Very popular train to Yufuin from Hakata and Oita. Limited Express Yufuin no Mori / Yufu

The newer fleet KIHA 72 series is used for two round trips of Yufuin no Mori. As of July, 2015, one more car was added to this train set. Not it is five cars formation.
The newer fleet KIHA 72 series is used for two round trips of Yufuin no Mori. As of July, 2015, one more car was added to this train set. Not it is five cars formation.

These trains connect Hakata (博多) with Yufuin (由布院) and Oita (大分) or Beppu (別府). Yufuin is one of the most popular hot springs resort in Kyushu. This is the train that you need to take when you go to Yufuin. Of course these train’s name are named from Yufuin. “Yufuin no Mori” means Yufuin’s forest. These two trains are operated on same route and fully covered by JR Pass. But Yufuin no Mori is operated by the specialized car, KIHA-71 or 72 series. This express train is one of the best in JR Kyushu train and very very popular. So I strongly recommend to take Yufuin no Mori, not Yufu.

I will explain about the route, schedule and accommodations of these trains in this post.

Route, schedule and trip time

The number of trips are the following:
Yufuin no Mori (ゆふいんの森): 2 round trips between Hakata and Yufuin, and 1 round trip between Hakata and Oita
Yufu (ゆふ): 2 round trips between Hakata and Beppu, and one round trip between Hakata and Oita
These trains connect Hakata with Yufuin in 2 hours 10-15 minutes, and with Oita in 3 hours. There is no difference for the time required between Yufuin no Mori and Yufu. But the accommodation is completely different.

You can check the timetable at JR Kyushu website (English).

Stations
Hakata (博多)x
Futsukaichi (二日市)x
Tosu (鳥栖)x
Kurume (久留米)x
Kurume Daigakumae (久留米大学前)*
Tanushimaru (田主丸)*
Chikugo-Yoshii (筑後吉井)x
Ukiha (うきは)*
Hita (日田)x
Amagase (天ヶ瀬)x
Bungomori (豊後森)x
Bungo-Nakamura (豊後中村)x
Yufuin (由布院)x
Yunohira (湯平)x
Mukainoharu (向之原)x
Oita (大分)x
Beppu (別府)*

x:All train stop *:Some of trains stop


View Yufuin no Mori in a larger map

Limited Express Yufuin no Mori is operated by KIHA-71 series. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
One round trip of Limited Express Yufuin no Mori is operated by KIHA-71 series. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Accommodation and train formations

Both Yufuin no Mori and Yufu do not have any green car.
Yufuin no Mori is operated by KIHA-71 or KIHA-72 series. KIHA-72 is newer than KIHA-71. Those trains are produced for the resort express train to Yufuin hot springs resort. Even though these trains have no green car, those give you a higher passengers seat and it offers a great view through huge windows. Those trains have same concept and same shape. Either KIHA-71 or 72 will satisfy your riding experience.

Yufu is operated by KIHA 185 series. This is not bad but it is nothing special.

*Sonic Rail Garden has copyright for all images of accommodations below.

You may see lots of this logo inside and outside of this train. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
You may see lots of this logo inside and outside of this train. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Yufuin no Mori KIHA-71 series

The seat configurations are 2+2 and the seat pitch is 960mm. There are “Buffet” (Cafeteria) and salon space. Usually this series is used for Yufuin no Mori #3 and #4.

Images

Ordinary seat
Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series ordinary seat

Buffet (Cafeteria and kiosk)
Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Buffet (Cafeteria)

Salon space
Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Salon space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Salon space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Salon space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Salon space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Salon space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Salon space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Salon space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Salon space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Salon space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Salon space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Salon space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Salon space

Sanitary space
Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Sanitary space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Sanitary space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Sanitary space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Sanitary space

Passenger’s deck and common space
Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Common space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Common space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Common space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Common space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Common space Yufuin no Mori KIHA71 series Common space

Train formation

1234
RR/BS/RR

R=Reserved ordinary seat B=Buffet (cafeteria and kiosk) S=Salon space

Yufuin no Mori KIHA-72 series

This is newer than KIHA-71 series. But it looks very similar. The concept of this series is almost same as KIHA-71, like higher passenger’s deck and buffet. But this series does not have any salon space. The seat configurations are 2+2 and the seat pitch is 1000mm. These cars give you a bigger leg space. There are “Buffet” (Cafeteria) too. And this series has semi compartment on car #3. Usually this series is used for Yufuin no Mori #1, #2, #5 and #6.

