Himeji Itinerary - A Travel Guide Blog

Day Trip to Himeji Itinerary: A Travel Guide Blog

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Don’t miss to visit Himeji Castle on your trip to the Kansai region. It is one of the Top Premier castles in Japan and is well-preserved. Use this Himeji travel guide blog to plan your Himeji itinerary!

Himeji Castle is a popular attraction located in Hyogo Prefecture. It is also known as the White Heron due to its beautiful white exterior and its imposing hilltop location. Unlike most castles that have been destroyed and reconstructed over the centuries, Himeji Castle is one of the very few original ones.

We visited Himeji (姫路市) as part of our travel itinerary using the JR Kansai Wide Area Pass. Although there isn’t much to do in Himeji, still, visitors come to Himeji just to be mesmerized by the castle’s beauty. It is a popular destination and is considered one of the most beautiful castles in the country. During our visit, we found the Himeji Castle to be one of our favorite castles, and we also enjoyed Kokoen Garden, which was one of our favorite Japanese gardens.

If you plan on visiting Himeji, be sure to check out our detailed Himeji travel guide blog for all the information you need to plan your Himeji day trip itinerary.

How To Get to Himeji

How To Get To Himeji

Himeji Castle is located in Hyogo prefecture and makes for an easy day trip from Osaka or Kyoto. One way from Osaka to Himeji took you about 30 minutes to 1.5 hour depending on the train. The best option for long-distance travel is the Shinkansen.

From Shin-Osaka Station (新大阪駅) to Himeji:

  • By Local JR Rapid Train: Take the Tokaido-Sanyo Line rapid train to go to Himeji Station. It’ll take about 1 hour and 8 minutes and cost around ¥1,520 for one-way.
  • By Shinkansen: Take the shinkansen to Himeji Station. This will take about 30 minutes and cost around ¥3,500 for one way.

From Kyoto Station (京都駅) to Himeji:

  • By Local JR Rapid Train: Take the Tokaido-Sanyo Line rapid train to go to Himeji Station. It’ll take about 1 hour and 30 minutes and cost around ¥2,310 for one way.
  • By Shinkansen: Direct Shinkansen take around 55 minutes to reach Himeji from Kyoto.

Tour to Himeiji: Himeji can be visit on your own. But if you prefer to have a guide, you may be interested to join the guided tour. Check out the Himeji Castle, Arima Onsen and Mt. Rokko Day Tour from Osaka.

Money Saving Transport Pass to Himeji

If you’re planning to visit Himeji and want to save money and time on transportation, there are many transport passes that you can use. Consider to purchase one of the Japan transport passes listed below if you plan to travel long distances during your Japan itinerary.

Here is a list of transportation passes that you can consider:

Take note there are some limitation based on the transport pass to get to Himeji. The Japan Rail Pass is valid on Sakura, Hikari and Kodama trains, but not on Nozomi trains.

Meanwhile, the JR Kansai Wide Area Pass and JR Kansai Hiroshima Pass are valid on all trains did not cover the Shinkansen route between Kyoto and Shin-Osaka. Alternatively, you can take the local JR train from Kyoto Stationto to Shin-Osaka Station, and then transfer to Shinkansen to Himeji Station.

You can visit Himeji Castle on your own or you can book a guided tour through Klook.

Getting Around in Himeji City

Once you arrived Himeji, the broad Otemae-dori Street leads straight from JR Himeji Station to Himeji Castle. It is about a 20-minute walk from the train station.

You can also take the bus to Himejijo Otemonmae stop from Himeji Station. The bus stop is located in front of the station and it costs ¥100 for one way.

Where To Stay in Himeji

Himeji City is a charming town located in Hyogo Prefecture, approximately 100km west of Osaka. Most visitors usually take a day trip to Himeji and then return to Osaka or Kyoto. However, if you prefer the relaxing atmosphere of a small town, we would recommend staying overnight.

There are plenty of good and affordable accommodation options in Himeji. The majority of hostels and hotels are located near Himeji Station. Here are our top recommendations:

High Range: Hotel Monterey Himeji – If you are looking for a luxurious stay near the train station, Hotel Monterey Himeji is an excellent choice. The rooms are spacious, clean, and comfortable, providing everything you need for a short stay. Guests can also enjoy a public hot bath to relax. You can experience luxury accommodation at a reasonable price.

Mid-RangeRichmond Hotel Himeji – This hotel is another great option for those wanting to stay in Himeji. The rooms are simple and modern, providing a comfortable stay in Himeji. The hotel is located just south of Himeji Station.

Mid-Budget: Tabist Capsule Hotel APODS Himeji Station – They offer affordable all-male and all-female dorms with clean facilities and all necessary amenities. The capsule hotel is conveniently located in front of Himeji Station.

