Surrounded by water with the Sea of Japan to the north and the Suo-nada Sea to the south, Yamaguchi Prefecture sits in the western corner of Japan’s Honshu island. The prefecture has much to discover from its inland architecture and nature to its coastal towns and abundance of fresh seafood. With the western point of the prefecture just a stone’s throw from Kyushu, an easy day trip to the archipelago’s southern island can be made by boat or even by foot.
Yamaguchi Prefecture has played an important role in the history of Japan which is much to do with its proximity to mainland Asia. One of the first parts of the country to be influenced by Korea and China as well as the former capital Kyoto, Yamaguchi was put on the map and even earned its title as the Kyoto of the West. Centuries later, the northern port city of Hagi found itself at the very centre of the groundbreaking Meiji industrial revolution which saw the mass development of iron and steel use as well as shipbuilding and coal mining.
Located in the centre of the prefecture is its capital Yamaguchi City as well as the city of Hofu which is known as the home of the majestic 10th century Hofu Tenman-gu Shrine. With Shin-Yamaguchi Station found along the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen line, visitors can jump on a direct train from major cities including Hiroshima, Osaka, and Tokyo and arrive in this far-off destination within hours. Every July Yamaguchi City hosts the annual Gion matsuri, a traditional dance-heavy festival inspired by Kyoto’s Gion festival.
Bordering Hiroshima Prefecture, Yamaguchi’s eastern cities include Iwakuni, Yanai, and Shunan. While Iwakuni’s old wooden arched Kintai Bridge is the most iconic of this area’s sites, there are quaint streets, temples, and festivals aplenty spread out around the region. The northern part of the prefecture is home to Hagi and Nagato which look onto the Sea of Japan while the western side is made up of Shimonoseki, Ube, and Akiyoshi-dai Plateau which is one for nature lovers with its expansive walking trails dotted with fascinating rock formations and limestone caves.
The regional cuisine of Yamaguchi is without doubt one of its selling points mainly thanks to its access to the ocean from all sides. The prefecture’s largest city Shimonoseki is reputed for its speciality seafood dish: puffer fish. Known as fugu in Japanese, this rare find may be a little pricey but is guaranteed to be prepared by professional seafood chefs who have gone through special training for making the fish tasty without poisoning its consumers.
Yamaguchi Prefecture Overview
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR