Top things to do

Top Choice Park in Yamaguchi

Kōzan-kōen

North of the town centre is Kōzan Park, where the five-storey pagoda of Rurikō-ji (瑠璃光寺), a National Treasure dating from 1442, is picturesquely situated beside a small lake. Its eaves are lit up dramatically at nig…
Top Choice Cultural Centre in Yamaguchi

Saikotei

This handsome building was originally a high-end restaurant named Gion Saikotei from 1878 to 1996. In 2004 it was converted into this cultural museum, where you can observe or learn calligraphy, wear a kimono/yukata…
Top Choice Cafe in Yamaguchi

Sabō Kō

A cosy atmosphere prevails in this low-ceilinged little eatery, where customers perch on wooden stools sipping coffee. The speciality on the Japanese-only menu is the generous, rustic omuraisu (omelette filled with …
Top Choice Italian in Yamaguchi

Mottimo Pasta Yuda Onsen

In Yuda Onsen, Mottimo offers a variety of Japanese twists on Italian faves, including eight kinds of delicious hot, buttery, flavoured bread sticks (think honey, basil and custard cream!), a small selection of pizz…
Church in Yamaguchi

St Francis Xavier Memorial Church

Built in 1952 in honour of St Francis Xavier, this church burned down in 1991 and was rebuilt in 1998 with a clinically modern interior and geometric stained-glass windows. Sitting above the town in Kameyama-kōen, i…
Dance in Yamaguchi

Gion Matsuri

During the Gion Matsuri, dedicated to warding off demons, the Sagi-mai (Egret Dance) is held at Yasaka-jinja on 20 July. On 24 July, Yamaguchi's streets come alive with 20m-high hand-pulled floats, 1000 dancers and …
Historic Building in Yamaguchi

Yamaguchi Furusato Heritage Centre

The ground floor of this 1886 sake-merchant building (Manabi-kan; まなび館) has a small display of local crafts, including some Ōuchi dolls (lacquerware speciality of Yamaguchi), and the building itself is interesting. …
Buddhist Temple in Yamaguchi

Jōei-ji

This temple is notable for its simple, stone-dotted Zen garden, Sesshutei, designed by the painter Sesshū. From the garden, a trail leads uphill through the woods to several more temples. About 4km northeast of JR Y…
Gallery in Yamaguchi

Yamaguchi Prefectural Art Museum

This interesting gallery focuses on the art of the region, with three rooms showing work from its varied permanent collection; leafy grounds featuring modern sculpture; and regular special exhibitions (admission ext…
Museum in Yamaguchi

Christian Museum

The ground-floor Christian museum in the St Francis Xavier Memorial Church covers the life of the namesake Jesuit missionary and the early history of Christianity in Japan, mostly in Japanese only.