs. For example Ryu no Hige gets a lower score on Rakuten due to it being further from Yufuin station.
Next is to glance over the reviews to get an indication of what kind of guests the places tends to get as this may affect a place’s review. For example comparing Ryu no Hige and Hozantei, it is clear that Hozantei gets much more tourists (people visiting Kurokawa for first time) while Ryu no Hige gets much more vacationers (people visiting to get out of the city). Similar higher vacationer reviews can be seen in some other ryokans in Yufuin too.
再來是要看評論來了解住這裡的大多是怎樣的訪客。拿龍之鬍鬚和帆山亭來說，帆山亭明顯有比多的觀光客 (第一次來黑川的人)，而龍之鬍鬚中就有較多渡假的人 (放假想遠離都市的人)。由布院有幾間旅館也同樣有比較多渡假的人。
Vacationers tend to be repeaters to an area and can be more critical in their scoring, while tourists (especially foreign tourists *cough* Bettei Itsuki *cough*) are much more easily impressed.
渡假的人常常到這地方多次，在評論上比較嚴格。而觀光客(尤其是外國觀光客 *cough* 別邸 樹)比較容易被滿足。
Japanese tended to be quite detailed in their reviews and a lot of information can be glimpsed if one is willing to spend the time.
Now a very important note is to pay attention to the reviews and see what plans and rooms the person stayed at. Sometimes a place has premium and lesser class rooms, and the level of services provided can be vastly different. This is very apparent in Gettouan where the highest reviews often come from their premium rooms and the standard rooms yields much higher ratio of complaints.
Various rankings and recommendations floating around the web are best ignored, they’re either based on some popularity ranking (which means the popular stays popular) or they’re just regurgitated information pushed out for ad clicks. If I had followed them I would never have found Ryu no Hige as the place is basically off the maps.
The accommodation choices this time were quite good picks, but I think if I had to choose again I would pick something other than Hozantei.
Rental Car 租車
Driving in Japan is a lot easier than thought. I’m likely add rental as an option while planning trips in future.
Rental vs Train/Bus 租車vs電車巴士
Cost of rental this time is about ~9.8k per person (27k for 48 hours, pick up at Hakata drop off at Yufuin, plus 2.4k tolls), plus ~4k for train back to Hakata from Yufuin.
Compared to the bus. Hakata to Kurokawa is 3090Y, Kurokawa to Yufuin is 1750Y, for total of 4840.
For trains. A north Kyushu pass 3 day is 8500Y (which can’t go to Kurokawa), but let’s suppose we did a different trip and went to Kumamoto and Yufuin instead. This will also cover the train back to Hakata but won’t allow booking beforehand.
So rental car cost about twice as much as buses and 1.5x train.
This is without doubt my best trip so far. About 90% went according to plans. I still get problems with exploring an area as I often forget places I could go to, both in Yufuin and in Tenjin.