Yamaguchi: Samurai Residence Reborn as Guesthouse

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Guesthouse owner Masashi Yanai shows the inside of Tsubaki-An.

HAGI, Yamaguchi — A former samurai residence that is more than 150 years old has recently been reborn as a lodging facility in the castle town of Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The house, which once served as a Hagi pottery shop, had been vacant for the past seven years. The owner, Masashi Yanai, 44, decided to use the structure in cooperation with local businesses.

Tsubaki-An opened for business in mid-July.

Hagi was formerly overseen by the Choshu clan, which played a major role in the overthrow of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The district around the guesthouse with samurai residences, called Kikuya-Yokocho, is one of the city’s most popular tourist spots.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Guesthouse Tsubaki-An, left, in the Kikuya-Yokocho district of castle town Hagi, Yamaguchi Prefecture

The one-story wooden house has an area of 187 square meters. It is divided into two rooms, one that sleeps five people. The other can accommodate six people and has a view of the garden. The thick beams and pillars are typical of old Japanese-style houses, and the soot on the earthen walls has been left as is.

“Tsubaki-An is a unique guesthouse that conveys the atmosphere of the castle town,” Yanai said. “I hope guests will relax here.”

Rates vary; one plan costs ¥33,000 per night for two adults on weekdays and includes breakfast.