Yamaguchi Prefecture is a prefecture of Japan in the Chugoku region on Honshu Island. The capital is the city of Yamaguchi, in the center of the prefecture. With a population of around 200,000, Yamaguchi has an easy-going feel and is an ideal base for exploring the local area including the historic towns of Hagi, Tsuwano and the limestone caverns of Akiyoshi-dai.
Yamaguchi prefecture is often overlooked by travelers, most just passing through on the bullet train between Hiroshima and Kyushu. However, this westernmost region of the main island of Honshu has much to recommend in terms of history, culture and scenery.
Surrounded on three sides by sea, Yamaguchi has nearly 1500km of coastline. It stretches from the built up Seto Inland Sea coastline (called the Sanyo Coast) across Honshu to the deserted beaches of the Japan Sea on the Sanin Coast. The Ouchi clan which was dominated the region for several centuries emulated the city planning of Kyoto and what is now the prefectural capital, Yamaguchi City, became known as the “Kyoto of the West”.
Attractions: There’s plenty to see and do in Yamaguchi – known as the “Kyoto of the West”. The most popular place for tourism is Shimonoseki. One of the major attractions is the famous Kintai Bridge in the town of Iwakuni. The area on the banks of the Nishiki River close to the bridge is considered among the best places in Japan for Hanami, when groups of family and friends gather in early April to view cherry blossoms.
Yamaguchi’s attractions are quite spread out so bicycles or a car hire make good sense. Bicycles can be rented at the JR Yamaguchi Station.
Yamaguchi’s other attractions include the historic onsen hot springs at Yudaonsen, one stop west on the train from Yamaguchi Station. Back in Yamaguchi town is the pleasant Ichinosakagawa, which is a pleasant place to walk especially when the cherry trees along its banks are in full bloom.