Known for its cultural richness, beautiful landscapes, stunning pagodas, and unique architecture, Yamaguchi Prefecture is perfect for anyone seeking a fulfilling trip. With its wealth of historic sites and castles, a Yamaguchi holiday will leave you recharged, ready to get back to the grind once back home. Time passes a little slower here; so, it’s your chance to stop and smell the flowers.
Reasons to visit Yamaguchi Prefecture
From the samurai history of Iwakuni and the charming Japanese architecture in the old castle town of Hagi to the fascinating, arched Kintaikyo Bridge and interesting fugu delicacies, Yamaguchi is like a striking art work with various textures.
Enjoy the spiritual calmness of Shōin Shrine at Hagi or the buzzing atmosphere at Shimonoseki. Yamaguchi Prefecture is also home to the eminent Ruriko Temple Five-Story Pagoda and the enchanting Akiyoshi Limestone Cave. While you are in Yamaguchi, don’t forget to indulge in some Kawara soba (hot tile noodles), a local dish prepared by frying noodles on a hot tile and serving them topped with stewed beef, a fried egg, onions, and grilled liver.
Things to do at Yamaguchi
This architectural masterpiece is a ‘must-see’. Built in 1673 over the Nishiki River, this wooden bridge has five arches. It has been declared a national treasure due to its unique architecture, grand appearance, and historical importance. Kintaikyo is around 190m long and 5m wide. With each season, the beautiful backdrop of the bridge changes, making it a delightful sight year-round.
On April 29 each year, residents celebrate the Kintaikyo Bridge festival to thank their ancestors for building the bridge. The bridge is also the venue for other vibrant festivals such as the Nishiki River Water Festival (held on the first Saturday in August) and Cormorant fishing (from June-August).
Tickets: 300 yen per person. Timings: 8am-5pm
A white-sand beach, turquoise waters, a never-ending bridge, and a modern lighthouse – what’s not to love! Tsunoshima is a picturesque island in the Sea of Japan. The sparsely populated island is a tourist magnet due the convenience of swimming and camping there. Tsunoshima is home to Tsunoshima Lighthouse, which has become a symbol of the island. Apart from the lighthouse, there is a park and a small museum for you to visit on the island.
Relax on the Tsunoshima beach or head to the lush-green Makizaki Point for some amazing views. The Tsunoshima Bridge, connecting the island to Houhoku Town, is quite famous, having made appearances in many films and television shows. While you are on the island, make sure you check out some pretty spider lilies. You will carry back some beautiful photos and a joyful heart.
3. Ruriko Temple Five-Story Pagoda
Tranquil, solemn, and serene – that’s this temple for you. Built in 1400s, Ruriko Temple Five-Story Pagoda is one of the most beautiful five-story pagodas in Japan. Its impressive architecture and majestic image is bound to leave you amazed. The surrounding ponds, mountain, and Japanese garden only enhance the splendor of the pagoda.
The temple is conveniently located around 2.5kms away from Yamaguchi Station and has no entry fees. The pagoda is stunning both during the day and particularly at night, when it’s lit. There is also a tiny but informative museum near the temple. Make sure you grab a bite at traditional Japanese restaurants and ice cream shops.
4. Akiyoshidai Kokutei Kōen
If you are seeking to add a bit of adventure to your leisurely trip to Yamaguchi Prefecture, visit Akiyoshidai. This quasi-national park has hundreds of limestone caves, the highlight being Akiyoshidō, the country’s longest cave. The best part? You can actually walk inside the cave for around a kilometer (the total cave length is around 9kms)!
Another interesting place to visit is the Akiyoshidai Plateau. It is the largest karst plateau in the country. Visiting the quasi-national park is a delight in any season. Don’t forget to shop for some delicious sweet pears that grow here on your way back.
Stepping into Hagi is like stepping back in time. While the whole of Japan was focusing on growth, development, and advancements in technology and infrastructure, Hagi was concentrating on retaining its traditions and castles. This old castle town is a unique experience in itself right in the middle of a developed nation like Japan. Secluded, calm and still holding the strong feudal flavour, Hagi is known for temples and pottery.
Find serenity at the Tokoji temple or Daishoin temple where many of the Mori Clan lords were buried, or walk around Aiba Waterway enjoying the pretty canals and traditional residences.
Buy some Hagiyaki Pottery while you are there. Check out the ruins of the iconic Hagi castle or climb up Mount Kasayama for great views of the Sea of Japan. Hagi will not let you get bored for a minute, we promise.
Interesting facts about Yamaguchi
- In 1552, the first Christmas mass in Japan was held in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
- Hagi was the capital of the Mori Clan, one of the most powerful clans of ancient Japan.
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