Hear about travel to the Yamaguchi Prefecture of Japan as the Amateur Traveler talks to Dr. Corinne Devine who is stationed there with the U.S. Navy.
Corinne says, “To find the Yamaguchi Prefecture go to the very Southernmost Westernmost of the main island of Honshu. The Yamaguchi prefecture borders Hiroshima. It has a very long coastline with emerald green ocean. You’ve got lots of Sandy beaches. Very incredible views of cliffs. And there is also a collection of even smaller islands that surround it. So for your people who love the national parks in the US, who love being connected with nature, this is the prefecture for you.”
You can fly down to the Yamaguchi Prefecture or reach it on the Shinkansen from Tokyo, Kyoto, or the other popular Japanese cities. Corinne recommends renting a car and driving while you are there, getting over your fear of driving on the left. The rental car company has a sticker it can put on the car to alert other drivers that you are a new driver, even though you’re not 16 years old.
She recommends coming in spring for the cherry blossoms or October for the fall colors.
We start in Iwakuni where we can visit the Kintai Bridge which is a historic wooden pedestrian bridge that dates back to the 1600s. It is right by the Iwakuni Castle which is a replica of a castle dismantled by the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1615.
Near Iwakuni is Yunai City. It has a white wall historic district of houses that date back to the Edo period. The city is known for the production of soy sauce and goldfish lanterns.
We then head west to the Rurikoji Temple and Pagoda which is the “gem” of Yamaguchi City. Towards the end of the Edo period, people would conspire in the tea house here for what became the Meiji restoration of the emperor.
Our next stop is Hagi. On the way, you can stop in the Jyoei Temple which is known for its great gardens. The area is known for its gardens and bamboo forests. Hagi is known for its pottery. There is a samurai quarter in Hagi but the castle in Hagi is in ruins. Corinne recommends the wonderful visitor center in Hagi which has a 16-minute video on the origins of the industrial revolution in Japan. The Tokoji Temple in Hagi has more than 500 stone lanterns that photographers will enjoy.
One of the top sites in Yamaguchi is the Montinosumi Tori Shrine with its tori gates. CNN Travel named it one of the “31 Most Beautiful Places in Japan.” These gates lead down to the ocean.
The longest cave in Japan, the Akiyoshido Cave, is also located in Yamaguchi in Akiyoshidai Quasi-National Park.
Along the way, we try some of the local food including fugu, squid, the local sushi, and a chicken shack. Corinne talks about soaking in an onsen and staying in a ryokan.
Discover a less-visited corner of Japan in the Yamaguchi Prefecture.
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right click here to download (mp3)
Yamaguchi Driving Guide
Jyoei Temple Sesshu Garden
Akiyoshido Cave: Japan’s Longest Cave
Kensaki Ika (Queen of Squid)
Irori Sanzoku Kuga (Chicken Shack)
Jyakuchikyo Five Falls Loop
Just listened to your episode on Manchester, England; my hometown! Although I live & work in London now. Usually, I travel back a lot to visit my family, but it’s been a lot harder lately because of the pandemic. So your podcast was a delightful interlude, like a mini trip back home! And made me very nostalgic 🙂
Well done to your guest too Helena. I’m a huge fan too of the Northern Quarter, and there were just one or two suggestions I would add;
The Midland Hotel in Manchester – this is one of the most beautiful buildings, from the inside or outside. I think it is Art Deco style and would highly recommend dropping in for a drink (or even afternoon tea!) Both the atmosphere & service are exquisite and you feel like you’ve stepped back in time to the late nineteenth century.
You asked when to go and I would suggest December. A lot of European cities have fabulous Christmas markets, I’ve visited many, but outside of Germany, in my opinion, those in Manchester are the best. In recent years they’ve grown massively, as well as the artisan gifts you can buy they’re a great place for food & drink. In the winter they are a huge attraction by day & night and many people start off a night out there, with a mug of hot chocolate or gluhwein! But ideally don’t go on a Friday or Saturday night, as they’re so busy.
Finally a trip to Liverpool – the mini boat trip along the canal would be lovely but I’d massively recommend a few days in Liverpool too if you’ve time – which has so much to offer itself with a stunning waterway, friendly people & amazing history – one of my all time favourite cities.
Oh & finally, finally; there’s nothing wrong with a chip barm !!!!!
I discovered your podcast a few years ago when I was visiting my sister on her year abroad in Austin, Texas. Since then I’ve travelled to so many places in spirit at least while listening & I absolutely love your show, thank you so much for every incredible episode.
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Amateur Traveler Trips
Amateur Traveler trip to Turkey in September 2020