Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Yufuin no Mori – The Most Elegant Sightseeing Train to Beppu and Yufuin

JR Kyūshū, a part of the wider Japan Rail group, runs the most sightseeing trains in Japan. One of these trains is Yufuin no Mori (ゆふいんの森), which means “The Forest of Yufuin”. Just like its name, the train was built to reflect the many charms of Yufuin, a hot spring town in Ōita Prefecture (大分県) surrounded by rich nature.

Departing from JR Hakata Station (博多駅), there are nine stops along the train line. Each of the stations on the train line has its own charms, with Beppu and Yufuin being the most popular destinations for tourists, both local and international.

Table of Contents

A Brief Introduction of Yufuin no Mori

Yufuin no Mori is a limited express train that runs from Hakata via Yufuin to Ōita and Beppu. Unlike most of the trains in Japan, to board Yufuin no Mori you will have to reserve your seat in advance.

While it is called a limited express train, it can run slower than the local trains, especially between Beppu and Yufuin. When we rode Yufuin no Mori, the train even stopped for the local trains to go through before it started moving again Σ(゚Д゚).

But then again, it is a sightseeing train, so the nice scenery surrounding the train line is probably more important than the train’s speed.

So, if you want to experience what the sightseeing train has to offer but don’t want to spend too much time on the train, take the ordinary limited express services (such as the limited express Sonic) to one of the Yufuin no Mori’s stops, and board the Yufuin no Mori for a shorter but still scenic ride to your final destination. The Yufuin no Mori services departing from Hakata are the most crowded in any case.

That was actually what we did when we visited Beppu and Yufuin. It is a lot faster to take the Limited Express Sonic from Hakata to Beppu than to take Yufuin no Mori. Then after we visited Beppu, we took Yufuin no Mori to Yufuin.

Just like any other sightseeing train in Japan, the interior of the train, even the carriage joining section, is elegantly designed.

Yufuin no Mori, to express the trace of nature in Yufuin, the carriages are covered with wooden floorboards. With the green walls and chairs, doesn’t it remind you of the forest?

That is why the sightseeing train is called Yufuin no Mori. Mori, in Japanese, means forest. So the train’s name means exactly Yufuin’s Forest.

Yufuin no Mori’s Bar Counter

Make sure you head to the bar counter on the train. Here, you will find bento boxes and desserts provided by famous local restaurants along the train line. It saves you the trouble of needing to travel to the restaurants!

Important: There are no pure vegetarian options available, and reservations for the bento boxes are required. HERE is the menu of Yufuin no Mori’s bar.

Yufuin no Mori’s Train Stamp

Opposite the bar counter, you will find a special stamp for tourists who ride the train. This is similar to a pressed penny or other souvenirs. Feel free to stamp it on the card provided by the train. It is of high memorial value (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Traveling with a Group of People? Reserve the Booth Seating!

If you are traveling with a group of 3 or 4 people, we recommend you reserve the Booth Seating when you purchase your tickets. It comes with a table that can be easily put away, which is quite handy (perfect for playing your favorite board games if you aren’t interested in the beautiful scenery through the window).

As the Booth Seating is quite limited on the train, you will want to make your booking early to avoid disappointment.

Important: Note the booth seating can’t be reserved online. Please visit a JR Kyūshū ticket office to reserve.

Tip: The Booth Seats are popular. If they are all booked, see if there are four empty regular seats next to each other. You can turn one row of regular seats around to face the other two regular seats to form a boxed booth.

Yufuin no Mori’s Carriage with the Best View

When making your reservation for the Yufuin no Mori, you will probably want to ask for seats at the front or the back of the train where the drivers’ compartments are located.

Because the view there is the best!!!

Also, there will be staff carrying a board with the image of the train as well as a date stamp visiting each carriage to take photos for the customers.

So make sure you don’t fall asleep before you catch them (=゚ω゚)ノ.

The Best Seats on Yufuin no Mori

  • If you plan to travel from Hakata Station to Yufuin, the seats on the right (C and D) are recommended.
  • If you plan to travel from Yufuin to Hakata Station, the seats on the left (A and B) are recommended.

☛ Remember to look out when the train leaves Amagase Station (天ヶ瀬駅). The locals and the station staff will most likely wave to you! Shortly after Amagase Station. You can see the Jion no Taki Fall (慈恩の滝) from the window (assuming the train travel for Yufuin).
☛ When the train approaches Bungo-Mori Station (豊後森駅) from Hakata Station, you will see a pudding-shaped mountain. Its name is Mt. Kirikuri (切株山).

Does Yufuin no Mori Have Luggage Space?

Yes, each carriage of Yufuin no Mori has a luggage.

How to Reserve and the Cost of Boarding Yufuin no Mori

You can make your reservation of Yufuin no Mori at any JR Kyūshū’s Station’s ticketing office, Midori-no-Madoguchi (みどりの窓口). Any JR Passes that cover the north Kyūshū region can be used to reserve your seats without extra charges. Or, it will be 5,690 yen for an adult ticket (half price for kids) from Hakata to Yufuin.

Tip: If you don’t have a JR Pass, reserve online in advance HERE and get a discount on your train fare!

Refer to HERE for the train’s timetable for more information about Yufuin no Mori.

What If the Tickets from Hakata Are All Sold Out?

