5 Best Sights in Hagi, Western Honshu

Akiyoshido Cave

This otherworldly limestone cavern, one of Japan's largest, lies halfway between Hagi and Yamaguchi. Although the cavern is roughly 6 miles long, only a bit less than a mile is open to the public. The path is easily accessible and lighted just enough for you to marvel at the size, but dim enough to retain a sense of wonder and mystery. Although droves of tour groups can ruin the atmosphere on weekend mornings, they have mostly cleared out by the afternoon.

The Akiyoshi Plain above the cave is a beautiful limestone karst, and makes for a pleasant spring or autumn hike. The observatory (accessible by elevator from the cave) offers impressive views in every season. If you plan to cross from the San'in to the Sanyo region, stopping a couple of hours at Akiyoshido Cave is highly recommended. Buses run from Shin-Yamaguchi Station to Akiyoshido Cave in around 45 minutes.

Hagi Tamachi Shopping Arcade

Central Hagi

This is the busiest street in Hagi, with some 130 shops selling local products from Yamaguchi Prefecture. The shopping mood is addictive, the wares gorgeous, and the shopkeepers friendly, so your money can go quickly. The arcade is halfway between Hagi Station and Higashi-Hagi Station.

Horiuchi

This is the old samurai section of town. From Shizuki Koen, cross the canal (on the middle bridge) to the east side, and head toward downtown. The tomb of Tenju-in is a memorial to Terumoto Mori, who in the early 16th century founded the tenacious clan that ruled the Choshu area for 13 generations. Next you come to the Outer Gate of Mori; the Toida Masuda House Walls are on your right as you head south. Dating from the 18th century, these are the longest mud walls in the area. At the next chance, turn right and head west to the ancient, wooden Fukuhara Gate.

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Senshunraku Jōzan Pottery Studio

Horiuchi

Stop in at this pottery studio near Shizuki Koen, perhaps the best place to browse through and purchase magnificent pottery. Usually you are welcome to enter the studios and see the kilns across the street every day. Classes for a chance to make your own may be available. Bicycles can be rented here as well.

37--1 Horiuchi, Hagi, 758-0057, Japan
0838-25–1666

Shizuki Park

Hagi's westernmost end is bounded on three sides by the sea. This large, lovely park contains the ruins of Hagi Castle and Hana-no-e Teahouse. Hagi Castle 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.

1--1 Horiuchi, Hagi, 758-0057, Japan
0838-25--1826
Sight Details
Rate Includes: ¥220, includes admission to Hagi Castle Ruins Area, Hana-no-e Teahouse, and Mori House