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[[Image:Tamae_Hagi.JPG|thumb|350px|Tamae-Kannon]]
 
[[Image:Tamae_Hagi.JPG|thumb|350px|Tamae-Kannon]]
 
===History===
 
===History===
In the Medieval Period, Hagi was dominated by Yoshimi clan, who built a branch castle in Hagi. But it was not until 1608 when Mori clan, the feudal lord of Choshu-han built Hagi Castle at the foot of Mt. Shizuki that Hagi got historical significance. They transferred the capital from [[Hiroshima]] to Hagi at the same time. Hagi had developed as the political center of Choshu-han for over 250 years. When Choshu-han caused the Meiji Restoration in the middle of 19th century, this small city influenced the history of Japan so much. It is no exaggeration to say that Hagi made Japan a modern country. Many Japanese statesmen and Prime Ministers were born and brought up in this city. For example, Hirobumi Ito, the first Japanese Prime Minister, was also born and brought up in Hagi.
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The first castle in Hagi was built by the Yoshimi clan. But it was not until 1608 when the Mori clan, exiled here after a humiliating defeat by the Tokugawa shogunate, established the Choshu Domain (''Choshu-han'') and built the imposing structure now known as Hagi Castle at the foot of Mt. Shizuki. The Mori clan transferred the capital of Choshu from [[Hiroshima]] to Hagi at the same time, where it remained the political center of the region for over 250 years. In the middle of the 19th century, Choshu allied with the Satsuma Domain to deliver some long-awaited payback for Tokugawa, toppling the shogunate and thereby playing a major role in spurring the Meiji Restoration that went on to modernize feudal Japan in rapid fashion. Many future statesmen were born and raised in Hagi, such as Hirobumi Ito, the first Japanese Prime Minister.
  
===Setting===
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===Orientation===
 
[[Image:Hagimapeng.png|thumb|Map]]
 
[[Image:Hagimapeng.png|thumb|Map]]
The center of Hagi is located on a delta between Hashimoto River and Matsumoto River. Before the Edo period, the ground used to be extremely damp and the rulers made Aibagawa watercourse to drain the water off. Hagi city is along the Sea of Japan, and magnificent panorama of the Sea is still left to be seen in the suburbs.
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Hagi is located along the Sea of Japan. The city center is on a delta between the Hashimoto River and the Matsumoto River. The terrain was originally swampy, and the Aibagawa watercourse was built to drain the water off.  
  
 
==Get in==
 
==Get in==
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==Get around==
 
==Get around==
{{infobox|Choshu Five|The Chōshū Five (長州五傑, Chōshū Goketsu) were members of the Chōshū-han of Hagi who studied in [[England]] from 1863 at University College [[London]] under the guidance of Professor Alexander William Williamson. It was still illegal to leave Japan when they left, as ''sakoku'' was still practically in force until the Meiji Restoration.<br>
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{{infobox|Choshu Five|The Chōshū Five (長州五傑 ''Chōshū Goketsu'') were members of the ruling class of the Chōshū-han. In 1863, they disguised themselves as English sailors and went to study in [[England]] at University College London, despite the policy of ''sakoku'', which made leaving Japan illegal under penalty of death. Each would go on to make major contributions to the modernizing of Japan, and they remain heroes in Hagi today.<br>
'''Ito Hirobumi''' - later the first Prime Minister of Japan<br>
+
'''Ito Hirobumi''' - the first Prime Minister of Japan<br>
 
'''Inoue Kaoru''' - the prominent Minster for Foreign Affairs<br>
 
'''Inoue Kaoru''' - the prominent Minster for Foreign Affairs<br>
 
'''Yamao Yozo''' - contributed to the engineering of Japan<br>
 
'''Yamao Yozo''' - contributed to the engineering of Japan<br>
'''Endo Kinsuke''' - later the first head of the new National Mint<br>
+
'''Endo Kinsuke''' - the first head of the new National Mint<br>
 
'''Inoue Masaru''' - known as the "Father of the Japanese Railways"
 
'''Inoue Masaru''' - known as the "Father of the Japanese Railways"
 
}}
 
}}

Revision as of 03:47, 20 May 2009

Hagi (萩) [1] is one of Japan's most beautiful castle towns, with many old streets and residences that have survived untouched to the present day.

Located on the coast of Japan in northwest Yamaguchi, Hagi is also known as the birthplace of several Japanese statesmen who played important roles in Meiji Restoration, and hagi-yaki, a prized form of pottery.

Contents

Understand

Tamae-Kannon

History

The first castle in Hagi was built by the Yoshimi clan. But it was not until 1608 when the Mori clan, exiled here after a humiliating defeat by the Tokugawa shogunate, established the Choshu Domain (Choshu-han) and built the imposing structure now known as Hagi Castle at the foot of Mt. Shizuki. The Mori clan transferred the capital of Choshu from Hiroshima to Hagi at the same time, where it remained the political center of the region for over 250 years. In the middle of the 19th century, Choshu allied with the Satsuma Domain to deliver some long-awaited payback for Tokugawa, toppling the shogunate and thereby playing a major role in spurring the Meiji Restoration that went on to modernize feudal Japan in rapid fashion. Many future statesmen were born and raised in Hagi, such as Hirobumi Ito, the first Japanese Prime Minister.

