Hofu (防府市) is a city in Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan. As of April 2021, Hōfu had a population of approximately 113,000 people.
Hōfu sit in between other cities in Yamaguchi, such as Ube to the west, Yamaguchi City to the north, and Shunan to the east.
Hōfu began as a power center for the Mōri Clan, and it prospered originally in the salt industry. In modern times several transportation related corporations such as Mazda and Bridgestone have set up factories.
Yamaguchi Ube Airport (山口宇部空港,Yamaguchi Ube Kūkō) (IATA: UBJ, ICAO: RJDC) is a domestic airport located 4.6 km (2.9 mi) southeast of Ube-Shinkawa Station, in Ube. It is available as an alternative to Kitakyushu Airport for Yamaguchi Prefecture residents flying to and from Tokyo. All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines both provide services to Tokyo International Airport, known as Haneda Airport (羽田空港, Haneda Kūkō)
The Sanyō Shinkansen passes through Hōfu but there are no stations in the city. The closest stop is at Shin-Yamaguchi Station. Hōfu Station is on the JR Sanyō Main Line, about 16 minutes east from Shin-Yamaguchi Station.
Hōfu can be reached by the Sanyō Expressway (E2), to the Hōfu-Higashi IC. There is also access by Routes 2 and 58 from the west and east, plus Routes 262 and 184 from the north.
Some places are within walking distance of Hōfu Station, and there are both bus stops and taxi stands in front of the station.
- Mōri museum & Garden (毛利博物館・庭園), 1-15-1 Tatara, Hōfu, ☎ 083-522-0001. 9AM–5PM. Located on the same property of the former Mōri clan, the museum has exhibits of twenty thousand objects of historical value, many with national recognition. The real treat though is the Mōri Garden - one of the finest in the region. ¥400 garden, ¥700 museum, ¥1000 both. edit
- Hofu Tenmangu Shrine, 14-1 Matsuzakicho, Hōfu, ☎ 083-523-7700, . This is one of the biggest and most prominent shrines in the city, and Japan's first Tenmangu shrine. It offers nice architecture, city views, and impressive wood carvings. Free. edit
- Suokokubunji (周防国分寺), 2-67 Kokubunjicho, Hōfu, ☎ 083-522-0996 (fax: 083-522-1156), . Closed Mon unless holiday. This is one of Japan's oldest temples, with a history going back well over 1275 years. There are also numerous ancient works of Buddhist art going back to the early 1400s. ¥500. edit
- Hofu Science Museum Solar (防府市青少年科学館・ソラール), 6-41 Kotobukicho, Hōfu, ☎ 083-526-5050, . A museum designed for children with various exhibits such as studying the sun, the nature of chemical elements, and other activities. ¥310. edit
- Edomari Hot Springs Yawaragi no Yu (江泊温泉 和の湯), 1942 Edomari, Hōfu, ☎ 083-523-4126. 11AM–12AM, Sun/hol 10AM–12AM, Closed 3rd Tue of month. A natural hot spring and restaurant with both indoor and outdoor baths and sauna. Tattoos are strictly prohibited. ¥740. edit
- Yahazu Forest Park (矢筈森林公園). This park offers some good hiking and while the cherry blossoms are nice in season, the best part is climbing up the 461m Mt Yahazu when the weather is clear — the mountaintop gives a spectacular view over the city and Seto Inland Sea. Free. edit
Some local products often bought as souvenirs are locally produced Japanese sweets, fish cake, and soy products like soy sauce and miso.
- Matsuda Orchards Mikan (松田農園), 287 Nishinoura, Hōfu, ☎ 083-529-0252 (fax: 083-529-0291), . 9AM-4PM. From October til mid-December, you can pick lots of ripe tangerines and enjoy the best that Hofu has to offer. ¥500 entrance. edit
- Matsuda Orchards Budō (松田農園), 287 Nishinoura, Hōfu, ☎ 083-522-9331 (fax: 083-529-0291), . 10AM-5PM. For a set fee, from August until mid-September, you can eat as many grapes as you can put in your mouth for an hour. ¥1300. edit
- Bar Laughable (ラーフエブル), 1-7-31 Tenjin, Hōfu, ☎ 083-522-1023. Laughable is one of the main bars of Hofu, located on the Shōtengai street leading to Hōfu Tenmangu Shrine. It is most easily found by looking for the neon yellow shower curtain that serves as its door. edit
- The Indian Ocean (印度洋, ''Indoyō''), 1-3-30 Sakaemachi, Hōfu, ☎ 083-538-5324. A bar that feels a bit like a secret hideaway in the building basement, but still a nice atmosphere. edit
Most of the hotels are close to the main train station, JR Hōfu Station.
- Super Hotel Hofu Ekimae (スーパーホテル防府駅前), 1-2-18 Ebisumachi, Hōfu, ☎ 083-538-9000, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. A nationwide business hotel chain with one hotel here as well, located close to Hofu Station and with a natural hot spring as well as free breakfast. ¥7000~. edit
- Hotel Alpha-1 Hofu (ホテルアルファーワン防府), 2-4-48 Ebisumachi, Hōfu, ☎ 083-525-5500, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. Simple, clean, and inexpensive hotel near the station with free breakfast. ¥4000~. edit
- Hotel Route Inn Hofu Ekimae (ホテルルートイン防府駅前), 1-45 Ekiminamimachi, Hofu, ☎ 083-520-1100, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. Well known business hotel chain with modest but clean and comfortable rooms plus free breakfast. Hotel also has a hot spring with communal bath. ¥9500~. edit
For the latest info on events and sights, contact the Hōfu Tourism & Convention Association (防府観光コンベンション協会, Hōfu Kankō Konbenshon Kyōkai) Tel. 083-525-2148, or see the Hōfu City Tourist Information Center at Hōfu Station.
- Yamaguchi City - A near rival capital to Kyoto in medieval times, with several temples and famous Sesshu gardens.
- Shimonoseki - Major city at the southern tip of Honshu, famous for its history, seaside, and deadly fugu puffer fish.
- Hagi - A small but beautiful castle town, with surreal temple graveyards and preserved districts from ages ago.
- Iwakuni - City near Miyajima in Hiroshima and with Japan's most beautiful old wooden bridge.
- Akiyoshidai Quasi-National Park - See Japan's biggest and longest limestone cave, as well as its huge karst plateau.
- Tsuwano - Castle town with impressive red roofs, Christian martyr site, and traditional atmosphere.
- Nagato - Located west of Hagi, with the gorgeous seaside Motonosumi Inari Shrine, Senjojiki clifftop views, and the rugged coast of the Omijima Sea Alps.
- Kitakyushu - Fukuoka City's often ignored little sister, Kitakyushu has a more industrial flavor but has Kokura Castle, the stunning Sarakurayama mountain overlook, and Mojiko Retro area from over a century ago.