What is Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture?
Hagi City in Yamaguchi Prefecture, which produced Yoshida Shoin and many other Restoration heroes at the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, is also the setting for Ryotaro Shiba's novel "The Day the World Dwelt" and NHK's historical drama "Hanameyu," making it a mecca for girls who love the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate.
The Shouin Shrine is dedicated to Yoshida Shouin, an intellectual who taught at the Matsushita Murajyuku School, which produced a large number of revolutionaries at the end of the Edo period.
A large ema (votive tablet) is displayed at the Shoin Shrine. The figure of his teacher, Yoshida Shoin, remains the same no matter which year of the zodiac it is, but the students change every year, so it will be interesting to see who will be depicted the next year.
At the Shouin Shrine, there is a rather unusual fortune slip in the shape of a Japanese umbrella. It's a good idea to take a look at the cute Japanese umbrella-shaped fortune as a memento of your visit.
Yoshida Shoin's Former Residence
Yoshida Shouin saw Perry's black ships arriving in Edo in June 1853, and attempted to smuggle himself to America. However, the Americans refused to allow him to board the ship, and he was handed over to the Edo Shogunate, where he was imprisoned in Hagi, his hometown.
Yoshida Shoin, who lived in a small room of three tatami mats, devoted himself to his studies during his imprisonment.
The Matsushita Village School
Yoshida Shoin gave lectures on "Mencius" and other subjects while in seclusion. As a result, many young people came to visit him to listen to Shoin's protests. Then, after his imprisonment, Shoin Yoshida began teaching at the "Matsushita-mura-juku," where he trained Takasugi Shinsaku, Ito Hirobumi, Kusaka Genzui, and other revolutionaries.
The Matsushita Village Juku is also registered as a World Heritage Site. You can visit the school and imagine what kind of young people would have listened to the lectures given by Yoshida Shoin, one of the most learned men of the last days of the Tokugawa shogunate, in this room.
In the Matsushita Village School, there are photos of Shinsaku Takasugi, Hirobumi Ito, and other students of Shoin Yoshida. These photos quietly tell the story of the great achievements of the people who were the driving force behind the modernization of Japan.
Former Residence of Hirobumi Ito
Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit the interior, but not far from the school is the former residence of Hirobumi Ito, a disciple of Shoin Yoshida who became the first Prime Minister of Japan.
Former Residence of Hirobumi Ito
Near the former residence of Hirobumi Ito is the villa of Hirobumi Ito, who lived through the turbulent end of the Tokugawa Shogunate and rose to become the first Prime Minister of Japan with only his knowledge and swordsmanship. This villa is so magnificent that it is hard to believe that the same person lived here compared to the old house, and it still bears witness to the great deeds of Hirobumi Ito.
Former Residence of Kido Takayoshi
Kido Takayoshi, one of the three outstanding figures of the Meiji Restoration (Okubo Toshimichi, Saigo Takamori, and Kido Takayoshi), was also born in Hagi City. In Hagi City, there is the former home of Kido Takayoshi, which is open to the public.
On the second floor of the house, there is a hanging scroll made by Kido Takayoshi when he was a child.
Birthplace of Shinsaku Takasugi
"Shinsaku Takasugi, who died at the young age of 27, was born in Hagi City. He was a student of Shouin Yoshida, and one of the revolutionaries known as the "cloud child of the end of the Edo period.
At the Shinsaku Takasugi Birthplace, the well used for the first bath of Shinsaku Takasugi's life is on display. When you visit this place, you can imagine what kind of life Shinsaku Takasugi would have led if he had lived through the Meiji era without contracting pulmonary tuberculosis.
Former Hagi domain school Meirinkan
The former Hagi domain school, Meirinkan, was built by Yoshimoto Mori, the fifth lord of the Hagi domain, in the 18 ship islands to educate the children of his retainers. In addition to the school building, there is also a martial arts training facility and a military drill hall on the vast grounds, where Yoshida Shoin also taught.
On the grounds of the former Hagi domain school Meirinkan is the former Meirinkan Elementary School. The school building, with its wooden walls and red roof, has a retro atmosphere and was built in 1935.
Why don't you visit Hagi City in Yamaguchi Prefecture?
Hagi City in Yamaguchi Prefecture has many other places related to the Bakumatsu Restoration Warriors in addition to the spots introduced here. Why don't you visit Hagi City, a city that has produced many talented people who laid the foundation for Japan's modernization, and follow in the footsteps of the Bakumatsu revolutionaries?