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Region - Yamaguchi
Explore history in the charming old townscapes of Hagi, and learn about the region’s significance in the birth of modern Japan
Stay in a scenic coastal village, experience the relaxed pace of traditional life by the sea, and feast on some of the best seafood in Japan
Enjoy uplifting walks in a variety of beautiful landscapes including undulating mountains, forested gorges, rugged coasts, and islands
Marvel at the variety of artistic styles at local pottery studios and try your own hand at creating your unique piece
Discover hidden gems such as the elegant five-storeyed pagoda of Rurikoji temple in Yamaguchi City
Yamaguchi Prefecture, located at the westernmost end of Honshu, is a laid-back region dominated by peaceful rural scenery, gently rising mountains, and scenic coastlines dotted with fishing ports. The unassuming air today belies Yamaguchi’s significance throughout Japanese history. Dan-no-Ura in the Kanmon Strait separating Honshu from Kyushu was the site of the final battle between the Minamoto and Taira clans in 1185—one of the most significant battles of Medieval Japan. During the 19th century, Yamaguchi produced many of the revolutionaries responsible for ending the Tokugawa Shogunate’s rule and establishing the pro-Westernisation Meiji Government—paving the way for Japan’s rise as a modern industrial nation.
Together with neighbouring northern Kyushu, Yamaguchi has been on the cultural and political crossroads connecting Japan with the Asian mainland since prehistoric times. The result has been an enriched regional culture that fuses elements from neighbouring regions of Japan and Asia. For example, the renowned Hagi ceramics, popularly regarded among the three greatest ceramic traditions of Japan, has Korean origins. The northern Yamaguchi Prefecture facing the Sea of Japan has much in common with the San’in region, including its mining history and the tradition of Tatara steel making. Surrounded on three sides by the sea, the Yamaguchi cuisine features some of the best and most diverse seafood available in Japan, including the (in)famous fugu or the poisonous pufferfish.
Like much of the San’in region, Yamaguchi Prefecture remains largely unknown on the mainstream international tourism scene. The region boasts several established tourist destinations, including historic Hagi with its old townscapes and ceramic studios, the busy port city of Shimonoseki on the Kanmon Strait, and the regional city of Iwakuni famous for the elegant Kintaikyo Bridge. However, mainstream tourists often visit these destinations as a side-trip from the better-known attractions in adjacent regions, e.g. Hiroshima and Miyajima, therefore missing out on the variety of experiences Yamaguchi offers.
Yamaguchi is a perfect destination for those who prefer a more measured pace of travel away from the tourist crowds. Stay in one of the many coastal villages, where life continues more or less as it has for centuries, and feast on freshly caught seafood. Take an invigorating day-hike, whether it is along the rugged northern coast carved by the relentless waves in the Sea of Japan, or in one of the many river gorges in the densely forested mountains. Relive the dramatic history of Yamaguchi, as you explore the mud-walled streets of Hagi’s Samurai residence districts, or retrace historic trails through the verdant countryside. Yamaguchi’s gentle landscapes has a soothing effect, and the warm character of the locals will undoubtedly make your travel experience a memorable one.