Onsen Maigo 溫泉迷子

Onsen Maigo – Day 5

Part of the problem with being an early person, was that you felt compelled to make something out of the early hours. Our flight was at 12, we had to get to the airport by 10, so check out at 9:30 and take a taxi there. We woke up at around 6, technically we had about 3 hours, except nothing was open at this hour.



Breakfast first though. The cafe we went to yesterday only opens at 7 so we were too early even for it. Thankfully there’s a McDonald underneath Hakata station (west side B1).




While biting into the McMuffin I thought about where to go next. Last time we went to the Ohori Park but due to time largely missed the castle ruins. That was one option, however since we weren’t as early as last time we might only get only an hour there before needing to turn back, not sure if that would be enough to walk all the way around the ruins.



The other remaining choice was going to Gion and check out some of the temples there. Since we were already on the west side it wasn’t a long walk, maybe just 10 minutes to there.



There was an underground pedestrian/bike parking passage connecting Hakata to Gion station. Everytime I see these huge underground bike storages in Japan I feel a little sad that Taiwan or Australia does not have anything similar. It’s a chicken and egg problem. Japan had an existing bike culture so when they built infrastructures they took them into account, building in bike storages and ramps on the side of stairs for pushing bikes up/down, encouraging the continued use of bicycles. While in Taiwan and Australia bikes weren’t considered a means of transport and became always an afterthought (not to mention Australia’s stupid no bikes on sidewalk rule), the infrastructures were not built to be bike friendly and as result very few people use bikes. I very much think Japan’s bike to station, train to work/school to be the ideal transportation mix. Keeps cars off the roads and keep the shops concentrated around stations.



Anyway, Gion was famous for a series of buddhist temples Touchouji (東長寺), Joutenji(承天寺), Shofukuji (聖福寺). In particular Touchouji has one of Japan’s largest wooden seated buddha statues.



It was winter and still quite dark when we got there. The temples unknown to me only opened at 9, we could not enter to see the buddha statue and were only able to have a look around the courtyard.


Touchouji 東長寺

Touchouji 東長寺

Next time I have to come to Fukuoka, either I’m taking a later flight home or I’m going to stay out late and wake up later.



We returned, brushed up back at the hotel and headed back out separately to do our own shopping in Hakata station. At least Deitos ground floor where all most of the gift shops were opened very early (makes sense, they were selling to travellers who might need to catch the early train after all).

回旅館梳洗完後各自去車站逛街買要的東西。至少Deitos的伴手禮街很早就開了 (要賣給趕早車的旅客)。

Hakata station

Hakata station

Hakata station

An accident happened when I forgot my wallet back at the Deitos shops while buying sweet cakes. Thankfully the staff stored it for safekeeping and I was able to get it back no problem.



Instead of calling a taxi from the hotel we walked to the station instead, this way we didn’t need to wait for the taxi to show up. We got to the airport just before 10 (taxi was 1370Y, about the same as last time). Thankfully we showed up early, we knew there was going to be a crowd from our experience last time but this time the line was at least twice as long. We were the second in line to check in and when we finished, the queue had circled all the way around the counter area. The falling yen had really given a boost to the number of Taiwanese coming to Japan.

我們不是在旅館較計程車,而是走到車站,覺得這樣不用等車還比較快。到機場10點 (車前1370Y,跟上回差不多)。幸好找來了,上回搭機就知道人不少,但這回排隊的人至少比上回多一倍。我們是第二個辦理登機的,辦好時人龍已經繞整個櫃檯區一整圈。日圓貶值可吸引了不少台灣人來日本。


The Fukuoka airport had undergone some changes to streamline the souvenir checkout (totally needed), and we bought some more sweets and things here. The sweet cake from Yufuin had an expiry of only 2 weeks, which meant I couldn’t bring it back to Australia, some other gifts were needed. I ended up with a few boxes of the famous Hakata chicken cakes (not the large 3D ones, just flat ones cut in the shape of little chickens).

福岡機場對伴手禮店有重新規劃過,調整結帳的動線 (上回就需要了)。由布院的甜點保存期限只有2星期,沒辦法帶回澳洲,所以在這裡另外買了些糕餅。博多有名的小雞蛋糕,但買的不是那個一整隻的立體小雞,而是扁的切成小雞形狀的)。

Fukuoka airport

Fukuoka airport

Fukuoka airport

Dad got a bowl of udon from the small eatery. Nothing fancy, tastes average. At least they had hot food and not just cold sandwiches or rice balls. They could do with a real cafe though.


Eatery udon小吃店烏龍麵

Eatery udon小吃店

Mom wanted to use up the coins so she sought to buy a can of coffee from the vending. She got a bit confused by the labelling and bought a cold can instead of a hot can (I wish Australia vending also sold hot can coffees, wait actually, I’d settle for them selling canned coffee that doesn’t taste like just sugar and artificial flavouring).



Food on EVA air tasted just as bad as the flight to Fukuoka. At least there’s ice cream.


EVA food

EVA food

EVA food

Onsen Maigo – Day 4


I didn’t book breakfast with our rooms, Richmond Hotel didn’t have buffet breakfasts, just 1000Y Japanese or western meal sets. Figured any cafe would be a cheaper.

這次訂房沒有附早餐。Richmond Hotel沒有自助式早餐,而是1000Y的日式或西式套餐。想想隨便一家咖啡館都會比較便宜吧。


Finding breakfast was always a little annoying in Japan (for those that wakes up early like us), the Japanese were very used to a toast or bread plus coffee combo, or udons. Me and my parents preferred something a little more filling, usually coming down to McDonalds  and cafes (Doutor which I have a special relationship with). The KITTE B1 had a few restaurants that also served breakfasts but they mostly open at 7:30. At close to 7 the only choices were cafes, which there were several around Hakata station. We first checkout the one in nearby Deitos, the menu looked a little thin. Then the ones in the main station itself. Seattle coffee, just off the side of the main thoroughfare, looked decent with good sandwiches.

在日本早餐總是件煩人事 (對我們這種早起的人來說)。日本人很習慣早餐簡單吃個吐司或麵包加咖啡,或烏龍麵。我和爸媽喜歡吃的稍微飽一點,通常能選的就只有麥當勞或咖啡館 (尤其是偏愛的Doutor)。KITTE B1有幾家餐廳早上也有營業賣早餐,但大多要7:30才開。近七點時的唯一選項就只有咖啡館了,博多車站附近有不少。第一家附近Deitos那間感覺菜單有點少。接著看車站內的那幾家。就在主通道旁的Seattle Coffee看起來三明治不錯。


The greeter at the door was very friendly and helpful and obviously had plenty of experience with foreigners. He pointed us to find a table first before we had decided on what to order, later when the croissant came cold he noticed us discussing over it and actively asked if we would like to have it heated. The price was a little higher than Doutor, at same time the portions were bigger and better. Dad still went for seconds eitherway.


