My visit to UNESCO World Heritage Site - Himeji Castle.

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Himeji is well known for its magnificent castle, namely Himeji Castle, and its widely considered to be Japan's most beautiful surviving feudal castle. It was recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site as well as a national treasure of Japan.

A little information about Himeji, it is the second largest city of Hyogo Prefecture after Kobe, with half a million inhabitants. What makes it a popular destination for travelers is the distance from Osaka or Kyoto as a stopover on journeys along the Sanyo Shinkansen. As part of my Kansai trip, I plan for a stay in Himeji and follow by Kobe to ease my travel itinerary.

How to travel between Himeji and Osaka :-

By shinkansen

Osaka and Himeji are connected with each other by the JR Sanyo Shinkansen. Nozomi, Sakura and Hikari trains require about 30 minutes to reach Himeji Station from Shin-Osaka Station. The regular one way fare from Shin-Osaka to Himeji is 3220 yen for a non-reserved seat on any train, around 3740 yen for a reserved seat on Sakura or Hikari trains and around 3950 yen for a reserved seat on Nozomi trains. The Japan Rail Pass is valid on Sakura, Hikari and Kodama trains, but not on Nozomi trains.

By local JR trains

Direct JR special rapid trains (shin-kaisoku) take one hour and cost 1490 yen for the one way trip between Osaka (Osaka Station) and Himeji. There are departures roughly every 15 minutes. For visiting Himeji in a one day trip from Osaka using this train, the 1-Day JR West Rail Pass - Kansai Area for 2060 yen is a good deal.

By non-JR trains

Direct limited express trains from Hanshin Umeda Station to Sanyo-Himeji Station take 90 minutes and cost 1280 yen for the one way trip. Sanyo-Himeji Station is located near JR Himeji Station. While this route is slower than using JR, it is cheaper and can be used by holders of Surutto Kansai tickets.

Above fees and schedules are subject to change.

Travel around Himeji is easy, you wouldn't need any transportation from JR Himeji Station, the popular attractions such as Himeji Castle, Kokoen Garden, Otemae Street is within walking distance. However, if you are lazy to walk, there is a tourist bus that goes around the city.

I didn't manage to visit Mt. Shosha as it will takes some times to get there, you are advise to stay longer in Himeji if you're planning to visit Mt. Shosha.

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle (姫路城, Himejijō), also known as White Heron Castle (Shirasagijo) due to its elegant, white appearance, is widely considered Japan's most spectacular castle for its imposing size and beauty and its well preserved, complex castle grounds. The castle is both a national treasure and a world heritage site. Unlike many other Japanese castles, it was never destroyed by war, earthquake or fire and survives to this day as one of the country's twelve original castles.

I am not a castle person, but I made my way into the castle and it was truly amazing. You get to visit up to the top of the castle and have an overview of Himeji City!

Kokoen Garden

Kokoen (好古園, Kōkoen) is a relatively recently constructed Japanese style garden, which was opened in 1992 on the former site of of the feudal lord's west residence (Nishi-Oyashiki). It consists of nine separate, walled gardens designed in various styles of the Edo Period.

Among the gardens are the garden of the lord's residence which features a pond with a waterfall, a tea garden where visitors can enjoy green tea in a tea ceremony house, a pine tree garden, a bamboo garden and a flower garden.

Kokoen Garden located just beside Himeji Castle, entrance fees is not expensive if you purchase it together with Himeji Castle entrance ticket.

I found one interesting garden on the hill to have an overview over Himeji Castle, although a little exercise is needed for this view but it truly worth it! Find your way to Otokoyamahachimangu temple, and you will see a long stair case up to the hill. 

Follow the stair case all the way up to the hill and you will see a garden on top of it, it was chilling up on the hill. I really enjoy my times here :)

Otemae Street

This shopping street is easily access from the Himeji Station, once you step out from the station you will first amaze by the look of Himeji Castle, and you will need to walk pass by Otemae Street to reach the castle.

My first day in Himeji was raining, hence I never really get to enjoy the day. I woke up early in the morning on the next day, and I get to see such breathtaking sunrise! :)

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