This is a small cemetery that I stumbled across while visiting Hagi. I had gone up to the castle grounds and had planned to buy some hagi yaki (pottery from Hagi – it’s quite well-known and has a distinctive look). However, when I went to pay for my purchases I realised that I had left my wallet back at the hostel, so I very reluctantly left to go get it (even though I knew the shops would probably be closed by the time I got back). However, I decided to go back a different route than normal, and when I was passing what I thought was a park, I discovered that it was, in fact, another cemetery to a Mori warlord.
The warlord in question is Terumoto Mori and his wife, as well as one of Mori’s retainers, Motofusa Nagai, who killed himself after his master died in 1625 (a common occurrence it seems, here in Japan). Mori and his wife have 5-layered “Gorintou” stone graves, surrounded by a tamagaki (a fence), as well as a torii gate and multiple stone lanterns (called ishidoro), similar to the ones at the other Mori cemeteries. Off to the side of the Mori graves is the one to Nagai, the loyal retainer. Apparently he had a beloved cat who was so overcome with grief after his master died, he bit his tongue out of grief and died too. The street in Hagi where Nagai used to live is now called Neko-no-cho, or “Cat Town.” Despite this story, there is no memorial to the cat there.
This cemetery was full of old trees, and provided a really nice, shady place to wander around. Apparently it used to be the Mori residence, which was in turn changed into a temple (Tenjuin) and cemetery after his death, but now all that remains is the cemetery (Tenjuin was torn down in 1869).
Monuments: The only monuments here are to Terumoto Mori and his wife and retainer. He died 30 years prior to the establishment of the cemeteries at Daishōin and Tōkōji which probably explains why he is buried here and not at those cemeteries.
Grounds: The cemetery is pretty small and flat, with easy paths to walk on and lots of trees for shade. The only stairs are those leading to the graves themselves. It only takes about 5 minutes to visit the entire site.
Visitors: There was nobody here when I visited. I imagine it’s not high on anyone’s wish list of places to visit in Hagi.
Photographer notes: Lots of dappled light here, and all the trees can make the light levels a bit low.
Cemetery: Tenjuin Mausoleum (not sure why they chose the word mausoleum for this site)
Internments: Terumoto Mori, his wife, and the retainer Nagai
Location: South-east of Hagi castle in Horiuchi-ku. It does show up on the local maps.
Hours: seems to be open 24/7