Oita: Popular Horse-Drawn Carriage Tours Restart

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A Tsuji horse-drawn carriage is seen during an event in Yufu, Oita Prefecture, on March 1.

YUFU, Oita — Tsuji horse-drawn carriage tours, a popular attraction in the Yufuin hot spring area of Oita Prefecture, kicked off this year’s services on March 1.

Horse-drawn carriage tours of the countryside with a view of Mt. Yufu started in 1975 and were promoted as a symbol of reconstruction from a damaging earthquake that struck the area.

The hour-long tours cover about 4 kilometers and cost ¥2,200 for adults and ¥1,650 for elementary school students and younger.

An opening event to start this year’s carriage services was held in front of JR Yufuin Station on March 1. Following a safety prayer ceremony, about 60 people, including local preschool children, were given rides in the carriage.

Yufuin is widely known for its hot springs, and its economy was dealt a blow by the coronavirus pandemic.

According to a local tourism association, the area has finally shown signs of recovery over the past six months, and local people are pinning high hopes on the carriage tours, which are popular among hot spring visitors.

The horse-drawn carriages will be in operation through late December with 10 trips a day. Operations may be canceled due to inclement weather or the horses’ physical condition.