Travelling on a cycle, motor bike or car and then pitching a tent for the night or exploring in a recreational vehicles have never been major leisure activities in Japan on the scale found in many other countries.
A visit to Yunohira Onsen is a step back into an older time. Hidden in the mountains outside Yufuin on an mountainside beside the tumbling Kagono-gawa river, this tiny, atmospheric village is a far cry from the modern, high-tech image of Japan.
Yufuin, is a refined, up-market, onsen hot spring town in wonderful rural setting towered over by Mt. Yufu-dake, an extinct volcano. The town boast a wealth of cafes, restaurants, shops selling high-quality locally-made handicrafts, boutiques, art galleries and small museums. A compact town it is ideal to stroll around.
Onsen are enjoyed for their therapeutic, relaxing qualities and are one of Japan’s great attractions; a perennial favourite among both the Japanese and overseas visitors. Buddhism, which first arrived in Japan in 552, used onsen for purification rites.
The seat of the Oita’s Prefectural Government and its economic powerhouse. Oita is the birth place of Arata Isozaki, one of Japan’s top architects and the winner of the 2019 Pritzker Prize. The Oita Prefectural Library, an early work of his, has been refashioned as an art gallery.
For anyone fortunate enough to be at Monjusen-ji at dawn, the deep, resounding sound of bell echoing across its tranquil setting, a remote valley deep in the heart of Kunisaki, heralds the start of the temple’s day.
Baien-no-Sato is a small, onsen hot spring resort atop a hill in the centre of the Kunisaki Peninsula. It also has the additional and very unusual attraction for a hotel of a 65cm reflecting telescope used for star gazing into our Universe and far beyond into deep space.