Yamaguchi: Kyoto of the West | Hidden Gems, Festivals, and Hot Springs

Yamaguchi Things to See

Yamaguchi, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 11:44AM

10.7 / 51.3

Chosen as one of the "52 places to go in 2024"

Yamaguchi City, the capital of Yamaguchi prefecture, has been chosen as No.3 in the New York Times’ list of “52 places to go in 2024"

The article describes Yamaguchi City as a“Kyoto of the West” for its historical monuments and note-worthy summer-time festival. This hidden gem is not overpopulated by tourism like Kyoto, and visitors can experience both the traditional and modern aspects of the city through dining, sight-seeing, and engaging in cultural activities that the city offers.

Here are some facts about Yamaguchi City, and why it is indeed a worthy destination to visit during your travel in Japan.

Yuda Hot Springs

Fox statues in Yuda Onsen celebrates the legend of a white fox who discovered and healed its wound in the Yuda Hot Springs

There are numerous hot springs in Yamaguchi City. Yuda Hot Spring is one of the famous natural hot springs, known for its soft therapeutic alkaline water. There are various fox statues on the premises to celebrate the legend of the hot spring being discovered by an injured white fox who healed its wound in the hot spring.

Fox statues in Yuda Onsen celebrates the legend of a white fox who discovered and healed its wound in the Yuda Hot SpringsYuda Hot Springs

 

Rurikoji Temple

Rurikoji Temple in Yamaguchi

The five-story pagoda at Rurikoji Temple—the national treasure— is currently under renovation, scheduled to finish in 2026. However, visitors can instead enjoy a projection mapping show at the construction site, as well as different special activities/events for this limited period until the pagoda restoration is complete.

Rurikoji Temple in Yamaguchi

 

Bari Soba

Bari soba - a soul food of Yamaguchi

When you visit Yamaguchi City, be sure to check out “Barisoba”, a popular local specialty.
Barisoba is made with deep-fried Chinese noodles covered with a thick chicken-based soup full of vegetables.  It is considered a soul food for Yamaguchi locals and you can find it in many different restaurants.

Bari soba - a soul food of Yamaguchi

 

Temples and Shrines 

Yasaka Shrine - Yamaguchi

Aside from Ruruikoji temple (where the national treasure Five Pagoda is located), there are other renowned temples and shrines in Yamaguchi City such as  Ryufukuji Temple (registered as important cultural property of Japan), Yasaka Shinto Shrine, and Ima Hachimangu Shrine.  

Ima Hachimangu Shrine

Ref: https://yamaguchi-city.jp/w/en/spot/

 

Sakura Spot

Cherry Blossom viewing spots in Yamaguchi - Ichinosaka River

Ichinosaka River runs through the center of Yamaguchi City.  During spring time around March to April, the cherry blossoms planted along Ichinosaka River become full bloom all at once, creating a magnificent sakura viewing spot.    As you take a  stroll around the river, you can stop by at traditional tea houses and cafes by the riverside. 

Cherry Blossom viewing spots in Yamaguchi - Ichinosaka River

Ref: https://yamaguchi-city.jp/w/en/spot/

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Access 

You can easily visit Yamaguchi by air or train. 

By Train (Shinkansen) 

Shinkansen lines are connected directly from Tokyo (4.5 hours), Osaka (2 hours), and Fukuoka (about 35 mins)  to Shin-Yamaguchi station. From Shin-Yamaguchi station, take a 20-min train ride to Yamaguchi Station. Purchase of JR Pass is recommended, especially if you plan to travel by rail beyond Yamaguchi. 

Visit by Air

You can fly from either Tokyo Haneda Airport, or Kansai International Airport to Yamaguchi Ube Airport.  Then, transport to Shin-Yamaguchi Station by bus (connected directly from the airport) or by train. From Shin-Yamaguchi station, take a 20-min train ride to Yamaguchi Station. 

Ref: https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e6106.html

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