Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi

Photos by Takahiro Takiguchi ()

Hagi, the old capital of Yamaguchi Prefecture, is a historical castle city from which Japan grew to become a modern society in the late 19th century. Today, the former center retains its traditional charm and architecture in its preserved samurai houses, shrines, and monuments.

The area is a great spot to explore on a daytrip or weekend trip. If you find yourself in Hagi, make sure to drop by Hagigoyomi, as the eatery offers great deals on lunch sets featuring tasty local foods.

You’ll find the restaurant-café conveniently located inside the Meirinkan Museum, a former samurai school-turned-elementary school-turned-museum in the city center.

Despite being housed in a historical school building, I saw Hagigoyomi has a clean, cozy interior made up of a combination of Japanese and Western styles with a wooden ceiling, white walls, and wooden tables. The restaurant can accommodate up to 50 guests.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., diners can choose one of three lunch set options for 1,078 yen (about $8), featuring local cuts of meat. Options are Choshu chicken karaage, Mutsumi pork tonkatsu, and Choshu Wagyu beef yakiniku (barbecue).

Though the choices were all very attractive, I ended up picking the karaage. Each deep-fried morsel featured a perfectly crisp exterior and tender interior marinated in a flavorful soy sauce-based broth.

The set came with five pieces of chicken thigh, salad, deep fried tofu and soba soup, steamed rice and pickled bamboo shoots and cucumber.

While karaage is often enjoyed with a squeeze of lemon, soy sauce, salt or tartar sauce for dipping in Japan, I dared to use mayo. It made the very delicate, yet relatively less-flavored taste, a bit complicated to pair well with the steamed rice and soup of deep-fried tofu and soba noodles. But it was delicious. The well-flavored bamboo shoot and pickled cucumber in other small dishes were sophisticated tastes, enhancing my meal even more.

This meal was so satisfying, I can’t wait to go back and try their local pork and beef lunch options!

If you’re planning on trekking around Hagi City, Hagigoyomi is a great option to sample local delicacies in a cozy, relaxing atmosphere for a reasonable price.


Hours: (restaurant) Wed – Mon, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., 5 – 9 p.m. (café) 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Location: 602 Emukai, Hagi City, Yamaguchi Prefecture (a 2-hour drive from MCAS Iwakuni)


Tel: 0838-25-8543

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