|Beppu & Yufuin Wed 22nd Nov. 7-15°C, cloudy and frequent rain.
Took the blue Sonic tilt train from Hakata to Beppu. Moves along quite well, especially into the curves. Showing signs of use, but well appointed and comfortable. Great metallic colour scheme. At Kokura the train reverses direction, so you have to turn your seats around. There are a few seaside views after Kokura then pleasant scenery from Nakasu, with autumn colours coming out all over the mountains.
Beppu Onsen. I know because of the sulphur smell immediately after stepping off the train.
An older town, with a lovely seaside and mountains behind. I didn’t notice the sulphur smell again. There are many onsen hotels, I intended to have a soak in the Tanayu Aqua Garden(swimsuits required), but sitting in a hot pool in the cold pouring rain did not appeal.
Took bus no 20 from Beppu Stn East exit to Yunokawa bus stop(30min), near Yukemuri Observatory (walk uphill 10min). Suica works ok, tap on tap off. No bus back for 45min, so walked (20min) downhill to Beppudaigaku Stn. I originally took bus 23 by mistake and had to return from two stations away by local train, tch, glad Mel wasn’t with me, I fear the consequences.
Started raining, it's too wet to do very much. Went to the Port Tower but it's closed on Wednesdays. Jumped aboard the next Sonic express to Oita. Shopped for a while, then waited for the Yufuin-no-mori to arrive.
Beautiful train, comfortable and smooth. Once out of Oita, the mountain scenery was lovely all the way to Yufuin. The big diesel quietly purred around the many curves as it climbed through mountains and mist filled valleys. Autumn colours are emerging all around, swift streams flow under picturesque bridges.
Still raining at Yufuin, so after a quick look around, found a mocha & donut at a nice cafe.
Boarded the red 'Yufu' for the return journey to Oita, growling diesels to start off only, then coasted most of the way back down. Time for a quick break, then a crowded Sonic back to Hakata, glad I reserved a seat.