Yamaguchi City (山口市) is the capital of Yamaguchi prefecture, at the western tip of the island of Honshu, Japan. In the city, there is a beautiful Japanese town which flourished as "Kyoto in the West" during Japan's pre-Edo Period (before 1603). We can find lots of traces of its prosperity there. As of February 2021, Yamaguchi City had a population of approximately 193,800 people.
Main districts of Yamaguchi city
The area of Yamaguchi is very large. Therefore, it can be devided into some districts.
- Old town of Yamaguchi(I) - Yamaguchi Station, Rurikoji, Shopping district, St. Xavier's Church, etc.
- Ouchi district including Niho and Osaba(II)
- Shin-Yamaguchi district;New town of Yamaguchi(III, IV) - Shin Yamaguchi Station
- Ajisu(VI) - Kirara Dome
The Rurikoji temple's Five-Storied-Pagoda, which was built around 1442, is the symbol of this old city.
Yamaguchi City is the seat of prefectural government, so it functions as the "capital" of this prefecture. However, it is not that big a city and impresses us as a planned city. Actually, it is a planned city where Hiroyo Ouchi, the liege lord of this region, placed his government in 1360. From then on, the town developed, copying the elegance of Kyoto, which used to be the capital of Japan.
As Ouchi family prospered, this city also flourished and it was called "Kyoto in the West" in those days. Especially, while Kyoto was devastated by the Onin War (1467-1477), Yamaguchi developed as the alternative capital. Many cultured people and foreigners visited the city. It was as if Yamaguchi was practically the capital of Japan. But regrettably the destruction of this family in 1551 caused the city to fall.
There are still a lot of things in this city that suggests its prosperity in medieval times.
Yamaguchi Ube Airport (UBJ) in Ube is the prefecture's largest airport.
There are buses from the airport and train stations nearby going to Shin-Yamaguchi station, the largest bullet train station nearby.
Yamaguchi's main train station(Yamaguchi Station) is located separately from Shin-Yamaguchi (新山口), a station on the Sanyo Shinkansen route. Regular trains connect both stations in 15-25 minutes.
Shin-Yamaguchi is a bullet train station stop for only a few Nozomi trains, most Sakura trains, and all of the Kodama bullet trains. By a combination of bullet train and local train, Yamaguchi is about 85 minutes from Hakata in Fukuoka (¥5610 adult unreserved seat), about 2½ hours from Osaka (¥12650 via Nozomi, adult unreserved seat) and about 4¾-5½ hours from Tokyo (¥21,180 via Nozomi, adult unreserved seat).
Note that you cannot use Nozomi trains with the Japan Rail Pass, but you can with the JR West regional rail passes such as the Okayama Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass, Hiroshima Yamaguchi Area Pass, Setouchi Area Pass, and Sanyo Sanin Northern Kyushu Pass.
JR Yamaguchi Line goes through the city.
There are rental bicycles available just outside Yamaguchi Station (¥300/2 hrs or ¥700 per day).
Five-story pagoda in snow
- Rurikōji (瑠璃光寺), 7-1 Kayama (Bus to Kenchōmae), ☎ 083-924-9139. 9AM-5PM. This temple's five-story pagoda is something of a city symbol. Also noteworthy are the lovely temple grounds and the tombs of several medieval lords. Free (Pagoda museum ¥200).. edit
- Yamaguchi Daijingu (山口大神宮, Yamaguchi Daijingū)), 4-4 Takimachi, ☎ 083-922-0718, . Built in 1518 as a smaller copy of the shrines in Ise, regarded as the most important in Japan. edit
Ichinosaka-gawa River covered by cherry blossoms
- Ichinosaka River (一の坂川) - Over the clean and beautiful small river, many cherry blossoms can be seen in spring, and in summer you will find many fireflies glowing.
