The ultimate guide to Yamaguchi Culture , routes and food

DAY 2 Hagi Okan

Hagi Okan and Onsen Tour

My second day is about to start. Today I want to learn history while I do some trekking, so I’m heading to the historical route, Hagi Okan. I get on a bus in Hagi and watch how the lovely red-tiled houses slowly pop up in my window as we drive into the mountains. After a while I arrive in Akiragi, where my journey to Sasanami in Hagi Okan begins.Hagi Okan was established in 1604 right after the completion of Hagi Castle. Back in the Edo period, the shogun ordered the daimyos to travel to Edo (current day Tokyo) periodically to keep them under control. This system was known as sankin kotai.


The Mori clan enabled Hagi Okan to gain access from their castle in Hagi to the port of Mitajiri, located in the current city of Hofu. From there, they would depart by boat to Osaka and then continue the journey to Edo on foot. The trip to Edo took about a month, but nevertheless, the Mori clan would have great displays of power by deploying an entourage of 1,000 people on their way to the capital. Surprisingly, this custom went on for the approximately 200 years that the Edo period lasted.
Today, I’ll be walking through the second highest mountain pass on the route, which is surrounded by mountains, rivers and breathtaking nature. Hagi Okan preserves part of the original cobblestones that have withstood 400 years of strong winds and snow, as well as other elements of have great historical value, such as the ancient milestones or the chaya, where travelers and their horses would take a much needed rest.

This section of the route has a conveniently placed rest area and is one of the favorites of trekkers who decide to venture in this journey through history.After emerging from my journey through time among the trees and bamboo forest, I head towards the Asahi rest area to have a well deserved mochi while I wait for the bus to my next destination: the Yuda Onsen hot springs area.
Yuda Onsen not only has several accommodations with hot springs, but the streets also have numerous foot baths where you can soak your feet in spring water completely free of charge.


This time I’m staying at Matsumasa Hotel, a very well equipped accommodation with an excellent hot spring offer. After checking-in and resting a little, I head to the bath to enjoy the alkaline waters of Yuda Onsen, which have beautifying properties for the skin and leave it silky smooth. After doing a circuit through the indoor area, I decide to try out the rotenburo (open-air bath) and shelter myself under its wooden ceiling and its beautiful natural decoration.The second day could not end any better: after a long walk in the morning, nothing like relaxing in thermal water and going to sleep.


Hagi Okan Area (Click here for access to Hagi Okan, route information, and historical information)

Access to Yamaguchi Prefecture

Approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Yamaguchi Ube Airport
Shinkansen (Bullet train)
Shin-Yamaguchi Station (accessible from Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Fukuoka, etc.)

Public transportation access to Hagi

Shin-Yamaguchi Station – Hagi, is about 1 hour on the Super Hagi (get off at Hagi / Meirin Center)

* When using the Chugoku JR Bus, JR Pass is supported.

Access from Hagi to Akiragi

From Hagi Meirin Center, take the Chugoku JR Bus bound for Yuda Onsen Station and get off at Akiragi (about 25 minutes)

* When using the Chugoku JR Bus, JR Pass is supported.

Access from Road Station Asahi to Yubel Hotel Matsumasa, Yuda Onsen Station, Yamaguchi Station


* When using the Chugoku JR Bus, JR Pass is supported.

Yubel Hotel Matsumasa

From Road Station Asahi, take the Chugoku JR Bus bound for Yuda Onsen and get off at Yuda Onsen Dori (about 55 minutes).
Approximately 2 minutes on foot from Yuda Onsen Dori to the hotel

Yuda Onsen Station

From Road Station Asahi, take the Chugoku JR Bus bound for Yuda Onsen and get off at Yuda Onsen Station (about 1 hour)

Yamaguchi Station

From Road Station Asahi, take the Chugoku JR Bus bound for Yuda Onsen and get off at Yamaguchi Station (about 45 minutes).

