How to plan your trip to Hagi, a former castle town with several UNESCO sites

How to plan your trip to Hagi, a former castle town with several UNESCO sites


2020.08.05

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

How to plan your trip to Hagi, a former castle town with several UNESCO sites

The city of Hagi in Yamaguchi Prefecture was once home to the Hagi Castle, which belonged to the Mori samurai clan. During the late feudal period, it served an important role in overthrowing the Tokugawa Shogunate, which resulted in the Meiji Restoration. Five of the city's sites, including Hagi Castle Town, earned recognition as "Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution". Here's a guide to this historic town, so read on and plan your trip to Hagi!

  • 01

    Hagi Meiringakusha

    Begin your trip by visiting Hagi Meiringakusha, which offers basic information about the region within an old elementary school building. The entrance-free visitor center features souvenir shops and restaurants while also hosting an exhibition of old classrooms. The second building requires a small admission fee but offers insight into Hagi's historic role in the Meiji Restoration, as well as the significance of the city’s five UNESCO sites. Hagi Meiringakusha can be directly accessed by the Super Hagi bus from JR Shin-Yamaguchi Station.

    Hagi Meiringakusha

    Hagi Meiringakusha

    Hagi Meiringakusha

    Hagi Meiringakusha

    Hagi Meiringakusha

    Hagi Meiringakusha

    Hagi Meirin Gakusha
    rating

    4.0

    79 Reviews
    place
    Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Emukai 602
    phone
    0838210304
    opening-hour
    9:00-17:00 [Restaurant] 11:0…
  • 02

    Hagi Reverberatory Furnace

    Hagi's circular hop-on bus is the perfect way to explore the city and costs just 100 yen per ride. Starting at the Hagi City Hall, two different bus routes (west and east bound) run every 30 minutes. The Hagi Reverberatory Furnace is five minutes’ walk from the Hagi Seamart bus stop and is one of the city’s designated UNESCO sites. This furnace was constructed in 1856 for the pilot production of iron cannons in an attempt to strengthen Hagi Domain's coastal defenses.

    Hagi Reverberatory Furnace

    Hagi Reverberatory Furnace

    Hagi Reverberatory Furnace
    place
    Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki East 4897-7
  • 03

    Shoin Shrine

    The Shoin Shrine enshrines Yoshida Shoin, a local scholar and advocate of the anti-shogunate system. He's also known as the principal of the Shoka Sonjuku school, which can be found within the compound, with this private academy offering studies in Western technology. Many graduates of this school (including the first prime minister of Japan, Ito Hirofumi) contributed to the industrialization of Japan. The Shoin Shrine also houses two museums dedicated to Yoshida Shoin where you can learn about his life and teachings - the Homotsuden treasure hall and the Rekishikan history museum (limited English information).

    If you want to try your luck, you can buy a small umbrella-shaped fortune slip. It is said that bad luck can be prevented when you leave the fortune behind, so you'll see plenty of colorful fortune slips tied to the bushes. Even if you don’t buy one yourself, you can still admire the colorful umbrellas that decorate the bushes.

    Shoin Shrine

    Shoin Shrine

    Shoin Shrine

    Shoin Shrine

    Shoin Shrine

    Shoin Shrine

    Shoin Shrine

    Shoin Shrine

    Shoin Shrine

    Shoin Shrine

    Shoin Shrine
    rating

    4.0

    340 Reviews
    place
    Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Tsubaki East 1537
    phone
    0838224643
    opening-hour
    8:00-17:00
  • 04

    Kimono Style Café

    Before or after your visit to the Shoin Shrine, take time to explore the city on foot. Hagi is filled with cozy cafes, so you can easily take a tea break somewhere along the way. Set in a former samurai residence, the Kimono Style Cafe provides a relaxing setting for enjoying scrumptious matcha sweets. During the summertime, you can also try their seasonal sweets made using locally grown tangerines.
    The Kimono Style Cafe also offers a packaged rental kimono and yukata service for men and women (prices start at 3,980 yen). After selecting your favorite pattern from their 100 outfits, the veteran staff will help you dress appropriately. Their package includes all the essentials, such as an obi belt, padding, zori sandals and undergarments, so you can come empty-handed. The Kimono Style Cafe rents kimonos on a day-to-day basis, so you can enjoy walking around the city all day in your traditional outfit.

    Kimono Style Café

    Kimono Style Café

    Kimono Style Café

    Kimono Style Café

    Kimono Style Café
    rating

    4.0

    9 Reviews
    place
    Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Gofukumachi 2-39
    phone
    0838217000
    opening-hour
    9:00-18:00
  • 05

    Hagi Castle Town

    Filled with beautifully preserved residences once belonging to the upper-class samurai and merchants, Hagi Castle Town is one of the city’s five designated UNESCO sites. The Kikuya Residence once belonged to an affluent merchant family of the same name. Featuring black and white-patterned Namako Walls, this residence is a perfect spot to admire Hagi’s traditional architecture. Visitors can also enjoy the family's personal collections, which are showcased throughout the house.
    When you visit the Horiuchi district near the ruins of Hagi Castle, you will encounter Horiuchi Kaimagari street with its 90-degree turns and high walls. This unique street design was one of the strategies employed by the Hagi Domain to protect from invaders.

    Hagi Castle Town

    Hagi Castle Town

    Hagi Castle Town

    Hagi Castle Town

    Kikuya Yokocho
    place
    Yamaguchi Pref. Hagishi Gofukumachi -Minamikore Town
    phone
    0838251750
    opening-hour
    Free walking
  • 06

    An ancient town with historical significance

    As a former castle town and the birthplace of several Meiji Restoration heroes, Hagi is blessed with a variety of historical sightseeing spots. There is plenty more to see and experience in Hagi, including the Jidai Festival (which features a daimyo feudal lord's procession), traditional Hagi-yaki pottery and onsen hot springs. So get ready for your Hagi trip and embrace this lovely town!

    An ancient town with historical significance

    An ancient town with historical significance

    Hagi
    place
    Yamaguchi Pref

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