Hotta is best known as the author of the best-selling manga and anime series Hikaru no Go, about the game of go that is widely credited for the late 90s-2000s boom of the game in Japan. The idea behind Hikaru no Go began when Yumi Hotta played a pick-up game of go with her father-in-law. She thought that it might be fun to create a manga based on this traditional board game, and began the work under the title of Nine Stars (九つの星,Kokonotsu no Hoshi?), named for the nine "star points" on a go board. She later worked with Takeshi Obata (the illustrator) and Yukari Umezawa (5-Dan, the supervisor) in the creation of Hikaru no Go. She won the 2000 Shogakukan Manga Award and the 2003 Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize for Hikaru no Go.
Hotta's husband is Kiyonari Hotta(堀田 清成,Hotta Kiyonari?), another manga artist known for manga about horse-racing. He was also well known as a contributor to the Chunichi Shimbun where he illustrated under the pen name Yumi Hotta (ほった ゆみ,Hotta Yumi?), making the Yumi Hotta name famous even before Hikaru no Go. Although Yumi Hotta was in charge of the Hikaru no Go project, throughout most of the series Yumi Hotta and Kiyonari Hotta worked together as a husband-and-wife team.