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During the Edo Period (1603-1867), Hagi prospered as a castle town and served as the capital of the Mori Clan, one of the most powerful clans of the time. Mori lords governed present Yamaguchi (then known as Choshu) for more than 250 years and played a central role in the Meiji Restoration (1868). The lord, his family and his closest retainers resided in the castle, while the samurai, craftsmen and merchants lived and worked east of it.

Having avoided major disasters since the Edo Period, the basic town plan of Hagi has survived to this day. Although only the ruins of Hagi Castle remain, some streets in the downtown area are beautifully preserved, lined by white walls from the feudal age, former samurai mansions and merchant quarters. Several of the mansions and other places of interest such as museums and temples are open to the public:

Old Residences

Kikuya Residence

Hours: 8:30 to 17:30 (entry until 17:15)
Closed: December 31
Admission: 600 yen
The Kikuya family was a samurai turned merchant family who is well-regarded for their past contributions to Hagi and its people. The Kikuya Residence is the most outstanding of all the old residences in the former castle town, and it features some pretty avant garde interior designing for a building with an approximately 350 year history. One example is a room which has sliding doors that are able to turn corners, enabling it to be totally exposed to the garden outside.

Kubota Residence

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 100 yen (Kubota Residence only), 310 yen (combination ticket including eight other residences)
The Kubota Residence is about 200 years old and belonged to a family in the kimono and sake business. The spacious house has a large kitchen and multiple tatami mat rooms separated by sliding doors that can be opened to join rooms into large spaces. Old tools and lamps from the late Edo Period (1603-1867) to the Meiji Period (1868-1912) are exhibited.

Kido Takayoshi Residence

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 100 yen (Kido Residence only), 310 yen (combination ticket including eight other residences)
This was the birth house of Kido Takayoshi, an influential Japanese statesman who helped to bring about the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The house is about 250 years old and has a small garden, where an over 300 year old pine tree stands.

Museums

Hagi Museum

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Closed: No closing days (except one unscheduled day in early September)
Admission: 510 yen
This well designed museum features maps of past and present Hagi, as well as dioramas of the castle town. It recounts the history of famous locals such as Yoshida Shoin. There are also exhibits about the region's agriculture, marine life and geography. Moderate English information is available.

Kumaya Art Museum

Hours: 9:00 to 16:00
Closed: Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (following day if it is a national holiday) and New Year holidays
Admission: 700 yen
The museum consists of several old storehouses, which lend it a nostalgic atmosphere. Exhibits include ink paintings and calligraphy, a tea bowls, antiques, folding screens, old coins, and the only piano brought into Japan during the Edo Period.

Hagi Uragami Museum

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Closed: Mondays (following day if Mon is a national holiday) and New Year holidays
Admission: 300 yen (permanent collection), separate fee for temporary exhibitions
Housed in a modern building, the Hagi Uragami Museum showcases interesting contemporary art and good permanent collections of Hagiyaki Pottery and ukiyo-e (Japanese woodblock prints). Temporary exhibitions on varying themes are also hosted.

Hagiyaki Pottery Museum

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 500 yen
This small museum is located on the second floor of a souvenir shop selling Hagiyaki Pottery. Valuable works of Hagiyaki, mostly from the 1600s, are on exhibit. The museum stands just outside the entrance gates of the Hagi Castle Ruins.

Others

Hagi Castle Ruins

Hours: 8:00 to 18:30 (8:30 to 16:30 from Nov to Feb, 8:30 to 18:00 in Mar)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 210 yen
Ruins of the former Hagi Castle are located in what is now Shizuki Park, at the northwestern tip of the city. Not much of the castle is left today - only some moats, castle walls and stone foundations survive.

Enseiji Temple

Hours: 8:00 to 17:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 200 yen
Enseiji is a rare extant example of a temple and a shrine coexisting at a single location. This coexistence used to be common until Shinto and Buddhism were forcefully separated during the Meiji Period. On the temple grounds visitors can inspect a large stone lantern with movable stands to withstand earthquakes. Japan's first prime minister, Ito Hirobumi, learned reading and calligraphy here when he was a child.

Kikugahama Beach

Closed: No closing days
Admission: Free
This pleasant sand beach is located at the foot of the Hagi Castle Ruins. Relax on the beach while enjoying views of the sea and the nearby 143 meter tall Mount Shizuki.

Access

The former castle town is about two kilometers from Higashi-Hagi Station. From the station it can be reached in about ten minutes by bicycle or about 30 minutes on foot. It can also be accessed by the "Maru Bus" buses.

How to get to and around Hagi

Page last updated: November 11, 2016