After recuperating from our long, hot trip to Rabbit Island the day before, we had one more significantly easier day trip from Osaka to do. It was to Himeji Castle.
We took a local train to Himeji from Shin-Osaka for about $16ow and in less than two hours we were there.
Arriving at the station one can see the castle in the distance looking very imposing indeed.
Once exiting the train station, it’s a very easy walk to get to the castle. Either walk up the broad avenue towards the castle, take a bus, a cab if you’re lazy, or do what we did: walk through the covered shopping area that is parallel to the main drag keeping in the shade most of the way. It’s about a twenty-minute walk or so and when it’s 90plus, it’s good to escape the sun for that time.
Exiting the covered walkway, we then had to walk a block or so, cross a busy street, and then follow the crowds to the front of the castle entrance. By the time we arrived at the entrance to the castle we were sweating, and hoped for coolness inside the building.
There are two options available for entrance: either 1000yen (about $10) for the castle only, or for 1400yen (about $14) one can see the gardens to the left of the castle as well. We opted for the garden/castle combo because I had read that the gardens were beautiful and for $4 I wasn’t going to miss them.
Entering the castle entrance, there are some great photo ops for awesome shots but very little shade.
Once entering the structure of the castle itself, everyone must remove their shoes and carry them for the remainder of the visit. And by ‘Visit’ I mean a climb of five or six stories on wooden stairs that get narrower and steeper as one reaches the top.
There is really nothing to see except the view from the windows. There is an app available that one can download and which I believe provides some historical information. We didn’t do that, though. So basically we just followed the crowd up to the top and then followed them back down to the bottom.
Luckily, inside the castle it was cool-ish and there was a lovely breeze that came in through the open windows the higher we went. Thank god.
This is not a place for people suffering from claustrophobia or the inability to climb up six flights of very narrow stairs.
But everyone who gets to the top wins a prize! Not really.
But it does provide some beautiful views.
After exiting the castle grounds, we walked along the moat to the left side of the castle and entered the gardens.
They were beautiful and offered some respite from the horrible heat and definitely worth a visit.
After walking around here, we wandered across the street for a cold beer and then slowly walked back to the station.
We decided to wait an hour or so until it got dark to see the castle lit up before heading back to Osaka.
It slowly turned a different color. And then we headed home—fried from the heat.
This was a day trip I suggest anyone in Osaka take.