The aptly named Lake Kinrin (literally “Golden Scales”) is a jewel in the crown of Yufuin, a delightful hot spring resort in Oita. This breathtaking body of water was christened thus by Confucian scholar Kuso Mori in the late 19th century, in homage to the glittering scales of the fish he saw swimming within its depths as the sun set. But that’s not the only must-see. Visitors also come from far and wide to admire its morning mists: an enchanting sight created when the hot and cold springs that well up from beneath the lake’s surface come together.
On the south side of the lake, you’ll find cafes, shops and cozy lodgings, as well as a small shrine. At its northerly end, take in the strikingly colorful sight of teeming koi (Japanese carp) while soaking in a relaxing hot spring. A dip in the famous “Shitan-Yu” mixed-use outdoor bathhouse is yours for just 200 yen.
Central Yufuin, around 1.5km from the lake, is a popular and picturesque onsen (hot spring) town, nestling in an idyllic valley some 10km from the larger Beppu. The main road between Yufuin and the lake is lined with art museums that fine art aficionados won’t want to miss. Alternatively, for yet more abundant beauty, check out the unique Yufuin Floral Village (http://floral-village.com/), a Japanese nod to the original world-famous Cotswolds region of England, with beautiful stone buildings and flowers galore. Lovers of Peter Rabbit will find themselves well catered-for.
Hours: Open year-round.
Address: Kawakami, Yufuincho, Yufu City, Oita Prefecture
Airport: Oita Airport
+81-975-82-1304 (Yufu City Commerce and Industry Tourism Division)
Yufuin Station is served by the Kyudai Main Line, which has limited express services to Hakata and Beppu. Lake Kinrin is a 25-minute walk from that station.