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Travel Trade & Media

Artful Exploration in Yugawara

by Ushin Cho

Yugawara is located in the southwestern part of Kanagawa Prefecture and is a perfect resort with its beautiful scenery and mild climate. Access is easy, take the JR Tokaido Line from Tokyo about 1 hour and 40 minutes. (no transfer). Once you alight at Yugawara, you can take a local bus to various attractions. Of course, you can also take a driving tour by car. Yugawara has been famous for the hot springs mentioned in the Manyoshu from ancient times to the present day, and was a cultural mecca during the Showa era (1926-1989), when many famous Japanese cultural figures visited the area. Let's go and explore what Yugawara has to offer!

Fudo Fall

Get off at Yugawara Station, take the Hakone Mountain Bus and get off at Fudotaki Stop, and you will find the way to the waterfall on your right hand side. Although this waterfall is small in size but it is rich in water and has a drop of 15m, making it one of the "Five Great Waterfalls" in the Yugawara area. On the left side of the waterfall, there is a substitute Fudo and on the right side of the waterfall, there is a reincarnation of Daikoku. As for the cultural connection of Fudo Falls, Natsume Soseki, a literary writer of the Meiji era (1868-1912), stayed at Amanoya near this waterfall for treatment of rheumatism. Therefore, Natsume Soseki wrote about the main character's visit to Fudo Fall in his literary work "Bright and Dark", which was serialized in the Asahi Shinbun.

Yugawara Museum of Art

Photo from Yugawara Museum of Art
Photo from Yugawara Museum of Art

Opened in 1998, the Yugawara Museum of Art is a museum converted from a long-established Japanese traditional ryokan called Amanoya. This is the same Amanoya where Natsume Soseki stayed, as introduced earlier. The museum collects various works of art related to Yugawara, including works by various painters such as Seiho Takeuchi, a modern Japanese master painter, Sotaro Yasui, and Katsumi Miyake, a Western oil painter. The aforementioned Seiho Takeuchi and Sotaro Yasui visited Amanoya several times and finally settled here(*The place where Soseki Natsume and Sotaro Yasui once lived has now been deconstructed.). The painting "Scenery of Red Bridge" (1954), which is now exhibited in the museum, is a view from the window of this house after Sotaro Yasui moved there. However, it was late autumn when the painting was started, and by early summer of the following year, the "red bridge" was already covered with dense green leaves. Also, The garden next to the museum offers a view of the four seasons, so if you have a chance to visit Yugawara,  be sure to stop by and take a look at this museum.

MUSEUM CAFE and garden

Photo from MUSEUM CAFE and garden
Photo from MUSEUM CAFE and garden

This restaurant is located in the garden inside the Yugawara Museum of Art.. The restaurant was founded by a local tofu shop - 12 An. It offers customers seating inside and outside, and a footbath outside to warm up and relax your feet after sightseeing. The menu is also unique, with many dishes made with soybeans and soymilk. You can try the recommended "Yugawara 12 An Soymilk Soup Set Meal (1,300 yen)," which is a plate made with soymilk as the centerpiece. You can dine while enjoying the view of the garden and the outdoor footbath. (Footbath seating is limited).

TIVOLI Sweets Factory

TIVOLI Sweets Factory is a café that offers a variety of sweets, tea, coffee and other beverages. You can also purchase a variety of sweets boxes for souvenirs. The concept of the store is "a sweets factory where you can enjoy with your five senses", and the store has not only a café but also a "snack-making experience corner" and a "mini factory tour" where both adults and children can have fun. The store also has tables and chairs where guests can sit and enjoy the sweets purchased in the cafe. If you come here, don't forget to try the puffs here. The puffs come in two flavors, a vanilla flavor and a flavor that uses Yugawara oranges, which is both delicious and refreshing.

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