Public transport access to Yamaguchi

From Shin-Yamaguchi Station, take the JR Yamaguchi Line and get off at Yamaguchi Station (about 25 minutes)

Public transport access to Hofu

From Shin-Yamaguchi Station, take the JR Sanyo Main Line and get off at Hofu Station (about 15 minutes)

Hagi Okan (Hagi/Yamaguchi/Hofu)

image:Hagi Okan

Hagi Okan is an old road constructed in the Edo period, spanning 53km and connects Hagi (Hagi City) located by the Sea of Japan and Mitajiri Port (Hofu City) located by the Seto Inland Sea. During the Edo period, there was a policy called Sankin-kōtai where the shogun regularly sent daimyos to Edo (present day Tokyo) in order to limit the power of the daimyo in each region. Lord Mori, a daimyo, traveled by sea to Osaka from Hagi, where his castle is located, and then travelled by foot to Edo, but to get on the ship to Osaka, he would have to board from Mitajiri Port (present day Hofu City) which is why he constructed the road to there, Since being designated as a national historic site in 1989, it has been selected as one of the “100 Historical Roads” by the Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan for its historical value. As a road blessed with nature, it has been called that “beautiful,” by visitors and has been selected as one of the “500 ways you’d want to walk through the Beauty of Japan.” In recent years, the number of foreign visitors have increased as this spot is a perfect place to feel the seasons while getting a touch of history.
Hagi Okan takes about 2 to 3 days to walk, but there are also courses that use the bus. Why not take a walk on the same route that the members of the Daimyo procession, who carried the samurai, horses, and kago, used for the the Sankin-kōtai?

Route information

The road with a total length of about 53 km can be divided into 6 routes.
The route that Gema walked is No. 2 “Akiragi-Sasanami route”, which is the recommended route to experience the most of Hagi Okan.
Enjoy the Hagi Okan trip on the route that suits your travel plan.

No.1 Karahi Futaba Ato-Akiragi Route (Hagi)

Distance: Approximately 8.5km, Time required: Approximately 3 hours

Enjoy a walk through Hagi, which once prospered as a castle town for Lord Mori and its many historical sites of the Edo period such as the Aiba River, Former Yukawa Residence, roadside station of Hagi Okan and so forth.
The road from Namida Matsu Ruins to Akiragi is mostly a gentle slope so it is very Hagi Okan like.

※When departing from the Namida Matsu Ruins (Namida Matsu Ruins-Akiragi)
Distance: Approximately 4.3km, Time required: Approximately 90 minutes
Nearby Bus Stops: Hagi Bus Center, Akiragi


No.2 Akiragi-Sasanami Route (Hagi)

Distance: Approximately 9km, Time required: Approximately 3 hours and 30 minutes

Akiragi and Sasanami developed as post towns for Hagi Okan and prospered as towns lined with shops. Even now, the charming townscape remains, and Sasanami City is designated as an important traditional buildings preservation district of the country. On a gentle course with an altitude difference of 300m, you can walk along a quiet mountain road while listening to the sounds of the river. The cobblestone road that the samurai walked on still remain and it is a road with high historical value that has withstood all kinds of wind and snow for about 400 years.

Nearby Bus Stops:Akiragi, Sasanami


No.3 Sasanami-Bocho Border / Border Monument (Hagi)

Distance: Approximately 7.5km, Time required: Approximately 2 hours

At the Itadou Pass, which is the highest altitude in Hagi Okan and the most difficult part of it, there is a border monument with a height of about 2 m, which is the current border of Hagi City and Yamaguchi City. Built in 1808, it continues to watch over travelers.

※The pass is at an altitude of 537m. Please take in consideration your physical condition and do not walk it if you are feeling unwell.

Nearby Bus Stop: Sasanami (* There is no bus stop in the mountains after Hinatase)


No.4 Bocho Border / Border Monument-Ouchi Mihori (Yamaguchi)

Distance: Approximately 9km, Time required: Approximately 3 hours

On this route, you’ll be walking on the ’42 curves of Ichinosaka’, a winding and difficult road on the Hagi Okan. It is believed that the road was extremely difficult for the servants at the time, who carried their lords in palanquins that the song, “Please get off my lord, this is the 42 curves of Ichinosaka” was created. In addition, we will visit the ice house that stored the then valuable commodity, ice and the ruins of Rokken Jaya (teahouse), which was a resting place for the lord.

