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Hagi - Japan Highlights:
Shoin Shrine, Kikuya residence, Daisho-in, Pottery making,
Hagi is located very near the south western tip of Honshu Island. It was a minor fishing port until 1604 when it was fortified and became the castle town of the feudal Mori family from the early 17th century until the Meiji Restoration in the late 1800s. Today it is an intensely cultural town, best known for its 400 year old pottery making tradition.

The central Yeramachi district is the site of several temples, shrines and Samurai quarters. Visit the famous Shoin Shrine, dedicated to the memory of the renowned philosopher and educator, Yoshida Shoin. The shrine contains a replica of Shoka-Sonjuku, the small village school where Shoin taught in the 19th century before he was executed by the Tokugawa Shogunate government. From the simplicity of this village shrine, travel to the stately Kikuya residence, built in the Edo period by a rich local merchant. Continue on to Daisho-in, which is famous for its hundreds of stone lanterns carved to honour the memory of former clan lords.

Also visit a Hagi pottery kiln. Hagiware tea bowls are considered the finest in Japan, and Hagi porcelain is famous for its fine glazes and delicate pastel colours. Since only samurai were permitted to use the pottery during Japan's feudal era, potters cut notches in some of their work, so that these "spoiled" pieces could be used by common people. The Ishii Tea Museum has a fine ceramics collection.

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