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Yamaguchi City among N.Y. Times’ 52 Places to Go List for 2024

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Rurikoji temple

NEW YORK, Jan. 9 (Jiji Press) — The western Japan city of Yamaguchi has been selected among The New York Times’ list of “52 places to go in 2024.”

The city, the capital of the namesake prefecture, “is often called the Kyoto of the West, though it’s much more interesting than that,” the U.S. newspaper said.

Small winding lanes in the “compact city” with a population of about 190,000 offer “an assortment of experiences,” it said, citing such places as pottery kilns, including one situated on the grounds of the Toshunji temple, “chic” and “old-style” coffee shops and “counter-only shops” that serve “oden” hot-pot dishes, as well as the Yuda Onsen hot spring area.

The paper also praised the “stunning” five-story pagoda at the Rurikoji temple, designated as a national treasure by the Japanese government.

“Given the tourist crush in Kyoto, Yamaguchi has also been offering a smaller scale—but no less historic—alternative to Kyoto’s Gion summer festival for some 600 years,” the paper said, noting that the Yamaguchi’s Gion festival takes place in July, like the Kyoto festival.

The northeastern Japan city of Morioka, the capital of Iwate Prefecture, which made it into The New York Times’ 2023 list of 52 places to go around the world, came into the spotlight as it attracted a flurry of visitors from abroad following the release of the list.