Seattle’s best coffee

Seattle’s best coffee

Seattle’s best coffee

Day 4 was an extra day that had not been set in stone.



Originally after the railway to Aso was cut, the Aso Boy tourist train had been diverted to run to Mojiko, so it made sense to go to Mojiko/Shimonoseki. Aso Boy was a train designed with a black and white puppy theme and kid friendly, with ball pools, play areas and special parent-child seatings. I figured my parents might want to expience it and maybe consider taking my nephews on it in the future.


Aso boy train src:jrkyushu

As a side note, it’s faster to take the Shinkansen from Hakata to Kokura then transfer to a local train to Mojiko. The Hakata to Kokura section sees special fare rates (JR West runs it like a commuter segment to compete against JR Kyushu) and non-reserved seats are not much more expensive than the local line express, but can be up to 30 minutes faster.

順帶一提,去門司港搭新幹線到小倉後再轉區間車去會比搭一般特急快。博多到小倉的新幹線票價有特別優惠 (JR西日本把這段當通勤在跑,跟JR九州競爭),自由席不會比一般特急貴多少,但最多可省上30分鐘。


Then for December the Aso Boy train was moved to run to the Huis Ten Bosch theme park in Nagasaki (which I had no interest in going), this removed a major incentive for going to Mojiko. Thus it was thought we might instead go to Dazaifu and return earlier in the day to have a look around Tenjin.



We got a Fukuoka Tourist Pass from the Hakata station information centre. The pass came in two versions, one which included all metro and buses in centre of Fukuoka (820Y) and a wide pass version that also included the Nishitetsu rail to Dazaifu (1340Y). It cost a little more than a regular Dazaifu round trip from Hakata but it saved buying tickets each time, plus there was a chance of us using the metro again later in the day, the pass will then be cheaper.



To get to Dazaifu from Hakata required going to Tenjin first, walk to the Nishitetsu station, then depending on whether there was a direct service to Dazaifu, potentially another transfer at Futsukaichi. Be careful that sometimes it can be faster to go to Futsukaichi and transfer there anyway as it might be an extra limited express. There is a direct bus from Hakata but it is not covered by the pass and is subject to road traffic.


Nishitetsu Fukuoka 西鐵福岡

Nishitetsu Fukuoka 西鐵福岡

Dazaifu is dominated by the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, like a confucian temple equivalent for chinese. The shrine is dedicated to Sugawara Michizane, who was a great scholar and poet back in the Heian period. Originally a member of the court, he was eventually demoted to be a minor official in far away Dazaifu where he died a lonely death. In one of his poems he lamented that he would never see the beloved plum tree in his Kyoto residence. Legend has it that the plum tree loved her master so much it eventually flew to Dazaifu.


Stories aside, because of veneration for the man’s wisdom and intellect, it became customary for students looking to get good grades or others looking to become accomplished to come and pay respect at the shrine. The place becomes especially busy before the university or highschool entrance exams kick off.



Initially we detoured to the nearby Komyozenji temple known for its zen rock gardens, sadly the temple grounds were closed, probably because it was the off seasons and they wanted to do maintenance. No big loss as the temple wasn’t far from the main street anyway.


Komyozenji 光明善寺

Dazaifu 太宰府

The main street before the shrine is only about 200 metres long, yet there are over 20 shops selling umegae-mochi, meaning plum stick cake. They are grilled rice cakes filled with red beans with little to do with plums outside the plum flower imprint on them. The origin of the cake is not known, all relates to Michizane in some way.


Making Umegae-mochi 梅ヶ枝餅製作

Initially I mistook Kanoya for the popular mochi shop Kasa no Ya, later after we have visited the main shrine we would line up at Kasa no Ya. The one from Kasa no Ya was grilled a little better but the filling much too sweet, felt the one from Kanoya was better to be honest.


Kanoya Umegae-mochi かのや梅ヶ枝餅

Kasanoya Umegae-mochi かさの屋梅ヶ枝餅

Amongst the many shops on the main street, a unsuspecting major attraction was the Starbucks. Designed by award winning architect using wood and other natural materials to create a space combining both nature and tradition. The wall and ceiling consisted of criss cross of wooden beams that narrowed in the middle and broaded on either ends, it made the place seemed much longer than it really was. A queue for coffee was quickly building up, we managed to get our coffee and find a table before the crowd showed up and extended the line well outside the shop.


Dazaifu Starbucks 太宰府星巴克

Dazaifu Starbucks 太宰府星巴克


There was also a Totoro shop here (the other in Yufuin). The shelves lined with plushies and toys from the Totoro anime by Studio Ghibli. I contemplated getting a white teardrop creature plushie, they weren’t too expensive (by tourist goods standards), but I already had a shelf full of Cinnamorolls and only in recent years have I just managed to stop them multiplying. I ended up buying a CD of Studio Ghibli musics performed in Japanese instruments.


Donguri no Mori豆豆龍店

While I was mulling over Totoros my parents had become interested in a fish roe shop across the street that promoted products that did not require refrigeration. They wanted to buy some but after asking the staff, found out the ones they liked still required refrigerated.


Fish roe shop 明太子店

Beyond the first torii is a statue of an ox. It’s said if you touched its head fortune will rub off on you. There was a queue so I didn’t join in.


Ox status, it’s said there’s actually 11 of them around the shrine 牛像,聽說一共有11隻分散宮中各處

Then in the gardens before the main shrine area, there was a performer with a trained monkey. We got there in time to catch the monkey climb a pole and slide around on skates.


Monkey performance 猴子雜耍

The main ground of the shrine is enclosed behind a large gate, the courtyard within was packed with people waiting for their chance to go up and pray at the shrine. Was it near exam time? I’m not sure.


Dazaifu 太宰府

Dazaifu 太宰府

Dazaifu 太宰府

Dazaifu 太宰府

One interesting thing was that the guardians of the gate looked to be none other than Michizane himself.


Gate guardian 守門神


Me and my parents split up once more, I wanted to check out the Kyushu Museum which was for the most part overshadowed by the shrine and ignored by most. My parents headed back to Tenjin for lunch on their own. The transfers were straightforward and they had been to Tenjin a few times now.