Images

Ordinary seat
Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat

Semi compartment on Car #3
Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat semi compartment Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat semi compartment Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat semi compartment Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat semi compartment Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat semi compartment Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat semi compartment Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series ordinary seat semi compartment

Buffet (Cafeteria and kiosk)
Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Buffet (Cafeteria) Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Buffet (Cafeteria), The menu shows you that Bento is 750 yen, Fried noodle is 700 yen, soft drinks are 100 to 350 yen. Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Buffet (Cafeteria), This menu shows you that snacks and dessert are 200 to 850 yen. Original goods are 300 to 2000 yen.

Sanitary space
Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Sanitary space Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Sanitary space Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Sanitary space Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Sanitary space Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Sanitary space Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Sanitary space Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Sanitary space Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Sanitary space Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Sanitary space Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Sanitary space

Passenger’s deck and common space
Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Common space Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Common space Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Common space Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Common space Yufuin no Mori KIHA72 series Common space

Train formation

1234
RRB/RR

R=Reserved ordinary seat B=Buffet (cafeteria and kiosk)

KIHA 185 series is the standard car for Yufu. (C) Sonic Rail Garden
KIHA 185 series is the standard car for Yufu. (C) Sonic Rail Garden

Yufu KIHA-185 series

This train is the standard train. This is okay. But Yufuin no Mori is way better than this train. The seat configuration is 2+2. This series has been restored several times. So the seat pitch is 940 mm and some cars give you more space, 1020 mm. Yufu does not have any dining facilities and on board sales. So please buy something to eat and drink before boarding.

*Be careful!!! When KIHA 71 or 72 series for Yufuin no Mori is in maintenance, this 185 series is replaced.

Images

Ordinary seat
Yufu KIHA185 series ordinary seat Yufu KIHA185 series ordinary seat Yufu KIHA185 series ordinary seat Yufu KIHA185 series ordinary seat

Sanitary space
Yufu KIHA185 series sanitary space

Train formation

123
RR/NRR

R=Reserved ordinary seat NR=Non reserved ordinary seat

139 thoughts on “Very popular train to Yufuin from Hakata and Oita. Limited Express Yufuin no Mori / Yufu”

  1. Hi Takeshi. JR Kyushu’s latest timetable (31st March 2019) shows Yufuin no Mori #2 operating on October 11th when I’m thinking of taking it from Yufuin to Hakata at 12.09pm but looking to confirm that on Hyperdia, Hyperdia shows no Yufuin no Mori trains at all that day (not even replacement Yufu #7_ trains), just normal Yufu Ltd Expresses.

    I saw there is maintenance for Yufuin no Mori on October 15-17 but not that I could see October 11th. And Hyperdia is based on Kotsushinbunsha’s May edition so should be up to date with a timetable published by JR Kyushu in March.. Am I missing something?

    1. Hi Simon,

      JR Kyushu’s timetable is correct. Hyperdia shows you the timetable for next 3 months usually. I checked today and it says, “The train and flight schedules are available from April 27, 2019 to July 31, 2019.” at the bottom of the search result.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Oh thanks Takeshi. I’ve been doing my searches for dates in September and October for all my trains. Most of them are Shinkansens so I don’t imagine they will change or if they do not by so much, or there will be an alternative that I can use given their frequency. But it’s good to know I should check again 3 months out from my travel dates. And also good to know that the Yufuin no Mori I want to take will be operating (subject to any future change JR Kyushu might make).

  2. Hi Takeshi,

    Thanks always for your very informative website.

    I am planning to visit Yufuin in mid-Apr and I am looking forward to experience the Yufuin no Mori. I would like to arrive early but the earliest Yufuin no Mori 1 would only arrive near noon at 11:36. As such, I am considering to take the Ltd Exp Yufu 1 which would arrive at 10:01. Would you recommend taking the Yufuin no Mori which departs from Yufuin at 17:08 for my return trip instead? I am worried that it may be too late/dark to enjoy the scenic ride.