Nearby Bus Stop: (*There is no bus stop in the mountains) Yamaguchi Prefectural Office, Yata


No.5 Ouchimihori-Sabayama Pass / County Border Monument (Yamaguchi)

Distance: Approximately 10.5km, Time required: Approximately 3 hours

On this route from downtown Yamaguchi to Hofu, an almost flat road continues to Sabayama Pass. This area is still used as a road among locals, like a side road of Route 262. As you climb the Sabayama Pass, you will find the ‘The County Border Monument’ and the ‘Emperor Meiji Monument’, which is the current border between Yamaguchi City and Hofu City.

Nearby Bus Stop: Yata, Todokita-guchi.


No.6 Sabayama Pass / County Border Monument-Miya Ichi-Mitajiri Ofunagura (Hofu)

Distance: Approximately 8.5km, Time required: Approximately 3 hours

After going over the Sabayama Pass and crossing the Saba River, you will enter Miya Ichi, home to Hofu Tenmangu Shrine, and continue to Mitajiri Ochaya (Eiunso). Eiunso is one of the three inns that the lord used when travelling on the Hagi Okan, and is currently the only one that has been restored. At the end of the Edo period, many people, such as Yoshida Shoin and Sakamoto Ryoma, traveled to various places from Mitajiri.

Nearby Bus Stop: Todokita-guchi, Hofu Station.


Precautions when trekking the Hagi Okan

  • Have a full night’s rest and eat before going on the trail.
  • Stay hydrated especially in the summer.
  • Check the weather conditions beforehand.
  • Do not trek with a hangover.
  • Be aware of pit vipers and bears.
  • There are times when you cross prefectural roads and national roads; be careful of vehicles when passing.
  • Take your garbage home.

Accommodation / Restaurant Information

Business hours, Closed days, Prices, etc. may differ from those listed; please check with the store in advance.

Roadside Station Asahi

image:Roadside Station Asahi

It is located in the center of Hagi Okan, and is close to the cityscape designated as the "Traditional Buildings Preservation District". You can have meals, take breaks, and eat rice cakes. They sell bento boxes made by locals and fresh vegetables grown in the local area.
Products such as Sasanami tofu, Akiragi miso, and Akiragi soy sauce are sold. Among the products, Koshihikari rice, known for its high quality, is popular.
In addition, carefully made woodwork and works created in the Sasanami pottery class are on sale, and many people buy souvenirs.
At the restaurant, you can taste dishes using the famous ‘Sasanami Tofu’.

Hours Cafe, light meal
10: 00 am-3: 00 pm
Stores and shops
March-October 9: 00 am-6: 00 pm
November-February 9:00 am-5:30 pm
* Monday 9: 00 am-5: 00 pm, Sunday 8: 00 am-6: 00 pm
Resting place
March-October 9: 00 am-6: 00 pm
November-February 9:00am to 5:30 pm
* Monday 9: 00 am-5: 00 pm, Sunday 8: 00 am-6: 00 pm
Closed on December 31st to January 3rd, the restaurant is closed every Monday
Address 2476-1 Sasanami, Hagi City
Phone number 0838-56-0278

Yuda Onsen UBL Hotel Matsumasa

image:Yuda Onsen UBL Hotel Matsumasa

Yuda Onsen UBL Hotel Matsumasa is a “Japanese-style hotel” that pursues the functionality and convenience of the hotel, as well as the attentive hospitality that values the Japanese spirit. It’s different from every day life, but has a homey feel. The alkaline waters of the hot springs will leave your skin feeling smooth once you take a soak. After going around all the indoor baths, you can go on to try the rotenburo (open-air bath) and shelter under its wooden ceiling and its beautiful natural decoration. Great for healing the tiredness of your trip.

Address 3-5-8 Yuda Onsen, Yamaguchi City
Telephone reception hours 9:00 am-9:00 pm
Phone number 083-922-2000
Remarks * Accommodation reservations can be made from the website.
* Please check the website for details on usage.
* Free Wi-Fi in all rooms

Where to get the cycling map

  1. Shin-Yamaguchi Station 1-chome 2-1 Ogori Reiwa, Yamaguchi
  2. Hagi Meirin Gakusha 602 Emukai, Hagi
  3. Yuda Onsen Tourist Information Center 2-chome 1-23 Yuda Onsen, Yamaguchi

DAY 3 – Yamaguchi / Yuda Onsen area