Dazaifu 太宰府

Dazaifu 太宰府

Dazaifu 太宰府

The Kyushu Museum laid off the other side of Tenmangu (turn right at the Tenmangu info centre), do not walk from Komyozenji Temple as that side involved a very steep climb up the stairs. From the Tenmangu you go up a flight of escalators then through a tunnel with people movers.


The Kyushu Museum focused on exhibitions about the cultural transmission between Japan and the rest of Asia, showing excavated artifacts from the Jomon periods onwards, potteries, figurines, arts, these could be compared to other artifacts of similar periods from the rest of asia, showing clear influences.


Kyushu Museum九州博物館

Kyushu Museum九州博物館

Kyushu Museum九州博物館

Kyushu Museum九州博物館

No photos allowed inside.



The museum had a rectangular main hall which presented a brief walk through history, then there were side rooms that featured more detailed explanations if one was interested in learning more. Some covered artifact restoration methods, others artifact replica making, expanded period features focusing on the routes which cultures were exchanged with the mainland.



Several historic periods were focused on in particularly. Jomon and pre-written history periods where Japan had few influences from the outside world. Big eyed figurines that had come to represent the period, flame shaped pottery and other ornaments.



The influx of Buddhism which transformed Japanese religious and societal order. There were many buddhist statues and pagodas. There was a very interested column with hundreds of buddhas carved on it, each with his hands held up in a slightly different pose, when one’s gaze moved between them it seemed the buddhas’s hands waved and beckoned.



The Heian periods trade with China(Tang Dynasty), where envoys were sent on trade missions. On display were examples of the goods that the ships would carry, silk and silver to china, and incense, books, medicines back to Japan. Replicas were available for one to get a first hand feel for what the texture of the clothes and scent of incenses were like.



In the mongol invasions Fukuoka played centre stage, the mongol forces landed on the shores near Hakata while the defences were mounted from Dazaifu, then the area’s political centre. The main exhibited piece was an urn full of coins recovered from the seabed, it was probably carried upon the ship of a high Mongol official when it sunk off the coast. Outside the exhibition hall, a small scale model of the excavated earthen works that formed part of the forward defences of the area could be found on display.



Then the influence of Ming ceramics on Japanese crafts. There were also forged seals of the Kyoto and Korean courts, created by pirates and smugglers in the Kyushu areas to conduct illicit businesses in the area.



The whole place took about an hour and a half to browse through at a semi-detailed pace. It is a shame the place is not more popular as the items displayed and the way they were exhibited told a very interesting story about the back and forth between the island and the continent.



On the way back to Tenjin I end up on the Tabito tourist train. Lucky.


Dazaifu Tabito train 旅人號

Dazaifu Tabito train 旅人號

I thus return to Tenjin around 1:30. On the train back I notice that the popular Cannon Ramen is just south the Nishitetsu station. Since it was past lunchtime I might be able to avoid the queues.

回到天神大約是1:30. 在車上查資料時我發覺有名的大砲拉麵就在西鐵站附近。已經過午餐時間了,應該不至於需排隊吧。


To my surprise there was still a queue when I got there. About 5 people ahead of me and another 10 quickly showed up behind. Sigh, ah well, just this once.



The ramen came with the eggs and chashu meat presented in a smiley face. It’s a little thicker than the usual Hakata ramen, rich in flavour and the noodle had just the right firmness. It’s good, but if there were a longer queue I wouldn’t be amiss if I skipped the place. The only ramen I genuinely crave remains the milk curry ramen in Aomori.


Canon Ramen 大砲拉麵


Canon Ramen 大砲拉麵

The afternoon was filled with a quick look around Tenjin. I figured I would search out Animate and see if they might have some Your Name (Kimi no Na Wa) goods on sale.



To my dismay, and to relief of my wallet, there’s not much goods yet and there was only a small section for it. I left empty handed. The movie was a surprise hit, there probably weren’t many arranged beforehand and it took time for the goods companies to get on aboard and put out something.



Tenjin was Fukuoka’s prime shopping district, though its shine had taken a dent since Hakata station developed into a sprawling mega department store, it still reigned as the king of glittery brands and trendy restaurants. Outside of Tokyo I had not seen such a high concentration of department stores all in such close proximity.


Tenjin 天神

Tenjin 天神

Tenjin 天神

After getting back to the hotel to meet up with my parents, who had taken an afternoon nap. We head out for dinner.



This time we went to KITTE B1 as I had intended the night before. I had my eyes set on the curry restaurant right by the entrance, dad took a look and suggested we check out all options first.

這回我們到原本昨晚要來的KITTE B1。我看上了入口的一家咖哩店,老爸看了一眼後說先全部看完再說吧。

KITTE 01 Curry 咖哩店

And so we discover this Nagasaki champon noodle place, whose noodles were topped with a huge amount of vegetables. One of its dish was titled all the vegetables you need for the day. (The curry place had a similar dish too). Convinced by the amount of vegetables piled on in the plastic food sample in the display, we enter and find a seat in the still largely empty restaurant. Japanese dinner prime time seemed to be not till 7 so it was still early.

若非這樣也不會發覺這家長崎什錦麵店,他的麵上頭配上小山般的蔬菜。其中一道號稱能滿足一天所需的所有蔬菜量 (咖哩店其實也有類似的一天蔬菜料理)。我們被餐點模型上堆得滿滿的蔬菜說服了,進去找了位子坐下。


The noodle suited our family’s tastes best out of all the restaurants I’d had in Japan so far. It wasn’t too salty, plenty of vegetables mixed with wood ear mushrooms, it was satisfying to have a meal that was light on the tastebuds and stomach. Due to its position and history of trade, Nagasaki cuisine had more chinese influence than any other places in Japanese main islands, might have contributed to its appeal to us.


Nagasaki champon noodle 長崎什錦麵

Nagasaki champon noodle 長崎什錦麵

Then it’s off the Tenjin to check out the department store’s christmas decorations.



The restaurants in Tenjin were packed, with lines outside each one we passed. Teppanyaki, tempura, grills, ramens, sushi, it was a Sunday night, maybe everyone just felt like eating out near Christmas. We were glad we had our dinner back at Hakata station early.



The main attraction was the park by the Nishitetsu station, where there was a skating rink and a christmas train for the kids. Each department store each had a different style and theme going for them, some were a little more invested, others just threw on some lights and called it a day. None compared to the grandeur that was Tokyo’s Shiodome or Roppongi, it’s Fukuoka after all, one of the smallest metropolis in Japan, not even Nagoya or Sapporo.


