Nagato is one of my favorite places in Yamaguchi Prefecture! It is about 2.5 hours away from Iwakuni by car, which makes it a great day trip destination.
There are more than just a few reasons to visit Nagato, but the most famous of all now is probably the Motonosumi-inari Shrine. This shrine by the sea has 123 red Torii gates you can walk through as you enjoy beautiful views of the ocean.
The colors are stunning when it's a beautiful day, and in the summer months it's even more spectacular because everything is so green!
After you finish walking around and enjoying the wonderful views, be sure to try your hand at getting some money into the offer box at the top of the Torii gate located right across from the parking lot. I usually use whatever I have in my wallet, besides a one yen coin (too light).....and it usually takes me a few tries. Okay, it may have taken me 6 or more tries my very first time. I wouldn't have felt so down about it if the guy before me didn't get it in there on his first try! Really?! Having an audience didn't help matters much either (so much pressure!), but I did finally make it and my audience actually cheered for me!
They do have parking right across the entrance. The first couple of times I went there were hardly any other cars in the lot, but when I went a couple of weeks ago the parking was completely full. Luckily someone started to leave right as I was trying to figure out what to do. Also, the road leading to the shrine can get pretty narrow in some spots. There was a tour bus there a couple of weeks ago so it's not crazy narrow, but I am really glad I didn't run into that bus on my way there or on my way out.
This shrine is not stroller friendly as there are steps walking down through the Torii gates.
Another place to check out in Nagato is Senjojiki, which means one thousand tatami mats. I believe that is to describe how large of a space it is, and it's pretty large. I would say more than a thousand tatami mats large, but I do like the name. The views from here are pretty amazing! There is also plenty of space to throw down a blanket and have a nice picnic lunch or just relax for a little bit. I saw a few benches around the area too so there were definitely plenty of places to have a seat and take it all in.
Senjojiki is not too far from the Motonosumi-inari Shrine and it has a good amount of parking.
Be sure to explore the area and enjoy the views!
If you like boat tours, there is one in Nagato that goes around Omijima. There are different tours to choose from, but the one that goes all the way around Omijima can get canceled depending on how rough the waters are. The day I went, the waters were too rough for the full tour so I just did the short tour. It was still very beautiful and the rock formations were really neat too.
I don't recommend sitting at the very front of the boat. The views are not so great and when we hit a rough patch, I'm pretty sure the front of the boat got the worst of it. They do have an area in the back where you can go out to enjoy the views and take pictures.
There are some other really great places to explore in Nagato, and I hope this helps you plan your own day trip to explore the other side of Yamaguchi Prefecture!