Orientation

Map

Hagi is located along the Sea of Japan. The city center is on a delta between the Hashimoto River and the Matsumoto River. The terrain was originally swampy, and the Aibagawa watercourse was built to drain the water off.

Get in

By plane

  • Hagi-Iwami Airport (IWJ) [2] has one flight per day from Haneda (Tokyo) and Itami (Osaka) on ANA. Shuttle buses run from the airport to the city (80 minutes).
  • Yamaguchi Ube Airport (UBJ) [3] in Ube is the prefecture's largest airport, with regular flights to Haneda Airport in Tokyo on JAL and ANA (about 90 minutes). From Ube, take a bus to Shin-Yamaguchi Station in Yamaguchi and connect via bus from there (see below).

By train

Hagi Station

The closest shinkansen station is Shin-Yamaguchi in Yamaguchi. Most Hikari and some Nozomi trains stop at Shin-Yamaguchi. From there, the "Hagi-go" (はぎ号) bus will, appropriately enough, go to Hagi. It's run by Chugoku JR Bus [4].

The JR San'in Line runs through Hagi. The main station is JR Higashi-Hagi Station (東萩駅), but the station buildings and streets of Tamae Station (玉江駅) or Hagi Station (萩駅) offer more scenic surroundings.

By bus

The main bus station is Hagi Bus Center (萩バスセンター), which is located in the city center. Buses run from Hiroshima (four hours), Umeda and Abeno-bashi in Osaka by Kintetsu [5] (10 hours), and Shinagawa in Tokyo by Keikyu [6] (14 hours).

Get around

Choshu Five
The Chōshū Five (長州五傑 Chōshū Goketsu) were members of the ruling class of the Chōshū-han. In 1863, they disguised themselves as English sailors and went to study in England at University College London, despite the policy of sakoku, which made leaving Japan illegal under penalty of death. Each would go on to make major contributions to the modernizing of Japan, and they remain heroes in Hagi today.
Ito Hirobumi - the first Prime Minister of Japan
Inoue Kaoru - the prominent Minster for Foreign Affairs
Yamao Yozo - contributed to the engineering of Japan
Endo Kinsuke - the first head of the new National Mint
Inoue Masaru - known as the "Father of the Japanese Railways"


By bus

The red Hagi Junkan Maaru Bus(萩循環まぁーるバス) runs to almost all of the tourist spots. Rides of any length cost only ¥100, or ¥500 for a day pass.

By train

If you need to go to Hagi's suburbs along the Sea, you can use JR San'in line.

By bicycle

Hagi is not a large city, and you can reach the major sights by bicycle. You can borrow one at various places such as Higashi-Hagi Station and Hagi Castle.

By rickshaw

Kurumayado Tenjuppei (俥宿 天十平) [7] offers rickshaw trips with a guide near the castle. For two people, expect to pay ¥6000 for 30 minutes or ¥10,000 for one hour.

On foot

If you decide to forgo wheeled transportation and walk, you're joining a long tradition. Hagi-Oukan (萩往還), which connects Hagi and Yamaguchi City, was an important route during the Edo period, traveled frequently by merchants and samurai. It's now a popular trail for history-minded tourists.

See

Mt. Shizuki, where Hagi Castle was built

Castle Town District

In the Castle Town District (萩城城下町), many old houses and residents connected to those who leaded Meiji Restoration are well preserved. There is also a house of Kikuya family, who were great merchants in this area.

  • Hagi Castle (萩城跡), +81 838-251826. 8AM-4:30PM, from 8:30AM Nov-Feb, to 6PM March. In 1608, Mori clan built Hagi Castle at the foot of Mt. Shizuki. Hagi Castle had been the political center of Choshu-han(currently Yamaguchi prefecture) for about 250 years. Now stone walls, moats and gardens are kept as the ruins. Lots of people also enjoy cherry blossoms in spring and coloured leaves in autumn there. ¥210 adults, ¥100 children.
A street in front of the house of Kikuya family.

Horiuchi District

Horiuchi (堀内) was a residential section for upper class. Many traditional buildings are kept.

Hiyako District

We can also find many old residents in the Hiyako Distric (平安古). The second residence of Giichi Tanaka, a former Prime Minister of Japan is open for tourists.