    Also, I would like to ask if the reservation fee of ¥1,000 is per ticket or per JR Kyushu Pass holder?

    Thanks!

  3. Greetings, Takeshi-san:

    Thank you for such an informative page!!!
    My family of 4 is travelling to Kyushu with different schedule – 2 will arrive in Kansai first from 29/3, leaving Himeji to Hakata to join all 4 persons in Kyushu on 3/4.

    We are planning to take the Yufuin no Mori from Hakata to Yufuin on 5/4, and same way back to Hakata on 8/4.

    Himeji->Hakata (for 2 persons) and Hakata Yufuin (for 4 persons) will be the only long distance rail journeys in the trip.

    Since I read that we cannot reserve tickets overseas on the very popular Mori scenic train, my questions are:
    – For the 2 travelling only in Kyushu, I think they should not get any Kyushu rail pass for the return journey, as the rest will be self-driving (no other rail use). But is it recommended to take a JR pass for the 2 persons who can use it around Kansai *and* for the 3 long JR rides they will take?
    – I see that they can reserve tickets for Mori at any JR station, so if they do this in Kansai, can they also buy for the 2 other persons? Any deals which needs showing of foreign passport / named personal tickets?
    – Is the front wagon (closest to train driver), or the salon space (bigger windows?) the best for seeing scenery?
    – which side of the train is better? e.g. to see the waterfall?
    – Since we are taking the same route back, is it recommended to take both times the Mori, or one time with the normal JR Yufu to save some costs (or in case we only find good seats on the Mori on one way?)

    Thank you so much and sorry for many questions!!

    1. Hi Amanda san,

      First of all, any rail passes do not work for your trip because you cannot get the worth of it. So you will use a regular fare ticket. You can book and purchase all ticket for 4 of you at Kansai airport station. You don’t need to show any documents because you will purchase a regular ticket which is available for anybody.

      Do not expect to choose the seat. Because this train is very very popular and booth seat is available on Yufuin no Mori #3 and #4 only. It’s hard to book it. And also the front row seats are very difficult to book. The ticket is on sale one month before, so these seats are usually booked out quickly. You can try but just try to get four seats together. If you can get four seats side by side, you can enjoy the scenery both side.

      If you take Yufu, the fare is same. If you want to take something different, you can try the other route which is Yufuin-Oita-Beppu-Kokura-Hakata route.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hello Takeshi,

    Thank you for the post.
    I am arriving at Kansai International Airport on Nov 7, 2018 11pm and I will try to take the earliest train to Hakata the next day. However, if I try to book the Yufuin No Mori on the 8th (Thursday) for the same day train, would this even be possible considering the crowd on a thursday?
    If I can’t make a reservation for Yufuin No Mori or get on the Yufu train, what would be the fastest 3rd option to get to Yufuin station with the Northern Kyushu Pass? Thank you very much.

    1. Hi Omni,

      I think the chance to get a seat on Yufuin no Mori is very slim. This train is always busy. You can try to book anyway. But please do not expect to get a seat on this train.
      Yufu is probably easier to get a seat. This train has non reserved seat car. You may take this train without reservation. But in worst case, you have to stand up.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/travel-tips/reserved-seat-vs-non-reserved-seat-how-to-get-a-seat-on-non-reserved-car.html

      If you cannot take Yufu either, your choice is taking Sonic from Kokura to Oita, and then take a local train to Yufuin. You may be able to take Yufuin no Mori or Yufu from Beppu to Oita.
      https://jprail.com/destinations/kyushu-area/sonic.html
      http://www.jrkyushu.co.jp/english/pdf/timetable_20180714_20190228.pdf

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. hi i am planning to arrive into Fukuoka city on 25March 2018 .
    26 March : Take the train from Fukuoka to Yufu in Oita –
    5 April : From Yufu to Yufuin and stay for 2 days
    7 April -From Yufuin go to Kumamoto
    please advise the type of ticket and train i should buy

  6. Hello Takeshi,

    I plan to take the Yufuin no Mori train from Hakata to Yufuin on November 28th. Is it correct that due to heavy rain storms that the Yujuin no Mori train no longer runs directly from Hakata to Yufuin? If so, which station would you suggest that we get off on the Yufuin no Mori train (departing from Hakata) so we can take another train from that station to Yufuin?

