We all know that the Meiji restoration is a very important movement that changed the ancient governing system of Japan. For 500 years under the Shoguns, Japan continued living by their own ways despite the ongoing changes outside their world.
If Meiji restoration never existed, a Japanese friend said that by now, to put it in an easy way, he would still be wearing chonmage (top knob hair knot) and would require to carry Seppuku (harakiri) for a miss at work. If that doesn’t sound serious enough, just imagine Japan without Akihabara!
So, what does the city of Hagi have something to do with it?
Well, some of the people who supported Meiji restoration were born and raised here. Yoshida Shoin or known as Torajiro, Takasugi Shinsaku, Takayoshi Kido, are just to name a few.
Some of their houses are located in the vicinity of Hagi castle. The Hagi castle itself was reduced to ruins in 1874.
For a hundred yen per house or 310 yen for a nine houses freepass, not just listening to the explanation given by the staff or reading the information hanging by the wall, one can also rest inside on the wide tatami space facing the garden while enjoying the breeze.
The rich and smart were supporting the Meiji Restoration movement. These homes either belongs to doctors or merchants. I guess they wanted the change the most; allowed to have a safe trip to outside world and access to more knowledge.
One of the biggest house in the area belongs to the merchant Kikuya house.
Their 350 years old home is equipped with a sliding door that can rotate at corners, allowing full view of their spacious garden. Fancy!
Oh, I forgot to mention they have a phone inside their home, a phone box to be exact.
Kikuya residence can be explored at 600 yen cost.
Also in the neighborhood, the Enseiji temple and shrine and Hagi museum.
The local ice cream here comes in the refreshing Natsumikan (summer orange) taste.