If you couldn’t secure a ticket from Hakata to Yufuin, check if there are still tickets left that covers between Kurume (久留米) and Yufuin. Apparently, the locals sometimes take Yufuin no Mori to travel between Hakata and Kurume. Because the train travels in the city between the two stations, there won’t be too much you would miss out on if you take this option.

Bicycle Rental at Yufuin

While we can’t find this information on the official Yufuin no Mori’s English website, you will get a special discounted price if you want to explore Yufuin with a bike if you take a JR train to Yufuin.

When you make your reservation for Yufuin no Mori, you can get the Rakuchari bike ticket (楽チャリ利用券) reservation ticket (指定券) that shows the timeslot that you reserved. These two tickets will allow you to rent the bikes from Yufuin Tourist Information Center (由布市ツーリストインフォメーションセンター) at a special price. The Information Centre is located just at the right of the JR Yufuin Station (由布院駅).

The price list is as below:

  • ~ 2 hours: 410 yen
  • 2 ~ 4 hours: 810 yen
  • > 4 hours: 1,220 yen

The Yufuin Tourist Information Center is open at 9 am. You will need to return your bike by 5 pm on the same day.

Important: Please note when you pick up the bike, you will need to show the staff your ID, or they will ask for a 10,000 yen deposit (that will be returned to you when you return the bike).

Explore the Most Unique Onsen Town – Yufuin

Click on the photo to know more about how to get to this stunning spot!

So what to do once you reach the destination – Yufuin?

Follow our article on Yufuin as a guide to know where are the best spots to stroll around when you arrive at this relaxing and beautiful town (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Coin Lockers & Baggage Keeping Services at Yufuin

You will be able to find coin lockers in JR Yufuin Station, or the Yufuin Tourist Information Centre located just opposite the station is able to temporarily keep your bags for you.

  • At Yufuin Station, there are 6 small lockers (400 yen), 28 middle lockers (600 yen), 4 large lockers (700 yen), and, 22 extra-large lockers (900 yen).
  • The Tourist Information Center is able to keep your luggage while you explore Yufuin from 500 yen per piece, depending on the size of your bag. Note the center is operating between 9 am and 7 pm. So if you plan to check in or retrieve your belongings outside of their business hours, it’s probably a better idea to use the coin lockers in the Station.

21 thoughts on “Yufuin no Mori – The Most Elegant Sightseeing Train to Beppu and Yufuin”

  1. Hello.

    Does the Yufuin No Mori train accommodate luggage? If not, what do you recommend our best option is to get from Hakata to the Yufuin area?

    Thank you!

  2. Hi, i have booked the Yufuin no Mori. However, how can i select the seats i want? I am justing booking this train from Beppu to Hakata without JR Pass. Thank you.

    1. Hello, if you didn’t book your seats at the ticket office, you can’t choose your seats, unfortunately.
      Stop by the ticket office after you get to Japan and check with the staff if there are still seats for you to swap.

      Kind regards,

  3. Hi Lily,

    I just came back from a trip, came into your page to check for reply. Thank you so much for helping and even wrote in to them to check for me. Really appreciate your help. And you are right, seats were automatically allocated because I booked through English website. I am going to check where are my seats exactly. Once again, thank you for your help.

  4. Planning to combine a visit to Yufuin and Beppu for a day from Hakata. Is this doable or we would have to choose only 1 for a day trip from Fukuoka.

    If this is the only day trip we will do, is it worth getting a JR Pass? or should we just get the regular JR tickets?

    What would you recommend?

    Would appreciate your input on this.

    Many thanks.

    1. Hi Lilo,
      I wouldn’t recommend visiting both Beppu and Yufuin on the same day. Each of the destination needs one day to explore. You can consider the Northern Kyushu Pass. If you have limited time, you can consider using the bullet train to Kurume and change for Yufuin no Mori to get to Yufuin. This way, you can reduce the travel time but also experience the sightseeing train.

      Kind regards,

  5. Hi Lilly,

    Chanced upon your blog which is really helpful. It’s my first time trying to book train tickets. Correct me if I’m wrong, we need to buy tickets first, once we have confirmation number, then we go to “seat reservation” page to reserve the seats (except for booth seats) , am I right?
    I can’t see any option to select seats during the booking of tickets …

    1. Hi Sann,

      It seems like you can only select window or aisle seat but not the exact seat using the English official website for reservation. From experience, if that is the case, your seat will be selected by the system according to your preference, which will be shown on the confirmation email. We have sent out an inquiry to JR Kyushu to confirm this, and will get back to you when we receive a response.

      Kind regards,

    2. Hi Sann,

      We have just got a confirmation that specific seat reservation can only be made using the Japanese official website. If you use the English official website to purchase a ticket and are unsatisfied with the seat allocated, you can request to change it at a JR ticket office after you arrive. No fee is charged to change your seat at the ticket office.

      Kind regards,

  6. May I ask how to book a Booth Seating ( 4 person with have table )? , I enter the reservation website but I can’t find the Booth Seating. From the seat chart, I understand that the booth Seating is in car 3 at seat no. 1-4 (AB/CD) but in car 3 it’s shown only seat no. 5-9 for booking, don’t have seat no. 1-4.

    1. Hi Iawan,

      Please be advised that the boxed/booth seats can’t be reserved online.
      Please visit a JR Kyushu ticket office if you want to reserve the booth seating.

      Kind regards,

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