Tenjin 天神

Tenjin 天神

Tenjin 天神

Tenjin 天神

Tenjin 天神

Tenjin’s shopping streets were a maze, with alleys inside alleys, where one could quickly become lost, stairs leading up and down into various buildings where within were shopping arcades and squares. If only I had spent more time exploring them in the afternoons while more shops were open.


Tenjin 天神

I originally also wanted to go to Fukuoka Tower however by this time I was getting tired, so I returned to the hotel with my parents and called it a night early.



Onsen Maigo – Day 3

We had to return the car by noon, since there was still time we headed for a lookout that looked over the township.



Only we we had to quickly turn back to Ryu no Hige since I had forgotten to return the sewing kit we borrowed. Created some confusion since they were readying the vans to drive the other guests to Yufuin station and the road was narrow. After that we were truly on our way.



The lookout was a short way up the side of Mt Yufu. Unfortunately it seemed to have been damaged in the earthquake and was cordoned off, so we could only park on the side temporarily and look down from the entrance to the lookout area. The grey township was sandwiched between checkered rice farm paddies, the crop had been harvested so it was all a little grey and brown, in the other seasons the contrast will be brighter. This was supposed to be a good spot to view the morning fog that often shrouds the town, at this hour late in the morning however the view was clear.


View from lookout

View from lookout

The side of Mt Yufu was covered in a thick tall fields of silver grass. The white tails wagged and danced, a expanse of gentle wilderness.



We drove back down to return the car. The Budget Rental in Yufuin is also the petrol station they suggested we fill up on before returning, quite convenient (I believe the rule was you had to show receipt of having filled up within 5k of the return location), while the tanks were being filled up the Budget Rental staff was already inspecting the car. Before I had even paid the petrol the car was already signed off and returned with lightning efficiency. With the full insurance package there really wasn’t the need for the staff to do more than make a cursory look, any scratch and damages were their responsibility. (But if you knowingly had an incident/accident you still had to call them, otherwise insurance doesn’t apply, it’s just for minor stuff that might have been sustained without you being aware need not be argued over)


Yufuin Budget 由布院Budget

Kind of sad to see the car leave, it was a trusty and comfortable drive and stored our luggages well no matter where we went, like we had to worry about now. We drop off our luggage at the store in front of the station (3 pieces for 1100Y) and begin our tour of Yufuin.


Store with lockers and luggage keeping 裡頭有置物櫃 也可找店員保管行裡

Yufuin is another onsen town that avoided Japan’s lost decades (though it made most of it during the bubble era and slowed to a more gradual growth afterward, whereas Kurokawa made most of its growth after). The town adopted strict building codes such as height limits, which prevented construction of large hotel complexes. Sizes of ryokans were kept small (but not as small as Kurokawa) and the town evolved into a Karuizawa like feel to it, with the main street lined with all sort of cafes, sweets, snacks, trinket and craft shops. The town is also home to a number of art galleries, giving it a claim of having an air of refined taste.


Yufuin street 由布院街道

Yufuin street 由布院街道

Yufuin street 由布院街道


Totoro shop, there’s another at Dazaifu 豆豆龍店  太宰府也有一家

Totoro shop 豆豆龍店

Together with Kurokawa, the two onsens form a symbiotic relationship due to their close proximity (about an hour apart) and similarly small town feel. Though Yufuin is much larger, has access to train line, expressway, closer to Oita a major city; it sees four times as many visitors(~4million) and a magnitude more spend per person because it has so many more shops.

加上黑川,兩個相隔不遠打的同是小鎮氣氛的溫泉,形成相輔的共生關係。不過擁有鐵道,高速公路,接近大分都市的由部院規模大的多了; 每年的訪客數為黑川的4倍(400萬),同時因商店數量的差異,平均消費也相差數倍。


Yufuin is a paradise if you’re into shopping or trying various foods (or hell, from a different persective). I’m not too into snacks or desserts so we mostly browsed, stopping occasionally for dad to do some sample tasting. Even though there are many shops, most of them maintained a visually unobtrusive, harmonious profile. There are little nooks and alleys, hidden shops and cafes tucked away behind the busy main street for the adventurous.


Famous croquette 有名的可樂餅

Famous croquette 有名的可樂餅


Yufuin street 由布院街道

Yufuin street 由布院街道

The yummy sweets offered at Ryu no Hige is from Akashikashiho (赤司菓子舗), its main store is just opposite the bus centre near the train station. It also has a second store further along just before crossing the stream that runs through town. We leave the buying till later to not burden ourselves.



Though the main street is impressive by themselves, there are two blocks worthy of mention. The Yu no Tsuba Yokochou (湯の坪横丁) which is a small loop alley with shops built uniformly in the style from the Edo era, and the Floral Village which mimics the looks of a some small British town with low buildings adorned with flowers, retro signages and facades. In the Floral Village there is also an Owl forest where one could see owls up close and supposedly dress up in a wizard robe (I didn’t go in though).

主街已經很夠看了,不過還有兩個區域值得一提。一是湯の坪横丁,一個繞U字一圈的小巷,全部的店皆仿造江戶時期的風格建造。另一是仿英國小村風的Floral Village,一間間用花點綴的矮小屋子,復古的招牌和外貌裝飾。在Village中還有一個貓頭鷹森林,裡頭可以近距離觀賞貓頭鷹,好像還可以穿巫師袍過過癮 (我沒進去)。

Floral Village

Yu no Tsuba Yokochou 湯の坪横丁

The 1.5k walk to Kirin Lake took us about an hour and half. The lake was so named because both cold spring water and hot onsen water wells up from the bottom, this temperature difference causes a glittering effect with the sunset.


Lake Kirin 金鱗湖

We have lunch at the Marc Chagall cafe on the lakeshore. The burger was okay. There were plenty of restaurants in Yufuin but it would have required backtracking and joining long lines.

午餐是在湖岸邊的Marc Chagall咖啡館。漢堡味道還好。雖然由布院有很多餐廳但一來需要走回去,二來要排隊。

Cafe la Ruche

Cafe la Ruche

After lunch I split up with my parents, each off to explore on our own. I decide to check out the Marc Chagall gallery upstairs. On display was a collection of painting with the theme of circus. Chagall had a slightly modern style, using rough brush strokes and large exaggerated features, almost newsprint comic like.

