Tuesday, Sept. 19 
Yufuin Youth Hostel 
  We followed signs to the train station in Yufuin and got directions to the youth hostel. The last kilometer was a very steep hill, the steepest of the whole trip. Our reward was that Yufuin Youth Hostel was the nicest of the whole trip -- clean and modern, with polished hardwood floors,  a luxurious family bath, fresh new linens, inviting common rooms and a friendly staff. It used to be a ryokan (inn) and became a hostel about four years ago.
Yufuin Youth Hostel
Western toilet,
with bonus features
  After a bath we walked down the monster hill toward Lake Kinrin -- a quaint tourist area with lots of art galleries and gift shops around a tiny lake -- and found a fancy restaurant called Yunotake-An. We ordered a set dinner of "fish and vegetable dishes" that turned out to include raw beef (quite tasty), sushi, pickled vegetables and salads, a cooked trout, a vegetable stew with rice, miso soup and more. We hadn't seen desserts anywhere else (except for a lot of ice cream stands that seemed only to have soft-serve vanilla), so we tried some just to see what they were. One was slippery cold clear noodles in a brown sugar sauce (very difficult to manage with chopsticks), and the other was chewy rice things in sweet red bean paste. This was our most expensive meal in Japan, about $84 for the two of us. 
  By the time we walked back up the monster hill, I was too tired to talk. 
Yufuin Youth Hostel