Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Lodging: multiple
Tourist Office: in the station building and next to the castle park
Of interest: Himeji Castle (world heritage site)
Internet Access: In the tourist office for 100 yen/15 minutes

Himeji is mainly known for its castle, a world heritage site. The entrance to the castle area is about 20 minutes walk from Himeji station through the downtown area. Expect to spend at least an hour going through the site.

Make sure you stop by one of the tourist offices. They have maps and information in English. Also, the videos they show are informative even if you don`t understand Japanese. The tourist office near the castle rents bikes, and the tourist office in the train station rents computer access. The computers in the station are good, but you have to stand.

Himeji City is the western most extent of the Sanyo Railway, a company with mulitple lines that serves a large part of Hyogo Prefecture and parts of Osaka. All day tickets are 1400 yen. The train from Himeji to downtown Osaka is around 1200 yen.

Himeji is a stop on the Sanyo Shinkansen. This train takes three hours to get to Tokyo going one way and two hours to get to Hakata going the other. Intermediate stops include Shin-Osaka (forty-five minutes) and Kyoto (an hour and a half) to the east and Hiroshima (one hour) to the east.

Of these destinations, ShinOsaka(one hour) and Kyoto (an hour and a half) can be reached by express train. In fact, the shinkansen takes the same amount of time to get to Kyoto as the express trains do. Express trains stop at both ShinOsaka and Osaka Stations. Regular trains only stop at Osaka Station and take about an hour and a half to get there.

Express trains head to Tottori Prefecture on the opposite coast, taking an hour and a half to get to Tottori City and two hours to get to Kurayoshi (Tottori).

Local trains make frequent twenty minute trips between Himeji and Aioi in western Hyogo Prefecture.

All trains are operated by JR West.

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