According to "Bungo Fudoki"(A.D.733), an ancient record of the natural environment of old Oita, the name of hot springs in Beppu area like "Blood bath Hell" or "Sea Monster Hell" were appeared. It seems that hot springs in Yufuin area share their volcanic heat sources, such as Mt.Yufu and Mt.Tsurumi, with those of Beppu. But no clear evidence on Yufuin is recorded at all.
Folklore tells us that, in an unknown time, a traveling monk found "Dream Spa" by oracle of St.Kobo, or a Bodhisattva of guardian deity of the people, made a miracle to spring up a hot spa of "Domoto." Another hot spa called "Yunotsubo" was inspired by Buddhism St.Yakushi Nyorai. It is interesting that there are many Buddhism-related folklore in Yufuin. Those spas were used only by local residents. Yunotsubo spa has been crowded by many visitors since Edo era.
It was Beppu spa, however, that has been prominently thriving since early twenty century. In Meiji and Taisho years when Beppu continued its prosper, there was a man called Kumahachi Aburaya. He built cottages in Yufuin as the back resort of Beppu to invite VIPs and guests from abroad successively and founded the base of Yufuin.
Since then a trans-Kyushu road(Mountain route) was constructed from Beppu to Nagasaki and offered an easy access to Yufuin today.