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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Yufuin no mori ゆふいんの森

Travelled on 23.03.2014


There are three round trips daily. For this trip, I boarded Yufuin no mori 6 which departed from Yufuin JR Station at 1707 hrs. Alighted at Kurume JR Station to transfer to Shinkansen, bound for Kumamoto.

Do check out the train operating schedule and timing on JR Kyushu website: http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/trains/yufuinnomori/
  • Yufuin no mori 1 and 5: Hakata > Yufuin
  • Yufuin no mori 3: Hakata > Yufuin > Beppu
  • Yufuin no mori 2 and 6: Yufuin > Hakata
  • Yufuin no mori 4: Beppu > Yufuin > Hakata
Luck! Yufuin no mori is one of JR Kyushu's most popular sightseeing train. My original plan on Day 9 was to board Yufuin no mori 4 from Beppu JR Station after visiting the Jigoku in Beppu. To my dismay, there were less than 4 seats left on this train despite making a reservation for the tickets about 1 week in advance! Wanted very much to take this train, therefore had to choose alternative timing and tweak my itinerary on the spot. After much consideration, I had to settle for Yufuin no mori 6 which departed from Yufuin JR Station at a much later timing. This implied that I had to return to Yufuin from Beppu via a 1 hour duration bus ride. Despite all the pre-work/research done, I have come to realise that some things are just not within our control. To me, these impromptu decisions/changes are what make free & easy travelling unpredictable yet exciting at times!

Highlights:

Design. All in all, Yufuin no mori is a very resort feel train. Green body with posh looking wooden interior and parquet flooring, all in line with the name of this train. One unique feature of this train is the carriages are connected by bridges with fences on both sides, allowing passengers to move seamlessly within the train. For those travelling in a group of 3 or 4, you can also request for booth seats (subjected to availability) which has a common table with a classical looking lamp!

Yufuin Wappo (720 yen).
Relax & Eat. Admire the natural landscape through the large windows as the train travels along the Kyudai main line (between Kurume and Oita). There is a counter in one of the train carriages which sells related merchandises and food. If you are a fan of Yufuin's famous B Speak swiss roll, you may be lucky enough to buy it on board this train. During my day of travel, it was already sold out before the last train of the day.

Exploring different kinds of ekiben has also become one of my favourite activities during such leisure train rides. Bought two different types of ekibens for sharing. Yufuin Wappo (ゆふいんわっぽ) is a healthy bento which is popular among female passengers and it contains five small rice balls, in different colours, stewed vegetables and fishcake. On the other hand, Kousou Monogatari (香草物語) is a sumptuous ekiben. Each box is divided into 12 sections, each filled with colourful main and side dishes - various vinegared rice, several meat dishes, pickled vegetables and one serving of dessert.  


Kousou Monogatari
Photo taking & commemorative boarding pass. Passengers can also borrow the commemorative board (which states the day of travel) and cabin attendents' hats for photo taking purposes. Don't forget to grab your commemorative boarding pass and stamps while on board the train. The inked stamp station is placed in the same train carriage as the food and merchandise counter. 

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Video: Scroll to 28:25 for 遇约九州's feature on Yufuin no mori.



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Boarding pass & commemorative stamp:

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