190806 San’in Trip Day 4 (Hagi)

The rest day.

August 6th, 2019
We moved from Yunotsu to Hagi on trains and visited historical places in Hagi city.
As the weather forecast predicted, we walked around Hagi city in heavy rain. It was the only day we got wet during the tour, and fortunately as per our itinerary, we stayed in the town so didn’t have to ride bikes on that day.

Trains for Hagi city

In front of Meguruya in Yunotsu Onsen

6:30 AM
We pedaled to Yunotsu station and packed our bikes and got on the 7:07 AM train for Hagi city in Yamaguchi prefecture. There were few passengers on the train, and we could tie our bikes to the bar.

Arrived at Higashi Hagi Station

10:43 AM
We transferred trains at Masuda station 益田駅 and arrived at Higashi Hagi Station 東萩駅. Then we unpacked our bikes and rode to “Hagi Time,” where we stayed.
The rain had already started but we didn’t get very wet because It took only 10 minutes.

We were lucky to keep our bikes on the lobby floor of the inn.

The Hagi Museum

11:30 AM
We walked to the Hagi museum, 萩博物館 on foot. It was the starting point of the walking tour, which I had booked for the afternoon.

Hagi city was a castle town of Choshu domain in which many figures who played essential roles in Meiji restoration were born, and many old buildings remain.

The Samurai residence style architecture.

At the entrance of the museum, visitors are requested to take off their shoes and put on mules. We visited the permanent exhibition and special exhibition. The summer special exhibition was “Dangerous Animals” for kids. My husband and son enjoyed it more than the permanent exhibits.

I ate three kinds of local fish on top of rice bowls at the museum restaurant.

Walking tour in the historical district

13:00 We joined the walking tour in the historic district.

The district was constructed for the senior vassals and high ranking samurai warriors who served to Mori clan, the feudal load family of Choshu domain in the early 17th century.

This area was the center of politics and administration and surrounded by walls and gates.

The guide was gentle, kind ,and knowledgable. The residences of high ranking vassals were huge, and most of them surrounded by stone walls. the stone walls were constructed in the Edo period(1603-1868) are still used.

White, well-ordered stone walls were built during the Edo Period and black disordered stone walls were developed in later years.
We saw long white walls along the street.

After Meiji Restoration, samurai warriors lost jobs, and their life became difficult and then, they planted Natsu mikan (summer tangerine) trees in their vast ground. It became the local specialty of Hagi. Stone walls protect the tangerine tree from strong wind.

We entered Kuchiba clan 口羽家 residence, who is a senior vassal of Hagi Clan. The main building was constructed around 1800.
The view from the residence garden is one of the eight beautiful views in Hagi.

Shoin Shrine

The torii gate of Shoin shrine.

3:30 PM
We visited Shoin Shrine 松陰神社, the place I really wanted to visit strongly on the bike tour.

The shrine was dedicated to “Yoshida Shoin (1830-1859) ” 吉田松陰, who was an intellectual and a teacher to lots of figures in Meiji Restoration. After the Meiji restoration, many of his students became the members of the cabinet or important people of the new modern government such as Ito Hirofumi, Japan’s first prime minister in the late 19th century.

In the shrine, Shoin’s academy, Shokasonjuku 松下村塾 remains. It was smaller than I expected.

Japanese history manga, “Fuunji tachi”(風雲児たち) tells that his academy was originally a storage facility and it was too small to contain the students and some were studying outside. He was a samurai warrior, but he taught even poor farmers.

I was surprised to learn that he opened his academy after he failed to board one Commodore Perry’s ships as a stow away to study abroad and so many people leant various subjects enthusiastically in his academy.

I read the manga recently and my heart was touched my heart by his passion for devoting himself to the public.

There is only one you in this whole world. For what you were born in and sit here?
You won’t break through your limit once you categorize yourself.
To live for the people, you fully utilized your ability.
You should devote yourself to the public. for it, you live and study.

“Fuunji Tachi Bakumatsu edition” – Minamoto Taro –

Finally, Shoin was sentenced to death when he was 29 years old, but his passion was passed down to his students.

Dinner at Izakaya Maru

In the evening, we went to “Izakaya Maru”

Its sashimi was delicious, and we enjoyed drinking sake and food there. While we were traveling in San’in region, we kept eating fish every day.

On the arcade near the inn, Tanabata, the star festival was held, and we walked under the many decorations.

It was a shame we couldn’t ride bikes in Hagi because of heavy rain, and I want to revisit the city.

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