What To Do on Himeji Day Trip Itinerary

What To Do for Himeji Itinerary

We only had half a day to explore Himeji, so we didn’t plan to visit many places on our Himeji itinerary. Our primary focus was on visiting Himeji Castle and the Koko-en Garden, which can easily take around 3 to 4 hours.

If you plan to continue your trip to other parts of Japan, consider visiting Kobe, Okayama, or even Hiroshima. These places are great travel destinations.


Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle Itinerary

When in Himeji City, visiting the Himeji Castle is a must-do for your itinerary.

Unlike other castles in Japan, Himeji Castle (姫路城) stands out for its unique and famous brilliant white color. Most Japanese castles have white walls and dark roofs, but Himeji Castle has light gray roofs, which give it a clean and minimalistic all-white look. It’s no wonder that this castle is known as “Hakurojo” or the “White Heron Castle”. It looks different and stands out from other Japanese castles.

Himeji Itinerary - A Travel Guide Blog

Himeji Castle, one of the few original castles in Japan, was constructed between 1601 and 1609.

Despite facing battles and political unrest with feudal lords, the castle survived through the years. It is rated as one of the Top Three Japan Premier Castles, alongside Kumamoto Castle and Matsumoto Castle. Himeji Castle is the most famous and visited castle in Japan, with almost three million visitors each year.

Related Read:

Himeji Travel Guide Blog

The Himeji Castle’s main building has a total of seven floors (including a basement) and surrounded by several keeps, moats, and defensive stone-brick walls.

Inside Himeji Castle Building

Inside Himeji Castle

Walk the castle grounds to imagine life in feudal Japan. You can also get a little help picturing ancient times. You can opt to go inside and explore the building which I recommend.

Wooden Floor in Himeji Castle

Like other castles in Japan, the interior of the Himeji Castle is empty and devoid of furniture.

Display inside Himeji Castle

However, there are some noteworthy architectural features and displays to observe as you navigate through the various floors in the castle.

Himeji Castle Building

The castle gets more and more narrow as you reach the top and the stairs get steeper, but you get a nice view at the top.

View from Himeji Castle

Enjoy the nice view from Himeji Castle at the top.

You’ll need a few hours to explore the area as this place is huge. So be sure to plan your Himeji itinerary accordingly if you want to spend time on the historical building.

Wooden Structure of Himeji Castle

Entrance to the castle is ¥1,000 for adults. But you can get a combination ticket for the Himeji Castle and Koko-en Garden at ¥1,050. This is truly a great deal and you can spend time to see the Japanese garden.

Himeji Castle, one of the top historical attractions in Hyogo Prefecture
Operating Hours: Daily from 9:00 to 17:00 (last entry at 16:00)
Admission: ¥1,000 for the Castle only and ¥1,050 for the Castle and Koko-en Garden
Estimated Time to Spend: At least 2-3 hours.

Getting there: Walk 20 minutes from the JR Himeji Station or take the bus to Himejijo Otemonmae stop from Himeji Station (¥100 for one way)

Koko-en Garden

Kokoen Garden

Just a short walk from the west of the castle’s main gate (Otemon Gate), you’ll find another beautiful Japanese Garden.

The Koko-en Garden (好古園) was established in 1620, after the construction of Himeji Castle. The garden was built next to the Castle. The garden was the former site of the Nishi-Oyashiki, the feudal lord’s West Residence area.

The tranquil Koko-en Garden has nine different themes. Stroll along the meandering walking paths will take you through the different sections of the garden. There is a large central pond with a bridge that makes for a nice photo spot. Taking a stroll through the grounds is one of the most relaxing things to do in Himeji.

I’ve been to a few gardens in Japan, but Koko-en was one of my favorites. Although it isn’t as big or impressive as Kenroku-en in Kanazawa, I found its design to be pleasant and relaxing. I was particularly impressed by the surrounding area, which is surrounded by this amazing park and makes for a picturesque stroll.

Koko-en Garden (好古園)
Address: 68 Honmachi, Himeji, Hyogo 670-0012, Japan
Opening Hours: Daily from 9:00 to 17:00 (Last entry 16:30)
Admission Fee: for garden only and ¥1,050 for the Castle and Koko-en Garden
Estimated Time to Spend: At least 1 hour.

Overall: A Visit to Himeji Castle

Visit Himeji Castle

All in all, a visit to Himeji is worth it!

There are many beautiful castles in Japan and some of them can be very similar. But we would highly recommended you visit the Himeji Castle. The castle revered as perhaps one of the most spectacular castle in Japan because of its size, beauty, and remarkable state of preservation. This castle is about 1 hour train ride from Osaka, so it’s a good place to visit if you’re nearby!

Planning for visiting nearby area along with your Himeji trip? Check out our travel stories.

Traveling to Osaka:

Traveling to Kyoto Prefecture:

Hyogo Prefecture (Kobe, Kinosaki Onsen) and Okayama Prefecture (Okayama City and Kurashiki):