Hagi (Yamaguchi Prefecture)
The Yamaguchi Prefecture town of Hagi thrived during the Edo period (1603-1867), when it was home to the formidable Mori Clan which played a major role in 1868’s Meiji Restoration (the return to the throne of the Japanese emperor). Hagi’s castle has since been reduced to mere ruins, but the downtown district’s former samurai mansions, as well as the workshops of the merchants who enjoyed some trickle-down wealth from the warrior class, are very much intact with the former retaining their original splendor. Several temples are also located in this quarter, along with a couple of small museums. A rickshaw tour makes a great way to zip around this history-steeped location.