You're Not Going to Japan AGAIN?

Dec 16th, 2014, 02:41 PM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 774
I spent 7 full days (9 nights) on Shikoku in April this year. Two more days would have been good. I used a Shikoku Pass and also rented a car for one day to see the Iya Valley.

Not strictly Shikoku, but I very much enjoyed visiting Oyamazumi on Omishima (by bus from Imabari).

Haji? Do you mean Hagi? If you are interested in the Meiji revolutionaries from there (the Choshu Five), then you could also check out the places in Kyushu associated with the Satsumas (e..g., excellent museum in Kagoshima).

I too am planning to visit Kyushu on my next trip. I've found that domestic flights in Japan are a very good deal if you have airline miles (e.g., TYO-FUK is 4,500 BA Avios and every flight is available).

Some off-beat items I intend to seek out in Kyushu: Tsujunkyo bridge (Google for images), the Moai (Easter Island heads) at Sun Messe.

As a movie lover, you might want to see "Ask This of Rikyu" (I watched it with English subtitles on a United flight).
someotherguy is offline  
Dec 17th, 2014, 09:11 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If you mean Hagi, then: why Hagi?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Dec 17th, 2014, 11:28 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Assuming you refer to Hagi in Yamaguchi Pref., it is hard to access from what I have read although it sounds interesting....historic district, famous pottery....
Mara is offline  
Dec 17th, 2014, 01:35 PM
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Hagi, along with other sites along the San'in coast such as the Izumo Shrine and the city of Matsue, is a fascinating place to visit. Much more interesting IMO than many of the places regularly advocated here. As well as being interesting, they are seldom visited by westerners so you get very nice treatment and the satisfaction of feeling like an explorer.

A bit of history: by the 1850s, Japan had been isolated from the rest of the world under the Tokugawa Shogunate for nearly 200 years. They knew something of the West through the Dutch traders cooped up in Dejima (Nagasaki) and the English at Hirado.

The most outward looking clans were those in the West: the Mori in Choshu (Hagi) and the Shimazu in Satsuma (Kagoshima) and some of their number argued that if Japan did not learn and adopt some of the skills of the West, they would be colonized like the rest of Asia (Perry's black ships were a wakeup call). The most prominent of these was Yoshida Shoin who set up a school in Hagi teaching these ideas. He also led an active revolt and was imprisoned and later executed.

Some young people were inspired by his message and smuggled themselves on board a ship in Nagasaki (under pain of death) and went to England where they enrolled at London University.

These were the Choshu Five. On their return, these became leaders of the Meiji Restoration--the revolution (Boshin war) that overthrew the shogunate (Meiji was the boy emperor they used as their figurehead): one became Prime Minister, one became Foreign Minister, one became Minister of Works and also set up technical education in Japan, one set up the railways, and the fifth ran the central bank. In a similar fashion, 14 Satsumas went to London and made comparable contributions. (I have a memory that I cannot verify that one of them went to California and became a grapegrower.)

There's an excellent open air shrine and museum to these guys in Hagi: the Shoin Shrine. It has his schoolhouse and two of the houses of Ito Hirobumi (the one who became Prime Minister).

Hagi castle was destroyed (as were most castles in Japan) by the revolutionaries as relics of feudalism but it is a pleasant place to visit, and there is a notable samurai quarter. There is also a really fine temple Tokoji with 500 lanterns.

I'm writing this from memory, so please double-check my facts if you want to follow up.

There's a similar history in Kagoshima (complicated by a counterrevolution) and similar relics (e.g., the oldest western-style factory in Japan) and museums (the Museum of the Meiji Restoration has an excellent movie about the Satsuma 14). Kagoshima also has an active volcano. And nearby is a museum for the Kamikaze pilots.
someotherguy is offline  
Dec 17th, 2014, 08:52 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I've been to Hagi, really enjoyed my short visit there, and would have liked to stay longer. I had my reasons for going to Hagi and am interested in why the OP hopes to go there. It is not on the way on a Shikoku/Kyushu itinerary, and the OP is a seasoned Japan traveler and so must have a reason for visiting Hagi. Right?
mrwunrfl is offline  
Dec 17th, 2014, 10:36 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 551
someotherguy, you got it in one. I did of course mean Hagi and it sounds interesting. Have checked off most of the "Must-sees" now.

To be truthful, it was on my wish list last trip and I never made it, logistics too tricky. so now it's time.

I did Kagoshima, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Chiran and Ibusuki in 2010 but there's still plenty in Kyushu on my wish list
eigasuki is offline  

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