午餐後我和爸媽分開行動,各自去探索。我首先決定看看樓上的Marc Chagall藝廊。目前展出的是以馬戲團為主題的一系列畫作。Chagall的畫風相當現代,在粗筆下誇張的詮釋表情動作,接近報紙漫畫的效果。


By Lake Kirin was the Shitanyu, a mixed gender public onsen where one could take a dip for just 200Y. On the southern shore was a shrine with a torii in the lake, reminiscent of the torii of Miyajima in Hiroshima.


Torii 天祖神社鳥居

Our cake reservations with B-Speak had to be picked up before 3:30. I took a detour through the backstreets of Yufuin on my way back, Yufuin’s ryokans and hotels tended to be situated away from the main street, dotted amidst the rice paddies. Juggling development while keeping the farmland feel is a top concern for the local government.



B-Speak is Yufuin’s most famous cake shop, operated by Murata, one of the 3 most famous ryokans. Its cakes (at least the ⅓ portion ones) are usually sold by before noon, without prior reservation obtaining a cake can be close to impossible.



Sold out 賣光了

Our train departs at 3:50pm, we went to check out another dessert shop close to the station, recommended by the young lady from Ryu no Hige, but everything were already sold out. Even in winter Yufuin is packed with people, the place must be absolutely swamped in summer when people come into the mountains to escape the heat and have ice creams of which Yufuin has plenty.



We arrived at the train station before the crowd showed up, each trailing behind them a large luggage filled with souvenirs and sweets.

The station’s waiting room also doubles as an art gallery. To be honest despite Yufuin’s claim, I very much feel its artistry claims were overshadowed by its sweets and desserts. Only a very small percentage of its visitors were probably interested much less visits one of these art galleries. I was certainly the only one there inside Marc Chagall despite the cafe downstairs having a long queue.


車站的候車室同時也是一個畫廊。老實說雖然由布院官方想塑造這種形象,感覺藝術的賣點完全被甜點小吃蓋過去了。大概只有極少部份的遊客對美術館有興趣,更不用說實際參觀了。在Marc Chagall時雖然樓下的咖啡館是大排長龍,樓上卻只有我一個人。


The Yufuin no Mori is one of the first tourist trains by JR Kyushu back in 1989, now the rail company operates a dozen tourist trains throughout Kyushu to boost patronage for lines that would otherwise see very few passengers.



The Yufuin no Mori has elevated seating level and large windows to allow passengers to enjoy the scenery outside. The interior makes use of wood to give the whole train a forest like feel. The first generation trains also sports a lounge area with bench seats facing the windows directly and space for one to stand around, chat with a friend, all while enjoying a drink bought from the shop the next car down. (The second generation trains are newer, has brighter interiors but forgo the lounge space for more seats)



The onboard shop sells a limited ekiben only available on the train, other snacks and drinks such as Aso milk. B-Speak rolls are also available, if they haven’t sold out already.


Yufuin no Mori 由布院之森

Yufuin no Mori 由布院之森

Yufuin no Mori 由布院之森


Ekiben 便當

As the whole train is reserve seat only it can be hard to get a ticket if one walk up to the counter on the day, or even a few days before. The train we took was completely sold out at least 3 weeks earlier (I booked the seat the moment they went on sale a month prior to departure). The 3:50 train is one of the most popular one as it is the most convenient after a day of sightseeing. The later train that leaves at 5pm still had some seats when we left.



Note that to reserve a seat in advance one must do so online and pay with credit card at time of booking. If one wishes to use a Kyushu JR Pass, then one can only try their luck after entering Japan and go up to a counter in person. Even if I had a schedule that could have saved by using a pass, I probably would still have booked the seats online, paying that extra to have a peace of mind.



The train was not that impressive, but perhaps it was due to me being tired at the end of the day and also the fading lights making the interior a little dark. The lounge car was a definite plus and I question the decision to forgo it in the generation 2 Yufuin no Mori.



During the trip an attendant comes around with a signboard with today’s date on it for passengers to take a photo with it to show they’ve been on the Yufuin no Mori. In the shop carriage there were little train master uniforms for kids to try on and have photos taken.



Overall JR Kyushu definitely tried to make the train ride as unique an experience as possible. Thoughts had also been made with regard to the target audience’s needs; there was wifi on board (speed questionable) and luggage space was plenty at the ends of the carrages.



The train reached Hakata at about 6:10pm. We navigated the maze that is Hakata station and out the east gate in good time, the benefit of having been to a place before.



Our stay this time is Richmond Hotel, about a hundred metres out and to the right after exiting the station east side. After complaints from my parents about the last trip, this time I went with a little pricier choice. The elevators and rooms are accessed by cards, and each room was spacious (for a business hotel) and had their own aircon control. Power sockets were plentiful and USB chargers were also available. Definitely more comfortable than my usual choices.

這次住的是Richmond Hotel,大概東側出去後往右一百公尺左右。自從上回爸媽反應過後,這回選的稍微貴一點。電梯和房間是用磁卡出入,以商務旅館而言房間算寬廣,也有獨立空調。插座很多,也有提供usb充電。比我一般選的舒服太多了。

Richmond Hotel

After check-in, as I had ekiben on the train already we decided to split up for the night. I brought my parents to the ramen street in Hakata station (note: 2nd floor Deitos on the north east side). I was going to take them to the new KITTE 0101 (note: it’s pronounced Marui) B1 restaurants where I’ve identified a few choice restaurants. My fault for not explaining what the choices were I guess, dad said he wanted ramen and ramen we went.

Check-in後,我在車上已經吃過便當了還不太餓,於是決定分頭行動。我帶爸媽到車站的拉麵街(東北角二樓Deitos)。原本是想帶他們去新開的KITTE 0101 (註:發ma-ru-i)的B1餐廳街,有幾家看來適合的餐廳。不過一開始沒解釋清楚我的計畫,老爸說吃拉麵就好所以就去吃拉麵了。


I helped them order from the ticket machine (ramen ordering machines can be intimidating at first. Can I choose more than 1 item at once? What do I press to get the change?)



Then I’m off to the christmas market in front of the station.



It has always amused me how Japanese do western holidays better than many western countries. Halloween in Australia is barely alive with a smattering of kids dressing up, as we saw last time Japanese put out Halloween themed products everywhere, cakes, drinks, pumpkins in every displays, people dressing up. Valentine? They love it so much they’ve made it into two days, they also switched it around by making it customary for the girl to give the chocolate, and if the guy wished to reciprocate, give something back on white valentine.



Christmas is no exception. The christmas jingles were on repeat in the shopping streets, department stores tries to outdo each other with decorations, and a big christmas market with wine and beer and food in the station’s courtyard.


