Tsuwano to Hagi 津和野、萩

Taikodani Inari Jinjya

April 23rd.

From michi no eki Goutsu we drive to Tsuwano. Even on a weekend, these Shimanae/Yamaguchi roads winding through mountains are an empty delight.

Tsuwano

Tsuwano, we wander without real enthusiasm. Years ago, I was impressed by this place with its whitewashed buildings and carp filled drains but now it just seems lifeless. Perhaps I am just jaded.

Tsuwano

Carp filled drains, Tsuwano

We find ourselves eating a convenience store lunch a railway bridge close-by on our right. There is another person hanging around, whom we suspect to be a railway buff, waiting for a train to cross the perhaps Meiji era bridge.

D. checks the timetable, but the next train is not due for over an hour, so we move on and climb through a tunnel of torii to the Inari shrine. On the way, passing through the Yasaka Shrine, there is a 600-year-old tree and another suspected rail buff.

Tsuwano

600 year old tree Yasaka shrine, Tsuwano.

Missing the train

Taikodani Inari Jinjya

Torii tunnel, Taikodani Inari shrine

Taikodani Inari Jinjya

Taikodani Inari Jinjya top

Having reached the shrine at the top, which is much more splendid than the approach through the dilapidated torii would suggest, (most people arrive from the car park at the top) we hear the hoot of a steam locomotive and there far below a steam train is crossing the bridge we were sitting next to. This is the special tourist train that runs only at weekends on the Yamaguchi line. A missed opportunity.

steam locomotive train

Steam locomotive snapped from way up in the shrine

But now the regular train is due, so we return to our bench and snap a modern train crossing the bridge much faster than anticipated.

Yamaguchi Line

Yamaguchi Line

Leaving Tsuwano, we head off to Hagi. Again, a delightful drive on empty roads though we hit traffic at times.

Hagi

In Hagi we park at Kikugahama near the sea, it is free, and walk the grid of the old samurai town.

Hagi

Walls and Hedges, Hagi

This is mostly old walls and hedges and orange groves. The unemployed samurai in the early Meiji Period took up growing Amanatsu orange. There are preserved period houses, but we have entered these before.

Hagi

Preserved buildings, Hagi

Hagi

Street in old Hagi

Meirin Gakusha School

We do take a look at the famous Meirin Gakusha School, the Hagi clan school for sons of important samurai.

Meirin Gakusha

Meirin Gakusha

This building was functioning as a school until recently but is now preserved or more correctly perhaps replicated. I think the school was a hotbed of anti-bakfu sentiment, but I could find no mention of political activity in the information notices. Just the usual guff about square metres and location of long demolished buildings.

inside of Meirin Gakusha

From inside of Meirin Gakusha

Senzakitchen

Leaving Hagi, we speed along a toll-free highway to michi no eki Senzakitchen. This is a new road station with vast car parks and various restaurants as the name suggests. These were mostly closed by the time we arrived at 6.30pm.

It is far from the traffic so very quiet and on the water so handy for fishing. With such large car parks there is some distance to the toilets which are smart and modern but for such a large place, tiny. Not good for our purpose but I doubt it was designed with shachuhaku as a priority.

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