The westernmost prefecture of Honshu, Yamaguchi Prefecture (山口県, Yamaguchi-ken) played a vital role during the Meiji Restoration (known then as Choshu), overthrowing the Tokugawa shogunate and establishing the new imperial government. As a result of its political influence, four of Japan’s first nine Prime Ministers were from Yamaguchi.
Shimonoseki serves as the western gateway to Japan’s main island from Kyushu, as the Kanmon Bridge, running between Shimonoseki and Moji, Fukuoka, connects the two islands. A marker for the site of the decisive Battle of Dannoura in 1185 can be found near it. Just off the coast is Ganryuu-jima, the site of the legendary duel between Japan’s greatest swordsmen, Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro. If you like Japanese history, Yamaguchi is the place for you.
Other places of note include Ruriko Temple and the Hagi Castle Town, while Tsunoshima-ohashi and Kintai-kyo are two of Japan’s most scenic bridges.