Monday, July 20, 2015

Kyushu Spring 2014 九州春季之旅 - Yufuin 湯布院, B Speak

Visited 22.03.2014

Mt Yufu as the backdrop. Left: Yufumi dori (由布見通り); Right: Yu no tsubo road (湯の坪街道)
How to tour Yufuin? Yufuin is a hot spring town surrounded by mountains in Oita Prefecture. The train station is where the exploration of Yufuin town begins. The beautiful Mount Yufu, an iconic natural landmark of Yufuin, comes into sight as soon as you step out of the train station. Hand and foot bath can be found at the first souvenir shop on the left - enjoy a rewarding soak before and after the walking trip. The recommended way to tour Yufuin is to make Kinrinko your pit stop and make a turn from there back to the train station. There are food stalls, bakeries, confectioneries, specialty souvenir shops, cafes, etc that will keep you occupied throughout the journey. As there are no high rise buildings in this rural district, you can enjoy a scenic view of twin peaked mountain wherever you go. Walked along ekimae dori (駅前通り) and Yufumi dori (由布見通り), and turned into Yu no tsubo road (湯の坪街道) when I reached B Speak, a well known confectionery in Yufuin. Depsite spending an entire afternoon here, I still felt that I haven't explore this place enough. 



Numerous specialty shops

Top left: Nekoyashiki (猫屋敷); Top right: Studio Ghibli products in Dongiri no mori (どんぐりの森); Bottom left: Inuyashiki (犬家敷).
- If you are looking for cats and dogs related merchandises, do head down to Nekoyashiki (猫屋敷) and Inuyashiki (犬家敷) located along Tu no tsubo road. The huge variety of goods depicting these adorable pets are made available here and will definitely make you be spoilt for choice.
- Studio Ghibli fans will be excited to see Totoro waiting at Dongiri no mori (どんぐりの森). This shop is specially dedicated to Studio Ghibli related merchandises. Stood in front of the shelves filled with adorable looking merchandises and I was so tempted to bring one Totoro soft toy home. There is even a miniature bus stop just outside the shop where a huge Totoro plushie waits for the cat bus!

Yufuin Floral Village
- Yufuin Floral Village felt like a fairy tale like town where shops are housed in small little cottages and most of them were selling souvenirs (but not entirely unique to Yufuin). Also found out that this village also comprises of a hotel (only four rooms) with hot spring facilities. There is even a mini park here where visitors can come up close to owls, parrots, ducks, rabbits and squirrels. 
B-Speak's P roll
Opening hrs: 1000 - 1700 hrs

Read about this legendary swiss roll (known as P roll) that is only available here in Yufuin before my trip. This swiss roll is made by B Speak, a confectionery shop under the luxurious ryokan - Sansou Murata (山荘無量塔). The same group also owns Tenjo Sajiki Cafe (天井桟敷), which I visited as well during this trip. When I arrived at B Speak in the afternoon (~3 pm), all the swiss rolls (both full and sliced) were already sold out for the day. Was contemplating whether to revisit the shop on the next morning to purchase the sliced form on the spot or to pre-order one full roll for collection on the following day. Decided to go for the latter. On the following morning, I arrived just before the shop was opened for business at 1000 hrs that day and was astonished to see a long queue already formed outside the shop, all eager to grab hold of the limited number of Swiss roll available that day. Glad that I pre-ordered mine and could beat the queue to collect my order without much hassle. 

I have to exclaim that this is one of the best Swiss roll I have ever eaten! Best consume within the same day (and in fact within the next few hours upon purchase), this fluffy sponge cake is very soft in texture, eggy and fragrant. The cream is smooth, not too sweet and complements the cake perfectly. Wanted to savour another slice of P roll while on board Yufuin no mori but it was completely sold out.

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