Yufuin in Oita Prefecture is renowned for having some of the most outstanding onsens in all of Japan.
The Yufumi-dori Street and Yu-No-Tsubo Street, located in the center of town, are packed full of cafes and restaurants selling sweets and food made with Oita Prefecture’s very own vegetables and beef. There are so many shops that you might get lost if you aren’t careful.
Read on to find out about some restaurants and lodges serving up sprawling Bungo Province’s famous wagyu beef.
In-hotel restaurant, Sunsai Hinaya
Shunsai Hinaya is a Japanese restaurant located a short walk away from the main tourist area at Yufumi-dori. The restaurant is located inside Hananomai Ryokan.
Yufumi-dori has a reputation for being crowded and noisy, so much so that the silence around the Hananomai Ryokan comes as a bit of a surprise. It feels as though it’s in a world of its own.
From the outside, the building looks quaint and cozy, but stepping inside reveals a surprisingly large open space.
Tables and chairs sit next to the windows, and in the center there’s a fireplace. In the winter months, the restaurant is filled with a gentle warmth from the fire.
The restaurants most famous dish is the lunch-only Gyubako Bento beef lunchbox!
However, there’s plenty more to enjoy on the menu at Shunsai.
The tastiest soy milk tofu
The lunch menu is available from 11:30AM to 2:00PM. The regular gyubako bento is 1,890JPY, and the deluxe version is 2,750JPY.
The deluxe version is made with sirloin steak.
Although the sirloin box was tempting, I went for the more reasonably priced 1,890JPY option!
The Bungo Wagyu steak is amazing, but the soy milk tofu that comes out as an appetizer is fantastic as well.
As the name suggests, the dish is a block of tofu in a bowl with soy milk. The gentle soy milk perfectly complements the soft texture of the tofu! Let it sit in your mouth and it just melts away.
It’s delicious just as it comes, but it’s also nice to drip a little soy sauce on top. The soy sauce provides an accent flavor and really brings out the umami taste that Japanese food is so famous for.
Once you’re finished with the appetizer, it’s time for the main event!
A box full of delicious bungo wagyu!
True to the name, the lunchbox wagyu dish comes in a long, stylish box!
Try to contain your excitement as you open the top to find a row of delicious bungo wagyu.
This particular beef is lower in fat than other wagyu and comes grilled rare.
Don’t wait! Take a bite of the first piece and get a mouthful of umami.
It’s soft and delicious, and will be gone before you know it.
But it’s not just rice and meat in the box.
Green spring onions and sesame seeds are there to add flavor as well, and sheets of nori between the beef slices play an important role in rounding off the dish!
It seems like a lot of food at first glance, but the nori isn’t as heavy, so even those with smaller stomachs should be able to lick the plate.. er… box, clean!
Don’t miss the chance to eat this on your trip through Yufuin!
Fukinoya Lodge serves up delicious food with great presentation
If you’d prefer to try some wagyu in the evening, there are two lodges I can recommend.
One is Fukinoya Lodge, located at a high elevation inside the Yufuin area.
The amount of food they serve at the lodge isn’t too much or too little. It will leave you comfortably full. Even though it’s not a huge course, it’s visually stunning. The healthy appetizer comes in a cute small bowl and makes great use of local Oita Prefecture ingredients. It’s a luxury dish with a mild taste.
Next comes the main course, a mixture of marbled and non-marbled bungo wagyu beef! Enjoy it shabu shabu style! The meat is so soft that it falls apart in your mouth.
This dish a bit different from the lunch set at Shunsai. The beef is sliced thin and comes with special tare sauce for dipping.
Enjoy your bungo beef with a view of Mt. Yufu
Next up on the list is Yufu-no-go Saigakukan, a grand restaurant located high in the Yufuin area.
The restaurant can be found in a spaciously designed hotel featuring a rotenburo (Japanese style outdoor bath).
Catch a stunning view of Mt. Yufu from the big glass windows on the 1st floor restaurant! If the weather is nice you can see Mt. Yufu shining in the morning sun.
Tofu dishes and bungo beef are on the evening menu, which is a kaiseki style meal (traditional Japanese multi-course dinner)
The various tofu dishes arrive first, followed by the Bungo beef, grilled teppanyaki style! The savory smell of grilling beef is sure to whet your appetite. Be patient, because the first bite of juicy meat is worth it! Close your eyes and savor it.
Whether it’s a Bungo beef lunchbox, shabu shabu, or teppanyaki, you can experience the best of Japanese beef in Yufuin.
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