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Chugoku Yamaguchi Quiet beaches, gorgeous pottery and samurai history

Travel off the beaten path to the limestone caverns, serene beaches and ancient castle towns in Yamaguchi

Yamaguchi Prefecture is quiet and rural, but has many sites of great historical significance. Hagi, the capital of a major samurai domain, hosts one of the most beautifully preserved castle towns in Japan and a local style of pottery. Yamaguchi is also renowned for stunning scenery, including serene beaches, hidden shrines and Akiyoshido, the largest limestone cave in Japan. The city of Shimonoseki offers some of the country's best seafood at its markets and restaurants, with blowfish a particularly famous local specialty.

How to Get There

Yamaguchi is easily reached by bullet train from most of Japan's major cities, including Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Hiroshima and Fukuoka. The prefecture is also served by Ube Airport.

Shin-Yamaguchi Station and Shin-Shimonoseki Station are served by the Sanyo Shinkansen line between Osaka and Fukuoka. There are many through trains departing from points east, including Tokyo, as well. You can also fly to Ube Airport from Haneda Airport in Tokyo in around two hours.

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Don’t Miss

  • Exploring the old castle town of Hagi and its five World Heritage sites
  • Shopping for Hagi yaki, the local style of pottery
  • Sampling of Japan’s best seafood at Karato Ichiba market in Shimonoseki
  • Touring the stunning pagoda at Rurikoji Temple before relaxing at Yuda Onsen

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ruriko-ji temple
Yamaguchi City
Shimonoseki Kaikyokan -Shimonoseki City Aquarium

Cherry Blossoms

Forecast of first bloom

24 Mar 2024

Forecast of full bloom

02 Apr 2024

Local Specialties

  • Kawara Soba

    Noodles with powdered green tea kneaded into the dough, kawara soba is served with beef and other toppings atop a heated roof tile. The serving method comes from soldiers in feudal Japan finding ways to heat their food in the aftermath of battle.

  • Yamaguchi Blowfish

    A beautifully arranged dish of fugu, sliced raw blowfish, is the height of Japanese gourmet cuisine. Fugu can be deadly poisonous, so only licensed chefs in Japan may prepare this delicacy.

  • Ouchi Lacquerware

    Ouchi nuri is characterized by its distinctive coloring—the foundation is vermilion, not your typical black. Common motifs include autumn flora and the diamond-patterned Ouchi crest of the region's 14th-century warlord. For centuries, couples have sought out Ouchi bina, lacquered dolls symbolizing wedded bliss.

  • Hagi Ware

    Hagi ware is practical pottery, all about simple forms and textures. Its charm comes from subtle details like the fine cracks, mottling and colors in the glaze. Tea aficionados prize its patina, the effect known as cha-nare that appears as tea slowly stains the stoneware.

  • Akama Inkstones

    The master craftsmen who produce Akama suzuri require no less than three skills: explosives, mining and carving. For over 800 years, calligraphers have preferred Akama inkstones, heavy with quartz and iron, for the way they bring out the color and luster of ink and their stunning designs.


Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    Located at the southwest tip of Honshu, Yamaguchi has some of the earliest-blooming cherry blossoms on the main island. The castle ruins in Hagi City and around Kintaikyo Bridge in Iwakuni are popular blossom viewing spots.

    kikko park
  • Summer

    Its coastal location makes Yamaguchi a major seaside destination. Kikugahama Beach, the cool limestone caverns of Akiyoshido, and local orange ice cream in Hagi are highlights of the summer.

  • Autumn

    Fall at Tokoji Temple in Hagi offers blissful walks amongst stone lanterns and red maple leaves. The brilliant foliage also cuts a swath across Kikko Park in Iwakuni.

    mori garden
  • Winter

    During winter, you can heat up body and soul in Yuda Onsen’s outdoor ashi-yu foot baths, or try steaming kawara soba served on a hot roof tile in downtown Yamaguchi City.

    kintai-kyo bridge

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