Building bridges old and new
The departure point for Kyushu and Korea, Yamaguchi bridges the urban and rural, the traditional and modern.
At the western tip of Honshu, Yamaguchi Prefecture is the last point on the main island before you reach idyllic Kyushu and Okinawa’s tropical island paradise. You can literally walk to Kyushu from Yamaguchi, a gateway between Japan and South Korea, offering a daily ferry service to and from Busan.
Bordered by both the rural San-in and the industrialized San-yo coastlines, Yamaguchi was once seen as an alternative capital to Kyoto and played a significant part in ending Japan’s shogun rule.
Functioning as the prefectural capital, Yamaguchi City has multiple temples and shrines to fill up a whole day. Yamaguchi Daijingu shrine is one of the only shrines in the country that was not influenced by Chinese architecture. The purely wooden shrine was built in honor of the Sun God Amaterasu. While exploring the city, it’s not unusual to come across buildings built in Taisho-style architecture. The former Yamaguchi Prefectural Office Building remains an example of this style.
For train fanatics, head over to JR Shin-Yamaguchi station (Yamaguchi) or Tsuwano Station to ride a steam engine train that makes its way through the scenic countryside for 500 yen.
Nearby Yamaguchi City, tourists can go to Akiyoshidai plateau to see limestone pillars sticking up through the ground like rocky weeds, as well as the largest limestone cave in Japan at Akiyoshido underneath.
History-buffs should head to historic Hagi City to see the origins of the Meiji Restoration. Drop by Hagi Station, which is a train station that dates back to 1925. The exterior itself resembles a more western atmosphere.
However, Higashi-Hagi Station may be a better option to jumpstart your tour of the town. Bike rentals are readily available for tourists who want to visit the various Samurai quarters and castle ruins that make up the town’s picturesque streets. Hagi is also famous for pottery which you can try making at the local craft center.
Kintaikyo Bridge and Iwakuni Castle
One of the prefecture’s major attractions is the arched Kintaikyo Bridge located near Iwakuni Castle, a reconstructed copy of the original five-arched construction built in 1673.
The original bridge was built to symbolize the western region of Honshu as well as deflect enemies who wished to cross the Nishigawa River. It’s the most popular cherry blossom viewing spot in Yamaguchi.
Plan your trip to Yamaguchi with the locations below!