By Jerome Lee
Hagi has no shortage of hotels but if you feel like pampering yourself a bit, look no further than the Hotel Resort Mihagi, a stone's throw from both the Kikugahama area and the historic castle district.
You'll notice the beach as soon as you enter the hotel, as it can be seen from the large pictures windows in both the lobby and the hotel's on-site restaurant. You'll see the sand again from your room, as every single room in the resort faces the ocean. The hotel offers both Japanese and Western style rooms - no matter which you pick, you'll find they both have ample space to spread out and kick back, as well as having private toilet and large bathrooms attached. Yukata (cloth robes) are provided to all guests, and if the size in the room doesn't seem to suit you, there is a stack of robes to choose from out in the hallway as well.
One of the highlights of the property is the attached onsen. The bath itself is a natural hotspring, though livened up a little by the option of turning on the jets to add some bubbles to various sections. While sadly, there is no rotemburo (outdoor onsen) to enjoy, the views from the indoor bathing area are stellar in clear weather.
Most packages at the hotel include dinner and breakfast, both of which are served in the first floor dining area. Dinner was a generous kaiseki style spread - the offerings ranged from sashimi and selection of tiny appetizers to simmered beef and vegetables, perfectly grilled fish and a small cup of soup served in a shephard's pie-like pastry. Dessert featured Hagi's famous citrus fruit, the slightly tart natsumikan. Breakfast was equally enjoyable (and equally filling) with more sashimi, salad, grilled fish, egg, rice and several small seaweed-based appetizer options.
The best part of the hotel is its central location. Step out the front door and you are just meters away from the old Hagi castle district. The streets here still retain the feel of years past, but are dotted with cafes, restaurants and pottery studios to interest the modern day visitor. A short walk to the west are the remains of Hagi Castle itself, and even more incredible beach views. You'll never be short of things to do in this laid-back coastal city in western Honshu.
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