Facing the Sea of Japan in the northern part of Yamaguchi prefecture, the ruins of Hagi Castle are located at the foot of Mt. Shizuki. Counted among Japan’s top 100 castles, it can even be said to have been the home of the leading spirits of Japan’s restoration.
As Mori Terumoto assumed the position of head of the West Squad at the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, his lands were largely reduced, and Hagi Castle was built in 1604 as his new feudal castle instead of Hiroshima Castle.
This is Hagi Castle. Towering up in the middle is Mt. Shizuki, and surrounded by a moat and stone wall, at the foot of the mountain are the remains of the castle.
Making it one of the most well-known places for cherry blossom viewing in the northern part of Yamaguchi prefecture, there are around 600 cherry trees planted in the Hagi Castle area.
Other highlights are the complex castle mount and tower remains. During the Edo period, a 5-layered, 5-storey castle tower loomed over the area, but it was dismantled in 1874 leaving only the foundations and pedestal.
Hagi Castle’s forte is that it faces the Sea of Japan. The stone walls offer pleasant views of Hagi’s most famous beach, Kikugahama, which during summer is bustling with swimmers.
Another one of our recommended cherry blossom viewing spots in Hagi is Mt. Kasayama. Located about 10km to the north-east of Hagi castle, it’s a small volcano (112m above sea level) with a road that takes you close to the peak. The area has a walking trail and an observation deck.
Among others, there are around 200 Yoshino cherry and mountain cherry trees here. It’s one of only a couple of spots where cherry blossoms can be enjoyed backdropped by the Sea of Japan.
This is a forest of cherry trees seen from the observation deck at the top of Mt. Kasayama. In the background you can see the Sea of Japan and some islands.
Mt. Kasayama also offers a good view of the Hagi Castle remains and Mt. Shuzuki. Go north-east along the seashore from Hagi Castle to get there.
Mt. Kasayama is also known for its beautiful sunsets. It’s even been selected among the top 100 places in Japan to see the sunset.
We particularly recommend visiting in the evening during cherry blossom viewing season. Offering a fairy-tale-like spectacle, the great ocean glistens, and all the cherry trees are faintly colored by the evening sun.
As the evening sun sets between the islands, both the mountain and the sea are dyed pink during the cherry blossom season!
Hagi even appeared as one of the settings in Hana Moyu, an NHK drama about the tumultuous times at the end of the Edo period.
We recommend visiting during the flower viewing season from late March to early April, too!
The Ruins of Hagi Castle & Shizuki Park
Location: 1-1 Horiuchi, Hagi city, Yamaguchi prefecture
Open: [April – October] 8.00-18.30, [November-February] 8.30-16.30, [March] 8.30-18.00
Admission: Adults JPY210 / Elementary & Middle school students JPY100
Guide Homepage: http://hagishi.com/search/detail.php?d=100049 (Japanese)
Location: 1189-652 Chinto, Hagi city, Yamaguchi prefecture
Guide Homepage: http://hagishi.com/search/detail.php?d=100055 (Japanese)
Cherry blossom viewing spots in Hagi (PDF): http://hagishi.com/hanagoyomi/sakuramap.pdf (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hironobu Matsuoka
Hironobu Matsuoka / Photo-writer Born in 1974 in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and currently living there, Hironobu is the president of Mediapolis Inc. "I travel around the country in Solar King, an eco-camping car that has a solar power generator, and film the beautiful scenery of Japan in high-definition. I want to move around the country as much as possible and leave behind videos of precious Japanese nature and scenery for future generations to enjoy. Although I travel all over the country, I love my home area of Setouchi." 'Healing Japan TV' - Traveling virtually around the country through 'healing videos'.
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