Journey to Find Yourself From Matsudaya Hotel and Yudaonsen a Favorite of Patriots at the End of the Shogunate

Review of Matsudaya Hotel | Yuda Onsen 3-6-7
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Yudaonsen Town has a long history in the entertainment district close to the center of Yamaguchi City in Yamaguchi Prefecture. It has flourished by receiving patronage from great people throughout the centuries such as in the Muromachi Period by the Ouchi Clan and from the warring states era to Meiji Period b the Mouri Clan. By the end of the Shogunate, many patriots of the Meiji Restoration from Choshu, Satsuma and Tosa frequented the town making it a historically important place. The inn we visit this time, Matsudaya Hotel was established in 1675, making it one the longest established onsen inns around. Here they have a bath called the Ishin no Yu which was used by those loyalists of the restoration.

Matsudaya Hotel where you can feel the breath of history and its class and hospitality

journey to find yourself from matsudaya hotel and yudaonsen a favorite of patriots at the end of the shogunate | matsudaya hotel where you can feel the breath of history and its class and hospitality

On the Prefectural Route 204 in the Yudaonsen Town, there stands an impressive building with more than 300 years of history, the long established Matsudaya Hotel! The exterior and large spacious grounds exude class. There is a luxuriousness about this place.

Matsudaya Hotel was established during the Edo Period. It is said that when first built the inn had a Japanese rock garden. Currently there is a Japanese garden with a pond in the centre. This garden is impressive on its own.

The Matsudaya Hotel doesn’t just have a long history but was loved by Meiji Restoration loyalists and has become a part of the overall history of Japan. This time we look at this inn from that perspective.

For information about reservation please check the link in the memo section below.

An important cultural asset where you can still feel the presence of the loyalists

journey to find yourself from matsudaya hotel and yudaonsen a favorite of patriots at the end of the shogunate | an important cultural asset where you can still feel the presence of the loyalists

At the Matsudaya Hotel lounge there is a library and a room for documents specific to the restoration open for guests as well as visitors to Yudaonsen. In the glass cases are rare and important documents and exhibits that will surprise you.

One of the more interesting pieces was which belonged to Takasugi Shinsaku, called Yuukoku no Kaede (Maple of a patriot). Takasugi Shinsaku frequented Matsudaya to secretly plan how to overthrow the Shogunate, and in 1863 it is said he carved words into the maple that was next to the entrance of Matsudaya. There is no concrete evidence of this happening and it was not verified by the TV show which verifies antiques. For more details please ask the hotel staff.

In the trunk of that tree it is carved “Kokka ni tsukusu toki nari” (It is time to devote yourself to county).

Apparently this trunk was found by coincidence.

At this hotel there are other new findings of treasures recently, for history buffs this is a place that deserves a spot on the bucket list.

Ishin no Yu. A bath that stands to this day from that time when the loyalists bathed here

journey to find yourself from matsudaya hotel and yudaonsen a favorite of patriots at the end of the shogunate | ishin no yu. a bath that stands to this day from that time when the loyalists bathed here

At Matsudaya the Ishin no Yu bath tub is the same one that was built in 1860. It is said that men such as Tosa’s Takasugi Shinsaku, Kido Takayosh, Takamori Saigo, Ookubo Toshimichi, Sakamoto Ryōma, Hirobumi Ito, Oomura Masujirou, as well as Sanetomi Sanjyo met in secret to overthrow the Shogunate to restore the imperial throne.

Legend has it they bathed in this tub pictured above to do this. The bath runs to this day, and you can reserve it to bathe as a family (normally only hotel guests can use it. For details please check the memo section).

It is exciting to think that Sakamoto Ryōma, Takamori Saigo, and Takasugi Shinsaku bathed here.

From the rock garden to current by the 7th generation gardener Ogawa Jihei

journey to find yourself from matsudaya hotel and yudaonsen a favorite of patriots at the end of the shogunate | from the rock garden to current by the 7th generation gardener ogawa jihei

The library at Matsudaya is built so that you can head to the garden after taking in all the history. The current garden is a garden with a pond in the center and has a three level waterfall, an island and even a red pine tree that was planted by Sanjou Sanetomi and was featured in Shiba Ryoutarou’s “Kaido wo Yuku Choshuji”.

This garden redone by the 7th generation gardener Ogawa Jihei in early Taisho Period. He was the gardener that oversaw construction of the garden at elder statesman Yamagata Aritomo’s summer house Murinan as well as the garden at Heian Jingu Shrine. Both Yamagata and Ogawa frequented Matsudaya so it is thought that on one of these trips he redid everything. In the pond are some beautiful Koi fish. If you would like to feed the Koi please discuss it with hotel staff.

It is easy to get swept up in the romanticism of the history and the beauty of the garden.

The meeting place of Saigo, Kido, and Okubo to discuss how to overthrow the Shogunate

the meeting place of saigo, kido, and okubo to discuss how to overthrow the shogunate

One thing that you can’t pass up out of all the historical sites here at Matsudaya Hotel I is the meeting place of Saigo, Kido, and Okubo which is in the garden. In 1867 Satsuma’s Saigo, Okubo, Komatsu and others met in Yamaguchi and stayed at Chinryutei, to confirm the Satchō Alliance and the details of how to overthrow the Shogunate. At that time it said that Kido, and Ito from Choshu staying at Matsudaya.

In the garden at Matsudaya there is a place that remains to this day as the place where 6 members of both envoys met. It leaves you to wonder what kinds of discussions were being held during such a historical meeting. At Matsudaya there are many artifacts from those days so we suggest making time to check them out.

It’s possible just to visit the library and museum without being a guest here

Even if you are staying somewhere else you can visit the important library. Just make sure you tell the staff and view the artifacts in a well-mannered fashion. It would be a shame to disrespect the amazing hospitality of the hotel.

You will be moved by the thorough and detailed hospitality of the staff. It is indicative of how much the staff treasure these artifacts.

It is the part of the hotel that makes you want to stay here the next time you visit. If you are planning a trip to Yudaonsen you definitely have to stop by.

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