Xmas market 聖誕市集

Xmas market 聖誕市集

Xmas market 聖誕市集

Xmas market 聖誕市集

Xmas market 聖誕市集

Hakata station roof 博多車站頂樓

Hakata station roof 博多車站頂樓

It was almost 8:30pm, I scored a strange roll of sushi for cheap from the stalls below the station’s department store and headed back to the hotel, grabbing a carton of milk from the 7-11 on the way. Japanese milk is awesome.



A late dinner of sushi, milk and B-Speak rolls for dessert.


B-Speak roll

Supper 宵夜

Onsen Maigo 溫泉迷子 Day 2-3 Ryu no Hige 草屋根之宿 龍之鬍鬚

Kusayane no Yado – Ryu no Hige (草屋根の宿 龍のひげ) is a unique ryokan. It’s not in Yufuin proper, instead about 10 minutes drive to the west, its old name was Sansou Yumuta no Mori (Mountain House of Yumuta Forest) before it revamped as a high class ryokan in 2012.

草屋根之宿 龍之鬍鬚 是一間很特殊的旅館。不在由布院 (湯布院) 主區域內,而是往西開車10分鐘處,前身又叫山荘 ゆむ田の森,在2012年重整成一間高級旅館。


Actually, Kusayane no Yado – Ryu no Hige is not its full name, the ryokan has two areas, Ryu no Hige are cabins while its other half Bettei Yumuta (Annex Yumuta) consists of an separated wing of 5 double rooms. The full name is thus Kusayane no Yado – Ryu no Hige/Bettei Yumuta (草屋根の宿 龍のひげ/別邸 ゆむた). The meaning of Yumuta is not known, my guess is that it’s Yu meaning hot bath and Mu for village, or a homophone of Yu-Me (Dream) as Yu-Mu. (Correction: Found out it’s 湯無田 as in hot bath, nothingness, field)

其實 草屋根之宿 龍之鬍鬚 還不是全名,旅館有兩區,離屋叫龍之鬍鬚,另一區一棟5間雙人房的分館稱別邸 ゆむた。合起來為草屋根之宿 龍之鬍鬚 別邸ゆむた。ゆむた意思為何不知,猜測是湯的ゆ和村的む,也可能是夢ゆめ的諧音。(改:問了Rika是ゆむた原漢字是湯無田)


The ryokan earns its name by the beard of dragon grass (リュウノヒゲ, lilyturf) grown atop the roof of its main hall, the grass shields the building from the sun and acts as an insulation in winter, making the inside cool in summer and warm in winter.


When initially looking at the comments a few things stood out. The comments are very consistent, they talk about how the place exceeds expectations, how good the food is (and how much there was) and how well the staffs are.



Every room (Ryu no Hige and Annex) faces Mt. Yufu and has a half open air onsen bath.



There’s something very personal about the place, the way its facebook posts are written and the way its website is built.



It doesn’t promise luxury, nor does it promise tradition or history. There’s no hundred year old main buildings, no Japanese garden with little streams or zen pebbles. Actually there’s no garden at all, just landscaped footpath connecting the cabins. It doesn’t even have a bar or reading space or lounge area. It barely has a lobby. In short, it has essentially no public spaces for guests to stroll or hang about.



It’s often said, make the guests them feel at home. Many hotels, resorts and ryokans certainly strive to do this, with plenty of services and hospitality and asking about how they may serve you. What makes Ryu no Hige stands out is this is the first time I’ve felt the true meaning of the saying. It is the combination of the comfort of its cabin and the delicately balanced distance of its staffs that truly makes one forget every worry in the world and more at home than home.



What will immediately strikes you after turning off the road, down and up the small path into the carpark, is how low profile the place is, figuratively and literally. There’s only a single sign by the main road pointing out this is where you should turn. Atop the hill at the entrance of the carpark, there’s a small hut where the staffs already awaits your arrival.



There’s no planted flowers or other rock decos, no signboard saying welcome or where to go. The whole carpark could pass as a scenic lookout carpark on the side of the road.



Next you’ll notice the ryokan is missing, that’s because the main hall is actually situated slightly downhill and has such a low profile that with its grass roof, blends perfectly into the surrounding landscape. Blink, and you’ll miss it’s even there.


Ryu no Hige main hall 龍之鬍鬚母屋

Ryu no Hige main hall 龍之鬍鬚母屋

A moss lined path graciously curves to the entrance of the hall, plain and devoid of furnishing save for the ryokan’s name to one side. The colours are subdued throughout and easy on the eyes. The interiors similarly without excess wall pictures, statues or other trinkets, only a few vases of flowers dotted the space, elegant without hinting utilitarian.



The staffs initially thought we were from China, probably because in my email I mentioned we speak english and chinese. A friendly, spirited Taiwanese young lady was assigned to us and showed us to our room and gave us a detailed introduction to its features.



Ryu no Hige has 5 cabins, each slightly different, of the twins, Tsukushi (つくし) and Warabi (わらび), Warabi was traditional Japanese style while Tsukushi which I chose for us was described as modern Japanese style.

龍之鬍鬚的5間離屋都不太一樣。つくし和わらび兩間並排為一對,算是雙胞胎。 わらび是傳統和式而我們選的つくし說是現代日式。


I had chosen Tsukushi instead of Warabi because it had a clearer view of the mountains. Warabi was situated closer to the main hall, there’s another cabin directly in front and below, though not obstructing, could see the roof of it.


Ryu no Hige map 龍之鬍鬚房間位置 src: http://ryunohige.com/

The inside of Tsukushi was made of fir wood (I think?), from the floorboards to the furnitures and pillars and frames, the colour light and soft. There’s a foyer, on the wall hung a shoe horn doubling as the space’s only decoration. Step onto the raised floor, to the right was the door to the toilet and baths, in front leads into the main room.


Cabin entrance 離屋門口

Shoe horn in the foyer 玄關掛的鞋拔

Foyer 玄關


The living room had two areas, the tatami sleeping area and a living space with sofas. Japanese paper sliding doors could either be closed to create two separate spaces or completely slid to the side to create one continuous wide open space. To note the slide doors slides into the walls and to the side of the closet so when fully opened there are no doors in sight, it is truly without boundary (save for one pillar in the corner).



Shelf 起居間的櫃子

Front door leading to living area 前門通到取居間

Tatami area 榻榻米間

The side facing Mt Yufu consisted entirely of glass doors that keeps out the cold air. Spotless, there’s not a smudge or spot to be found on them. The eyes gazes past them without the slightest hinder, to the deck outside, over the railing and drawn to the rolling mountains in the distance, all in one breathless wonder filled sigh.


