Hiyako Samurai District Hagi
Hiyako Samurai District in Hagi is the least well-known of the town's samurai districts but is also an Historic Preservation District.
Hiyako Samurai District, Hagi 平安古
It is a Preservation District for Historic Buildings and has recently been included in the World Heritage Site of Japan's Industrial Revolution, one of five in Hagi.
The best known districts in Hagi are Horinouchi and Jokamachi, famous for their numerous preserved samurai houses and old streets. However, not as well known and rarely visited, the Hiyako Historic Preservation District is another, smaller samurai district in Hagi located on the east bank of the Hashimoto River south of the main samurai districts.
The wall surrounding Hiyako Samurai District runs alongside the Hashimoto RiverKaimagari, a sequence of 90 degree turns in a walled road were a defensive feature of many samurai districts and castles
The main feature of the Hiyako samurai district is called kaimagari, and is a feature found in some Japanese castles. The high-walled roads take sharp 90 degree turns creating more easily defensible positions.
There is a small community center, the Hiyako Kaimagari Koryukan (平安古かいまがり交流館) that doubles as an information center, though to be honest there is little useful info there; however, it does have a small traditional garden that is worth a look.
At the southern end of the district is a large, traditional house that is open to the public. This was originally the home of Obata Takamasa, a former samurai who introduced the cultivation of citrus trees as a way for former samurai to make a living.
Soon after the Meiji Restoration of 1868 the samurai not only lost their status but also their stipends and this was seen as a way out of the problem.
The summer citrus trees and products have now become a defining symbol of Hagi. In the Hiyako district is the Kankitsu Park with several hundred citrus trees of various varieties planted and a memorial to Takamasa.
Citrus fruit and earthen walls are two of the most iconic symbols of Hagi, and in fact feature on the town's manhole coversThe former home of Tanaka Giichi, Japan's 26th Prime Minister
Tanaka Giichi Residence
In the early 20th century his house was bought and then enlarged and modernized by Tanaka Giichi, (1864-1929), who would later become the 26th Prime Minister of Japan, the 5th prime minister from the former Choshu Domain.
In the army he attained the rank of General and his political career included many posts within the cabinet. He was given the rank and title of Baron.
Most of the house and other buildings are open to the public, and various items from Tanaka's life including his general's uniform, are on display. Nice views of the gardens and neighboring Kankitsu Park can be had from both the first and second floors.
Hiyakonishiku 164 HiyakomachiHagi-shi, Yamaguchi 758-0074Tel: 0838 25 3139
Open from 9 am to 5 pm every day.
Entry 100 yen for adults.
The Hiyako Samurai District is easily accessible by either the East Route or West Route of the Hagi Loop Bus from Hagi Station, Hagi Bus Center and Higashi-Hagi Station. Get off at Hiyako Minami Danchi-mae.
View of the garden and river from inside the former Tanaka Giichi Residence in the Hiyako Samurai District of Hagi