    Thank you in advance for your help!

    Mag

    1. Hi Mag,

      Only Yufuin no Mori #91 and #92 will run on November 28. The tentative train schedule is valid until November 30. But one round trip of this train will be suspended when you make a trip. I just revised the post above. Please refer it.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Takeshi,

        Thank you so much for the quick reply. So if I understand you correctly, the Mori #91 train will run from Hakata to Yufuin (departing at 8:45 a.m. I believe). Are there any express trains that I can take from Yufuin back to Hakata other than the Yufuin no Mori train?

        Thank you!
        Mag

  7. Hi Takeshi

    4 of us are arriving at Fukuoka Domestic Airport at 20:30 on 22/11 and will head directly to Hakata station to reserve seats.

    My plan as follows by JR Kyushu Rail Pass:
    a) 24/11 Yufuin no Mori from Beppu (12:19) to Yufuin. I was told easier to get seats departing from stations other than Hakata. Do you agree?
    b) Aso Boy, is this train travelling from Hakata to Huis Ten Bosch or Beppu to Aso between 22 – 26 Nov? My current plan is to reserve seats on 25/11 from Beppu to Aso.

    Thanks in advance and await your reply soon.

    Regards
    CK

    1. Hi CK,

      a) Maybe. As you know, this train runs on different route since rain storm hit this region. Since then, occupancy rate of Yufuin no Mori is getting decreasing. That means it’s easier to book than before. At this point, it’s hard to guess.

      b) It runs on Beppu to Aso.
      https://jprail.com/travel-informations/seasonal-trains-schedule/schedule-of-2017-fall-seasonal-trains-of-japan-railways.html#Limited_Express_Aso_Boy

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

    2. Hi Takeshi

      Thanks for your quick reply. Since 23/11 is a national holiday in Japan, will that affect my chances for 24 & 25 Nov on Yufuin no Mori and Aso Boy?

      In November, normal direction for Yufuin no Mori is Hakata – Yufuin – Beppu or Hakata – Beppu – Yufuin?

      Cheers

  8. Hi Takeshi

    Will be arriving in Fukuoka mid Dec early morn after a mid-night flight.
    Plan to take the Yufuin no Mori train to Yufuin or Beppu. Is it possible to get the tickets for the same day train to Yufuin or Beppu?
    (flight arrival 8.30am, target to the Yufuin no mori train from Hakata at about 10am if it is scheduled )

    Also intend to buy the Aso Boy tickets for my kids to ride on but will check the timetable of its operation when nearer.

    Is it worth to buy the jr pass if we intend to drive back from Beppu to Fukuoka? we will stay in Beppu for 3 days.

    Thanks

      1. Thank you Takeshi san. Is food available for sale in sonic trains?

        I assume eating and drinking is allowed in the trains. Correct me if I am wrong

        1. Hi Ivy san,

          You can eat and drink on Sonic or any other trains. But you cannot get anything to eat and drink on Sonic. Most of ordinary express trains do not have any on board sales. Prepare something to eat before taking trains.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. Hello Takeshi
    May I know if I can take Yufuin No Mori from Yufuin station to Kumamoto because we are planning to overnight at Yufuin for two days and leave the place for Kumamoto (the latest schedule showed that Yufuin No Mori No 7 only available from 27 Nov to 1 Dec .We will only arrive in Fukuoka on 28 Nov ) After that we return to Hakata. Pls advice .Thank you

    1. Hi Tkl,

      It’s very hard to say. Usually it’s slow season but this train is very very popular as you think.
      Unfortunately there is no way to book before you arrive in Japan. All I can say that just try as early as possible after you arrive in Japan.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

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