A little more than halfway through our trip, we stopped by the hot spring town of Yufuin in Oita prefecture for some much-needed rest and relaxation. Our legs sore from walking around all day and our back and arms tired from lugging around bags from place to place, it was a welcome respite from the busy itinerary. From Kumamoto, we took the Shinkansen to Kurume Station and then hopped on the beautiful Yufuin no Mori train, which looks like one of those classic cross-country sightseeing designs. Felt a bit like we were transported back in time to the golden age of railway travel.
When in Japan, you gotta check out an onsen (hot spring). We bought 2-day Hakone Freepasses and took a Romance Car to Hakone, which is close by to Tokyo. Romance, in this sense, means “adventure.” It’s an additional surcharge on top of the cost of the pass, but it’s an express train and has spacious seats, food + drinks on board, and large windows. We got a bunch of nice views of the areas outside the city. Remember to reserve your seats early so you can sit in the front or rear observation decks of the train.