Yamaguchi (山口) is the capital of Yamaguchi prefecture, at the western tip of the island of Honshu, Japan. In the city, there is a beautiful Japanese town which flourished as "Kyoto in the West" in the Medieval Period. We can find lots of traces of its prosperity there.

The Rurikoji temple's Five-Storied-Pagoda, which was built around 1442, is the symbol of this old city.


Main districts of Yamaguchi city

The area of Yamaguchi is very large. Therefore, it can be divided into some districts.


Yamaguchi City is the seat of prefectural government, so it functions as the "capital" of this prefecture. However, it is not a big city and impresses us as a planned city. Actually, it is a planned city where Hiroyo Ouchi, the liege lord of this region, placed his government in 1360. From then on, the town developed, copying the elegance of Kyoto, which used to be the capital of Japan. As Ouchi family prospered, this city also flourished and it was called "Kyoto in the West" in those days. Especially, while Kyoto was devastated by Onin war, Yamaguchi developed as the alternative capital. Many cultured people and foreigners visited the city. It was as if Yamaguchi was practically the capital of Japan. But regrettably the destruction of this family in 1551 caused the city to fall. We can see a lot of things in this city that suggests its prosperity in medieval times.

Get in

By plane

Yamaguchi Ube Airport(UBJ) in Ube is the prefecure's largest airport. You can take a bus from the airport to Shin-Yamaguchi station.

By train

Yamaguchi's main train station(Yamaguchi Station) is located separately from Shin-Yamaguchi (新山口), a station on the San'yo Shinkansen route. Regular trains connect both stations in 15-25 minutes.

Shin-Yamaguchi is a bullet train station stop for only a few Nozomi trains, most Hikari trains, and all of the Kodama all-station trains. By a combination of bullet train and local train, Yamaguchi is about 60-70 minutes from Hakata in Fukuoka (¥6230 via Nozomi/Mizuho), about 2 1/2 hours from Osaka (¥13150 via Nozomi/Mizuho) and about 5 hours from Tokyo (¥21560 via Nozomi). Japan Rail Pass holders must travel on the Sakura and Hikari services, which take slightly longer; a train change will be required if originating east of Osaka.

Get around

JR Yamaguchi Line goes through the city. The main tourist stops are at Yuda Onsen Station for Yuda Onsen and Yamaguchi Station. Joeiji Temple is closer to Miyano Station.

While most sites can be reached on foot, the walk may be longer than many tourists would like, so it is advised to take a bus or rent a bicycle. There is a rentacycle across the street from Yamaguchi Station.


Five-story pagoda in snow
Ichinosaka-gawa River covered by cherry blossoms

Over the clean and beautiful small river, many cherry blossoms can be seen in spring, and in summer you will find many fireflies glowing.



Held on August 6th and 7th. The city center becomes decorated with red impressive lanterns.



Denki Brown: Discrete, sophisticated bar in heart of Yamaguchi. Serves gourmet bar food, cocktails and notable for extensive range of authentic single malts. Very pleasant atmosphere with a hint of smooth jazz!


Most hotels are in the expensive Yuda Onsen area, which can be reached via JR Yuda Onsen Station on the JR Yamaguchi Line (10 minutes). Some will offer transfers to and from Shin-Yamaguchi Station.

Go next

Other cities in Yamaguchi Prefecture

Routes through Yamaguchi

Hakata Shin-Shimonoseki ← Asa  W  E  Tokuyama Hiroshima
Shimonoseki Ube  W  E  Hofu Hiroshima
Shimonoseki Mine  W  E  Tokuji (Hofu) Hiroshima
END  W  E  Hofu Hiroshima

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