Hagi's westernmost end is bounded on three sides by the sea. This large, lovely park contains the Hagi-jo ruins and Hana-no-e Teahouse. Hagi-jo was one of many castles destroyed by the Meiji government around 1874 for being an embarrassing symbol of backward ways. The dramatic seaside location, with its stupendous mountain backdrop, must have made the castle a truly superb sight in its day, but alas, we can only imagine, since the walls and moats are all that remain.
The Hana-no-e Teahouse is a bare-bones oasis of Zen, set amid meditative gardens and judiciously pruned greenery. The attendants make the classic, slightly bitter matcha tea (¥500) for you while you reflect on the transient nature of life—or consider where you'd like to go next.
Mori House, south of the park, is a long narrow building once home to samurai foot soldiers in the late 18th century. The rooms are sparse and placed one next to the other. This arrangement allowed the soldiers to leap into rank-and-file assembly just outside at a moment's notice.
O-aza Horiuchi, Hagi, Yamaguchi-ken, 758-0057, Japan