- Joeiji (常栄寺), 2001 Miyanoshita (JR train to Miyano), ☎ 083-922-2272, . 8AM-5PM (Nov-Mar ~4:30), last entry 30 min prior. Expansive temple with a famous garden designed by the the famous Zen Buddhist monk and artist Sesshu (1420-1506). ¥300. edit
- Xavier Memorial Church (ザビエル記念聖堂), 4-1 Kameyama-chō, ☎ 083-920-1549, . Museum Thu-Tu 9AM-5:30PM, Catholic mass Sun 9:30 AM. Dedicated to St. Francis Xavier, who visited Japan as a missionary in 1549–51 and spent close to a year in Yamaguchi. The first floor is a museum in honor of "Sabieru", and mass is held on the second floor. Italian architect designed the church's dazzling white interior and angular sea-blue windows. ¥300 for the museum. edit
- Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media, 7-7 Nakazono-cho, ☎ 083-901-2222 (fax: 083-901-2216), . 10-8, Closed Tue.. edit YCAM was established in November 2003 as a cultural-arts complex that accommodates a hall for stage performances, an exhibition space, a mini film theater, and the Yamaguchi City Library. A platform for sharing computer and IT-based media technology, YCAM hosts among others a variety of theater and dance performances, art exhibitions, film screenings, sound-related events, workshops and lectures.</see>
- Yamaguchi Prefectural Yamaguchi Museum (山口県立山口博物館), 8-2 Kasugacho, ☎ 083-922-0294, . 9:30-4:30, Closed Mon. Includes science and technology exhibitions, and galleries for earth sciences, plants and animal life, historical items, archeology and astronomy. ¥100. edit
- Lantern Star Festival (山口七夕ちょうちん祭り) - Held on August 6th-7th. The city center becomes decorated with red impressive lanterns.
- Ando Luck (アンド吉祥 宇部新川), Terminal Hotel 1F, ☎ 083-973-3246, . 11:30AM-2PM, 5:30-11PM. Cocktails and creative takes on Japanese hors d'oeuvres. It's outside the north entrance of Shin-Yamaguchi Station. ¥3500. edit
Most hotels are in the expensive Yuda Onsen area, which can be reached via JR Yuda Onsen Station on the JR Yamaguchi Line (10 minutes). Some will offer transfers to and from Shin-Yamaguchi Station.
- Comfort Hotel Shin-Yamaguchi, 1255-1 Ogori-Shimogo, ☎ 083-974-2511, . checkout: 10. Western style rooms with free continental breakfast and Internet access. As the name suggests, it's about 40 meters from Shin-Yamaguchi Station. Rooms from ¥5500 single. edit
- Toyoko Inn Shin-Yamaguchi-Eki Shinkansen-Guchi (東横Inn新山口駅新幹線口), 7-61 Koganecho Ogori, ☎ 083-973-1045. checkin: 15; checkout: 10. Japan's largest business hotel chain has one here too, conveniently located by the bullet train station. ¥4550~. edit
- Hotel New Tanaka (湯田温泉 ホテルニュータナカ), 2-6-24 Yudaonsen, ☎ 083-923-1313, . checkin: 15; checkout: 11. Offers rooftop and indoor spas, althletic center, and free parking. ¥6300~. edit
- Hotel Route Inn Yamaguchi Yuda Onsen (ホテルルートイン山口 湯田温泉), 9-1 Sentocho, ☎ 050-5576-8001, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. Includes large hot spring bath. With free breakfast. ¥8000~. edit
- Super Hotel Yamaguchi Yudaonsen (スーパーホテル山口湯田温泉), 4-1-5 Yudaonsen, ☎ 083-921-2000, . checkin: 15; checkout: 10. With free breakfast buffet. ¥6500~. edit
- Matsudaya Hotel, 3-6-7 Yuda Onsen, ☎ 083-922-0125, . Beautifully sculpted hotel situated in a garden from the Edo period. Natural hot springs and seasonal cuisine are available. Rooms from ¥32,550 single, ¥42,000 double. edit
- 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.
- Nagato - Located west of Hagi, with the gorgeous seaside Motonosumi Inari Shrine, Senjojiki clifftop views, and the rugged coast of the Omijima Sea Alps.