View of Mt Yufu from room 房間看去的由布岳

Deck 陽台

View from room 房間看去的景色

A water cooler sits in the corner. No need to fetch water from the basin. There’s a TV in the living area and another smaller one by the tatami for those needing some bedtime drama.


Small tv 小電視

Water cooler 供水機

There’s tea and drip filtered coffee on the shelf. On the tea table packets of delicious Japanese sweet cake from a famous shop in Yufuin.


Japanese sweet cake, taste excellent 附的小甜點 很好吃

It’s not too sweet like many Japanese sweets are, the taste is much more subtle 不像許多日本的甜點會很甜 這個的味道更細膩一點

Return to the foyer and open the other door. The wash basin/vanity is on the right, upon sits rows of care products, and an entire travel set of Shiseido. On the opposite side of where one came in is another door, the light automatically turns on when one enters the toilet. To the left is another door, here there are racks with 3 set of baskets and towels, a small changing room space before one enters the bathroom. Open this final door and one at last enters the bathroom. The first half is the shower area, the other half lies a huge onsen bath, enough for at least 5 people to comfortably bath in at same time (though Tsukushi is limited to 3 guests only).

回到玄關滑開另一道門。右側是洗臉台,上頭放著贈送的一套小罐資生堂產品。入口對面是另一個門,進入廁所時頭頂的燈自動亮起。穿過左側另一道門,這裡架子上擺著3個籃子和3套毛巾。一個進入浴室前的小更衣間。打開最後一扇門,進入浴室。一半是淋浴區,另一半則是一個大溫泉池,要5個人同時泡也夠 (つくし設定是最多3人)。

Wash room 梳洗台

Change room leading to bathroom 更衣間 過去是浴室

Lots of towels available 提供的毛巾很夠

Shower area 淋浴區


Half open air onsen 半露天溫泉池

Onsen 溫泉

Note the number of doors mentioned. The bathroom, change room, toilet, wash basin/makeup room are all separated, there is no concern about affecting each other. A person can be on the toilet, another drying hair before the vanity, and another changing out of their clothes to go into the bath, all while another person is sipping coffee in the living room and yet another sleeping in the tatami room (again, this cabin only allows up to 3 guests).



The glass doors in front of the bath can be slid open (again, completely into the wall) and the right side window opened to create a half open air bath. Or if feeling cold, slide out a few or shut them completely. The mountain view could be enjoyed while one baths.



The onsen water here contains a little more iron and has a reddish tint, with a slight sulfur smell. Of course, it’s kakenagashi, to be enjoyed even in the middle of the night.



Two forms of yukata was prepared. The more common yukata and the samue (shirt and pants) combination if one felt yukata to be a little cumbersome. Plus haori and tanzen.



I don’t have too many photos to show. Once inside the whole person becomes so relaxed I often forget to take photos. All a person feels is the mountains, the woods, and the comfort of the cabin.



Sometime before dinner I hopped over to the lobby to ask for a sewing kit for mom to fix her shirt’s button, at the same time also asked if they could help me book the popular B-Speak cake rolls for tomorrow. Originally I had trouble explaining the sewing kit to the lady at the desk (this is a little bit above my Japanese….), thankfully the Taiwanese young lady came back and helped with the situation. I cannot thank her enough, and feel a little bad because we caused her a lot of extra efforts, as will be mentioned further down.


A red Mt Yufu 由布岳夕陽下成紅色

Path between cabin and main hall 母屋和離屋間小徑

Path between cabin and main hall 母屋和離屋間小徑

Outside of Tsukushi 離屋外

Dinner is served at 6:30pm. No exceptions.



The meal is served at the main hall in semi-enclosed rooms. The walls do not extend to the top of the rooms, probably to help with ventilation.


Menu 獻立

The first dish was a warm boiled fish in soup dish. Immediately it warms the body and gently eases the stomach in readiness.


Warm boiled fish in soup dish 煮魚配湯

Perhaps because the young lady was also from Taiwan, she asked if we would like our rice and miso soup to come first (instead of last as is usually the case for Japanese meal) which my parents gladly accepted.

或許因為Rika也是台灣人的關係吧,她詢問我們是否想要先上飯和味噌湯 (通常在日本是最後上),我爸媽很開心地接受這提案。

Miso soup and pickles for rice 味噌湯和配飯的醃菜

There’s a hot water kettle/thermos and tea set in one corner so one could help oneself to some tea at anytime.


Tea set 茶具

It’s little details like these which initially seemed insignificant that leaves a strong impression.



I ordered some sake, something which I never usually do.


Warm sake 溫米酒

Sashimi, in addition to the wasabi there’s a yuzu and pepper too for use on the fish with stronger taste (very spicy and very good, it’s slightly cool and sweet from the yuzu first then the pepper kicks in). The young lady looked up each of the fish’s name (and each ingredient in every dish) in chinese to help explain the dish to us. (I’m ashamed to say I don’t remember all of them)

生魚片,山葵之外還有一種香橙加胡椒子的佐醬搭配味道較重的魚 (很辛很有味,一開始香橙涼涼甜甜的,然後才感到胡椒後勁)。Rika還查了每種魚的中文 (還有每道菜的各個材料) 好一一為我們解釋。(很慚愧的我沒能記住幾個)

Sashimi, next to the lemon is the wasabi (top) and yuzu pepper (lower darker) 生魚片 檸檬旁是山葵(上)香橙胡椒 (下較深色的)

Fried pumpkin, pork with dandelion leaf. The slight bitterness of the leaf counteracts the fatty pork perfectly.


Fried pumpkin, pork with dandelion leaf 炸南瓜,豬肉,和蒲公英

The main dish. Ryu no Hige’s signature meat grill. The beef and chicken were from Kagoshima (southern Kyushu).

The chicken was what’s called a chi-tori, meaning local chicken, very meaty and bitey.

The beef was very good, succulent and seemingly just melts in the mouth.

Yes, all this for 3 people. Some people might be able to finish this, we don’t have a shot. We’re told that if we cannot eat it all, they will use the meat to cook a new dish for us for breakfast. It’s almost like their trademark as many many people mention this in their comments. So if you ever visit, only cook what you will eat, leave the rest for the next day.

The grill is deceiving, it’s the infrared flameless type which provides an even and strong heat.






Chicken, beef and veges 雞和牛肉 蔬菜

Sauce 烤肉沾醬

Grill 烤架

On goes the meat 開始烤吧

Soft boiled egg with chicken? The egg was done just right, the yolk soft and slippery and the white slightly firm to give a contrasting texture.

