Yufuin is virtually synonymous with hot springs, billowing steam and utter relaxation. That picture takes on an especially romantic quality in winter, when the town peeks out from snow-decked mountains and visitors from around Japan covet the luxury of its steaming, fragrant spas. But Yufuin is worth visiting in summer too, when artistic events cloak the town in a rather different mantle. First on the calendar is July’s Yufuin Music Festival. Begun as a starlit concert in 1975 on the initiative of music fans and Yufuin’s tourism board, the festival has won growing acclaim for its classical music program. It’s a relaxed event when Yufuin’s public halls and hotel foyers become intimate venues for piano, harpsichord, and other performances. More cultural offerings await the visitor in August, when the Yufuin Film Festival kicks off. This event is one of Japan’s oldest film festivals, a full five days of classic and contemporary films selected to fit a particular theme. Public forums with film screenwriters, directors and actors add to the event’s appeal. Although both festivals have a laid-back and homemade feel, accommodation is notoriously scarce throughout the period. Be sure to reserve early. Why not plan a visit, and enjoy a new facet of Yufuin’s manifold seasonal attractions?