Yufuin, my favorite spot (No.2) tea room "Budou-ya" in Tamanoyu hotel

March 1, 1996

One day in early March, I went to Yufuin to pick up spring. Yufuin was decorated in the flower of ice frost down to the foothill, it snowed last night. The wind, however, touches my cheeks gently not by sticking chilliness but by the faint warmth of the sun.

Tamano-yu, one of the most famed Japanese style inn, stands quietly in a yet winter colored thicket. Clear water runs in the winding small stream along the natural stone paved path, leading to the entrance hall. On the trench of the stream, butterbur flower have already spread tiny round leaves.

In the coldness of Yufuin.....oh, yes, it is hot spring water that runs in the stream. I can't see such a snapshot nowhere else than Yufuin, the most abundant hot spring next only to Beppu and Kusatsu comes up. Today, I enjoyed a lunch at Budou-ya restaurant of Tamano-yu(literally means "crystal hot spring") inn. Flower pots full of pansy are arranged at the water sprinkled entrance hall. Above it, Japanese apricot flower in full broom hangs over to make a shade. Hot spring steam swirls around my feet.

We are guided to a table viewing the terrace through the window. The height of a round low table eases the relaxation atmosphere much deeper. In the green house-like room, quiet sound of classic music gently touches my ear tabs. Here and there are flower pots of miniature rose, anemone, and sweet pea to make my heart full open toward spring.

Chestnut trees stretch their naked branches unbound into the blue sky. It does not show the loneliness of winter any more but indicates already full of potential power just before the budding.

Throughout the branch, I see Mt. Yufu just like a noble lady in veil. Today's menu is a specialty available only in this season, "Hinazen" or "Girls' Festival Dish". The center of rape blossoms, Japanese parsley, butterbur flower stalk, Japanese pepper tree, and green peas bring the scent of spring. The Bungo steak is tender, original chicken tastes responsive on wine. Artistically decorated "Chirashi" sushi deters me to pick it up by the chopsticks, yet I really enjoyed the "Hina" spring delicacy.

Mrs. Kiyoko Mizoguchi, the land-lady of Tamano-yu, always in smile, kindly gives me a greeting saying "Please enjoy after lunch tea in another room". Passing through the corridor where a set of antique "Hina" dolls is displayed, I come out to the front to meet Mrs. Izumi, the junior land-lady, who is busy to get things done efficiently through the phone.

I enjoy lemon sherbet at the one step elevated tea room. The full area of the side wall is designed as the book stand. On the shelves, a lot of picture books and fairly tales that might have been read by Izumi in her early childhood, are casually but carefully arranged. I take them up to browse and occasionally look the patio outside.

Yes, I remember, when I was invited to a mini-concert one day in the last year, a big vase was placed in the patio and splendid "fall" was arranged in it. The lawn of the patio is still brown in color but here, you see, tiny crocuses are already shyly blooming.

I've found spring. I imagine to sit back on the chair in the terrace under the flickering sun shine through the verdure of chestnut foliage.

Yufuin Tamanoyu hotel "Budou-ya" Tel:0977-84-2158, Fax:0977-85-4179