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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hagi Castle Ruins

If you have read my previous posts, you know that I am an American who is crazy for Japanese history.

Hagi Castle Ruins, Yamaguchi

When my daughter and I visited Hagi it was because I was in a Mori Motonari phase. I wanted to see Hagi Castle Ruins, the place where Motonari's grandson and heir had lived.

Mori Terumoto had been forced to leave Hiroshima because he had supported Mitsunari's side during the Battle of Sekigahara. He built Hagi Castle in 1604 and the Mori ruled the domain for about 260 years.

Three cats at Hagi Castle, Yamaguchi

The castle grounds were very quiet. I touched the rock walls that remained, and as we moved forward I saw three cats sunning themselves on a wooden bench. "Three cats, just like the three Mori brothers who stuck together," I told Amanda. We decided to climb to the tsumemaru, or citadel, which sat atop Mt Shizuki, elevation 143m. The elevation meant nothing to this American raised on inches, feet, yards, and miles.

Mt Shizuki path at Hagi Castle

I had in my possession a piece of Hagi ware, a rather large and lovely vase I had purchased in the city. It was fairly heavy and I thought about setting it down and coming back to get it later. My daughter thought we might not return to the same spot, so I put the vase inside my backpack. Aaaarrrgh! What a mistake!

The trail up the mountainside was uneven and rough, necessitating extra steps here and there and caution where the path was muddy. We kept going, up and up, and I breathed very hard and sweated under the weight of the Hagi ware.

Top of Mt Shizuki, Hagi Castle, Yamaguchi

How long had it taken the Mori vassals to get up and down this mountain? When we reached the top I rested. Then there appeared a man in business attire who had obviously been climbing behind us. He looked perfectly groomed and refreshed, not disheveled and exhausted like me. For him, the trek had been no trouble at all.

Hagi's many attractions include its beautiful walls, the historic Meirin Elementary SchoolShoin Shrine, the Takayoshi Kido residenceKikugahama Beach, a tour boat of Hagi and Ito Hirobumi's Residence.

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