  • Keep an eye out for kaimagari (鍵曲) paths in Hagi. Kaimagari was a device which makes enemies get lost and cornered.
  • Hagi Museum (萩博物館), 335 Horiuchi, +81 838-25-6447, [8]. 9AM-5PM. Built in 2004, this museum has exhibitions about samurais Yoshida Shoin and Takasugi Shinsaku. ¥500 adults, ¥300 students, ¥100 children.
  • Hagi Prefectural Art Museum (山口県立萩美術館・浦上記念館), 586-1 Hiyako, +81 838-24-2400, [9]. 9AM-5PM. Features displays of Asian pottery and Japanese ukiyo-e (wood-block prints). Admission varies.
  • Meirin-kan(明倫館)

Meirin-kan is a school built by Choshu-han. They brought up gifted children that would improve the country. The school building is still preserved and is used as a part of elementary school.

a scene along the Aibagawa watercourse
  • Aibagawa Watercourse (藍場川)

Aibagawa Watercourse was formerly used for transportation of goods or as water for extinguishing fires. Now, the path along the watercourse is very good for a stroll.

  • Shoin Shrine (松蔭神社)

Shoin-jinja is a shrine dedicated to Yoshida Shoin, a young samurai who taught younger people about the world and Japan. He was imprisoned and executed by the shogunate government, but later his students became famous statesmen and accomplished Meiji Restoration. In the shrine, his private school called "Shoka-sonjuku" (松下村塾) is still preserved.

Red gate of Tokoji temple
  • Tokoji Temple(東光寺)

Tokoji is a temple dedicated to Mori clan, the rulers of Hagi in Edo period. The gate, belfry and buildings look gorgeous like Chinese buildings. Mori clan's graveyard is behind the temple.

  • Daishoin Temple(大照院)

Daishoin is also dedicated to Mori clan. While Tokoji looks gorgeous, Daishoin looks very calm.

  • The Reverberatory Furnace of Hagi(萩反射炉)

Choshu-han built this furnace so that they could produce modernized weapons.

View from Mt. Kasayama
  • Mt. Kasayama(笠山) is the smallest active volcano in East Asia. A lot of Camellia flowers can be seen around the mountain in February and March. (Camellia flower is thought to be the symbol of Hagi.) In addition, the panorama of the Japan Sea is nice on the mountain. Myojin Pond where saltwater fish live is at the foot of the mountain.

Do

  • Pleasure boat for the eight fine views (萩八景遊覧船), +81 838-251750. 9AM-4PM March-Oct, to 3PM Nov. Special boats run by the Hagi Tourist Association which cruise on Hashimoto River and the Sea with a guide. ¥1200.
  • Kikugahama, near Mt. Shizuki, is a beautiful beach.
  • Hagi-yaki Experience

You can try to make your own Hagi-yaki in some potteries in Hagi.

Festivals

  • The Hagi Summer Festival(萩夏まつり) is held at the beginning of August. On the first day, about 8,000 fireworks are lit over the sea off Kikugahama.
  • The Hagi Historical Festival(萩時代まつり) finds people in Edo-period costumes raising eyebrows around the center of town.
  • The Hagi-yaki Festival(萩焼まつり) is held at the beginning of May. About 50 pottery shops from around the city come to the City Gymnasium to exhibit and sell their wares. It's a great opportunity to buy hagi-yaki at a low price.

Buy

Hagi-yaki (萩焼) is the local form of Japanese pottery. It is considered precious because of the way it reacts to water over time. If you use hagi-yaki as a tea cup for many years, you'll notice delicate changes in its color.

  • Hagi Seamart [10] is a complex of shops and restaurants that sells fresh food produced around Hagi.

Eat

The local specialty is Kenran Beef (見蘭牛), which has a fatty, well-marbled texture and tenderness. Hagi is also a great place for fresh seafood, particularly sea urchins and squid.

  • Midoriya Farm, 89 Horiuchi, +81 (838) 260141, [11]. Tu-Su 5-10PM, lunch by reservation 11:30AM-2PM. The famed Kenran Beef is grilled here; if you enjoy it, gift boxes are available to take home. Seafood is served as well, though. Sets from ¥2100-¥5250.

Drink

Natsumikans in the gardens of residences
  • The natsumikan' is a kind of citrus fruit that's grown in many local gardens, and squeezed into a tasty juice.
  • Chommage beer(チョンマゲビール) is a local brew.
  • Hagi also has a few traditional sake factories, with bottles available at souvenir shops.

Coffee

  • Café Tikal. A traditional café located near the gate of the Ogawa family residence.
  • Hotori Tei. A café with a beautiful Japanese garden located in the Castle Town District.

Sleep

  • Ryokans' cooperative of Hagi[12]
  • Hagi Youth Hostel, 109-22 Horiuchi, +81 (838) 220733. ¥2940 per night; breakfast ¥525, dinner ¥945.
  • Hokumon Yashiki (北門屋敷), 210 Horiuchi, +81 (838) 227521. Rooms ¥20-40,000.
  • Hagi no yado Tomoe (萩の宿・常茂恵), 608-53 Hijiwara-Kohoji, +81 (838) 220150, [13]. One of the best ryokans in Hagi. Rooms ¥20-70,000, including dinner and breakfast.

Get out

Other cities in and around Yamaguchi prefecture include:




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