An Introduction to Hagi City
Hagi City is located to the north of Yamaguchi Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan. The Abu River splits into the Hashimoto River and the Matsumoto River as it nears the coast and flows into the Sea of Japan. This split formed the delta on which Hagi castle town developed, surrounded on three sides by mountains. The coastline of the Sea of Japan has been designated as the North Nagato Quasi-National Park for its beautiful scenery.
Mōri Terumoto constructed Hagi Castle in 1604, and after approximately 260 years, Hagi had become a flourishing castle town. Hagi escaped great damage by natural disasters or war, and the layout of many buildings and streets from that time has been passed down to the present day. Hagi Castle was dismantled in the Meiji period, and the site of the castle is open to the public today as Hagi Castle Ruins in Shizukiyama Park. The layout of the castle town remains unchanged to this day. The white walls, the cross-hatched namako walls of Kikuya Alley, samurai residences enclosed by the remains of high mud walls and more can be seen. Furthermore, Hagi is the birthplace of many great figures who laid the foundations for modern Japan, including Yoshida Shōin, the military reformer Takasugi Shinsaku and Itō Hirobumi, the first Prime Minister of Japan.
Hagi is famed as the hometown of Hagi yaki pottery, renowned for its simple refinement and high-quality tea bowls. Hagi City is peppered with as many as 100 kilns. Step out beyond the castle town and there is beautiful nature to be explored, such as Kasayama Camellia Grove, which boasts over 25,000 camellia trees; and the distinctive rocks of the Hagi Hornfels, striated with black and pale grey, created 14 million years ago.
In July 2015, Hagi was registered as a “Site of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution”, with five sights in Hagi designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
With our city’s rich history, culture and natural heritage, there is so much to see in Hagi.