Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day in Yufuin

When I lived in Beppu, I used to go to Yufuin, a small, quiet hotspring resort about 45 minutes away by car. It is especially beautiful in autumn when all the leaves change color and spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom. However, even in mid-winter, it hasn't lost is charm or beauty. It's surrounded by high mountains and lies at the foot of Yufuin dake, a peak which I actually climbed all the way to the top of many years ago. Yufuin is a popular weekend getaway and many Japanese own second homes there. The town is dotted with picturesque Japanese inns, quaint restaurants, and the usual gift shops. Today, my friend Tomoko drove us there for lunch. The streets were quite crowded with tourists, which surprised me given the time of year. It snowed yesterday, so the mountains, forests, and roof tops were dusted with a light layer of snow and ice, and it was very cold. After a hot lunch, we strolled around a bit; here's a look at what we saw.

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