Himeji Travel Guide
One of Western Japan’s prized jewels, Himeji Castle stands strong over six hundred years after its construction. It has miraculously survived WW II bombing which destroyed over half of the city of Himeji. It is Japan’s largest and most visited castle, and is rightly a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The main feature of Himeji is no doubt the castle; however there are also some other sights, including gardens and temples. The castle is a quick 60 minute train ride East from Osaka, and 45 minutes from Kobe.
Himeji Restaurants & Food
Experience Local dining
Bisyokudokoro Dining Toyosawa
158 Hotel Himeji Plaza 1F, Toyosawa-cho, Himeji-city, 670-0912
Himeji abounds with good local dining, should you have the itch for some fresh water eel (unagi) then slide on over to the Bishokudokoro for their signature unagi dishes. Also try the local favorite red sea bream with rice.
It is located just South of JR Himeji station, directly across the street from Himeji Nikko Hotel.
18 TAISEI PRIDE Building 2F, Uomachi, Himeji-city, 670-0905
This quaint & clean little restaurant has a very warm and inviting atmosphere, and is located just a couple blocks north of JR Himeji station. The chef and owners at Makato focus their menu around healthy ingredients and locally caught seafood. Obviously the tempura comes highly recommended.
68 Honmachi, Himeji-city, 670-0012
Hand-made Udon, need we say more? Menme may not be the best udon you’ve had in your life but it certainly is satisfying and inexpensive. It is located right in front of the Himeji complex at Honmachi.
Himeji Sightseeing & Attractions
Our top picks of things to see and do
The prize of this Castle town and in fact all of Japan, Himeji Castle is considered by many to be THE most grand and beautiful castle of all Japan, more than Osaka or Matsumoto. Arguing aside, the castle is tremendous and if at all possible best viewed during the Spring time when it takes on its most picturesque form. However if you can’t make it during the brief 4 week Cherry Blossom Season by all means you should still go regardless of the time of year.
Built in 1333 Himeji castle is the only Japanese castle which still stands in its original form, not having been destroyed and rebuilt as with other castles. This is amazing to behold as the castle has endured WWII, many great earthquakes, typhoons, and other conflicts and natural disasters.
Note: From now until mid March 2015 the main keep of Himeji is undergoing major renovations and is completely covered in scaffolding. The keep is the prime point of interest, so travelers may not even want to go at all.
Active explores will enjoy a nice mountain hike up Mt. Shosha to the Engyou-ji Temple which sits at its top. For those who wimp out or are not so inclined you can take the t Shosha Ropeway a two station aerial lift which takes 4 minutes each way and only goes half way up the mountain.
Engyou-ji Temple is part of a fairly large sprawling complex, which is shrouded in thick foliage, making for an enjoyable atmosphere.
There are many buildings to see including three very large wood temple halls: Daikodo, Jikido and Jogyodo. Travelers will be interested to note that the Daikodo hall was used in the filming of The Last Samurai.
Detached from Himeji Castle by the mote, but still part of the complex is the charming Kokoen Garden. The garden is extremely new, just having been built in 1992. After climbing Mt Shosha you’ll find the Kokoen a suitable space for chilaxing and resting your legs whilst sipping on a cup of macha (green tea) and nibbling on a wagashi (Japanese desert eaten with tea).
Himeji Hotels & Accommodations
Cheapest and best places to stay
Hotel Wing International Himeji
132 Watamachi, Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture 670-0921, Japan
Located right at the steps of the Himeji Castle complex, the Hotel Wing International is brilliantly convenient. It is half a mile north of Himeji Station, so a tax ride is in order from the station unless you don't have much luggage.
The rooms are rather small however they are very cheaply priced and surprisingly modern and fresh.
Features and amneities are few, but that shouldn't bother travelers as one only needs to stay in Himeji a few days anyway.
Single Occupant: $70
Double Occupant: $100
Chisun Inn Himeji Yumesakibashi
3-5 Nishiyumesakidai, Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture 671-2214, Japan
If you want a bargain then waste no time and book your room at Chisun before someone else does!
This is a small and quaint hotel, with rooms simple but yet still modern. Service and breakfast are very good and there is nothing really to complain about this hotel (seeing as it is dirty cheap), aside from the noticeably inconvenient location. The nearest transport is a bus stop 100 yards away, so you do not have a train station at your door stop. The hotel is about three miles East of the Himeji complex.
Single Occupant: $60
Double Occupant: $80
Hotel Claire Higasa
22 Junishomaecho, Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture 670-0911, Japan (Himeji Station)
This family owned Hotel is quaint yet still professional, giving the traveler a laid back relaxing feel. The Claire Hisaga is perfectly located between Himeji Station and the Himeji Complex, being about a 5 minute walk North of the Station.
The rooms are clean, slightly modern albeit plain. If you are more than one traveler and wish to share a room you must upgrade to the 'japanese style' room which costs $150. Therefore it is best suited for people traveling alone.
The hotel offers a tasty traditional breakfast with local veggies and fresh fish.
Single Occupant: $75
Double Occupant: $150
Train from Tokyo to Himeji
Depart from Tokyo Station via the Shinkansen NOZOMI 123, bound for Himeji Station.
Time: 189 minutes
Cost: 15,710 yen
Train from Osaka to Himeji
Depart from Osaka Station (Umeda), via JR Special Rapid Service, bound for Himeji Station.
Time: 63 minutes
Cost: 1,450 yen