糖心蛋和雞肉? 蛋煮的剛好,蛋黃軟滑,蛋白QQ的,互相襯托。

Soft boiled egg with chicken? 糖心蛋和雞肉?

Salmon fillet sandwiched with potato. Slightly charred persimmon with orange and tomato. In the middle is chinese mustard (芥菜). All on white cauliflower sauce. The chinese mustard is a little peppery.


Salmon fillet sandwiched with potato 鮭魚排夾馬鈴薯

Soba sushi. Rice wrapped with soba noodles on a soup of cooked buckweat. It’s a refreshing dish, the texture of noodles and rice in the mouth was very interesting.


Soba sushi 蕎麥麵壽司

Japanese Spanish Mackarel (Scomberomorus niphonius 鰆) fried then boiled with mushroom and red bell pepper. It smells incredible and is full of flavour, yet does not have the oily feel of fried food.


Japanese Spanish Mackarel 鰆魚

Japanese Spanish Mackarel 鰆魚

Fried daikon mochi. It’s not as sticky as regular mochi making it quite easy to eat, and soaked up a lot of flavour of the stock.


Fried daikon mochi 炸羅蔔麻糬

Fried daikon mochi 炸羅蔔麻糬

Pudding with rice puffs (ポン菓子). It’s a very light sweet taste, the rice puffs gave it a very fun texture.


Pudding with rice puffs 米果布丁


Delicious would not do the chef justice.



After the most creative and delightful dinner we return to our room. It was night, the bright full moon silhouetting the black mountain peaks, a thin wisp of cloud capped Mt Yufu. The tranquil landscape was like a scene out of a book.  


Full moon over Mt Yufu 滿月由布岳

Everything was quiet, with the thick glass doors nothing can be heard of the highway in the valley or guests in other cabins. There’s a stereo system next to the TV, it can play CD, usb, and more conveniently bluetooth. It springs to life with Ghibli orchestral music. A curious thing, never having felt the need for familiar music in hotel or ryokans, now it felt the most essential thing.

房裡很安靜,厚玻璃門隔音效果很好,聽不到山谷裡的大分高速或其他住客。電視旁有一套音響,可以放CD, usb, 更方便的是有藍牙。音響啪的開始放送宮崎駿交響樂曲。很有意思,從前在飯店或旅館時從不覺得需要聽點熟悉的音樂,現在卻覺得沒這不行。

Music stereo 音響

There are a dozen guest books in the room, filled with praise from amazed guests. We asked dad to write something since he had the best handwriting, but he forgot.


Guest book 留言簿

The bed was warm, soft with good support. Each bed had two futons, a harder base and a softer one on top.



It was then it dawned on us that despite the heater was on, the room was not stuffy. I remembered something I had read on their website. Looking around I soon found the answer. Beneath the TV shelf was a set of grills, which at first looked abit like designs for a drawer. Put your hand closer and you can feel a gentle cool breeze. Each cabin has an under floor air cycling system that brought in fresh air from the outside to keep the room comfortable.


Under house air cycling system 屋下換氣系統

I woke up around 5 (fell asleep very early night before). My parents had not yet risen, I slid the doors close till there was only a small gap and turned on the living space lights without affecting them. Made some coffee, and sat on the couch and waited for the sunrise.

我大概5點睡醒 (前晚很早睡著)。我爸媽還在睡,於是我把紙門拉到剩一條縫後打開起居間的燈,沒有打擾到他們。泡了杯咖啡,坐在沙發上等日出。

Paper doors divide the beds and living space 紙門隔開寢間和起居間

It was the most remarkable view. The sun was behind the mountains and the peaks cast shadows on the cloud above, like rays of dark light. The snowy peak glimmered in the golden light, the whole of Mt Yufu was basked in a warm reddish glow.


Morning scenery 早晨景色

Morning scenery 早晨景色

Morning scenery 早晨景色

Morning scenery 早晨景色

Morning scenery 早晨景色

Morning scenery 早晨景色

I went for a bath, the cool morning air fresh and golden sun on the face.


Bath in the morning 早晨風呂

Bath in the morning 早晨風呂

Bath in the morning 早晨風呂

Bath in the morning 早晨風呂

Breakfast was served at 8:30am, again no exception.



There was a platter of various sides, a curious mix of japanese and western dishes that matched well together.


Breakfast 早餐

Breakfast 早餐

Breakfast 早餐

Fried tofu 炸豆腐

Boiled sides 煮物

Pickles and plum 醬菜和梅子

Enoki? 金針菇?

Onsen egg 溫泉蛋

Salad 沙拉


The rice came in 3 bowls, two large one small, without prompting. The small one for my mother.


Two sizes 大小碗

Our unfinished meat from the night before came as a marinated stir-fried dish, a straightforward approach that focused on the taste of the meat.


New dish using last night’s meat 昨晚剩的肉做的

During the meal the young lady brought to us a map of Yufuin, annotated by hand in chinese using many coloured pens, of the various shops and recommended sweets, cakes and other foods. It’s hard to imagine the effort it would have taken to translate and write them all out in detail.


Hand written map 手寫地圖


Yogurt with honey(bottom), orange and raspberry creates a pineapple on top 優格和蜂蜜(下), 用橘子和樹梅裝飾成鳳梨


Coffee 咖啡

Back to the cabin, enjoying the music and scenery, chatting with my parents.


Deck 陽台

Mt Yufu 由布岳

At last, it was time to say farewell to this small, unforgettable ryokan. I call the front desk to let them know we will be checking out, and the staffs came over to help with our luggages.



Before getting into the car I remembered to say, “Osewani nari mashita”, thank you for all the care given. I wish I knew better sentences to describe my gratitude for the experience.



They helped direct us back out the car and waved us goodbye.



Most excellent food, most excellent room, most excellent view, excellent value, most perfect service. Even now there’s the urge to book a flight and visit again come summer.



Ryu no Hige Website 草屋根之宿 龍之鬍鬚官網:http://ryunohige.com/index.html

Tsukushi cabin for 3 on weekdays is 84000Y (28000Y per person). This may seem a little high, be assured it’s worth spending one night here than two at a regular ryokan in the 10~20k per person range.


One thing to note, the telephone number in GPS navigation is incorrect. You must set the location manually or use the mapcode [269 292 760*44]

另外要注意GPS用電話的住址是錯的 需要手動設定或用mapcode 「269 292 760*44」