Himeji Travel Guide, Japan
Himeji Travel Guide - The castle town
Himeji in Hyogo Prefecture is not a large town, but it has a wonderfully rich history. Located in the Kansai region, not far from Osaka, Himeji is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. In the Middle Ages, the Himeji Castle, the city’s main tourist attraction and a World Heritage Site, was the largest castle in Asia. Nowadays it still remains a particularly fine piece of Japanese medieval architecture that draws millions of visitors every year. The castle and the many Shinto temples in the city make Himeji a wonderful holiday destination. This Himeji Travel Guide will highlight a few points that will help you plan your trip to this magnificent town.
Himeji Travel Guide - Transport
In Japan, the fastest way to travel is by shinkansen, the Japanese bullet train. The Sanyo train line, which operates between Osaka and Hiroshima, passes through Himeji, and it is even possible to see the famous castle from the train. There are hourly trains operating between Tokyo and Himeji, and tickets are not very expensive. The ride takes more than three hours, but fortunately train services in Japan are excellent. It is also possible to take the bus from Tokyo to Himeji, but prices are quite steep and the buses run only overnight.
If Himeji is your first destination when visiting Japan, you should keep in mind that the town does not have an airport. The nearest international airport is Kansai Airport, only two hours away by bus. If you’re travelling from another Japanese city to Himeji, the closest domestic airports are Osaka and Kobe.
Himeji Travel Guide - Accommodation
Although Himeji is a popular tourist destination, most of the visitors come for a day trip. There are several great business hotels that offer comfortable accommodation at reasonable prices. Comfort Hotel Himeji is very close to the train station, and has friendly staff, beautiful rooms, free internet access and breakfast included in the price. For backpackers, this Himeji Travel Guide recommends the Plaza Hotel, which despite its classy name it is very affordable and close to the castle. Although in theory it is a business hotel, it is perfect for budget travelers who don’t want to spend too much on accommodation. If you want to experience genuine Japanese culture, you should choose a ryokan, Japanese-style inns that offer traditional rooms, food and baths.
Himeji Travel Guide - Souvenirs
Himeji is well-known for handcrafts, and there are many shops that sell souvenirs and handmade trinkets to visitors. Gift shops are scattered all around the temples and Himeji Castle, and although some of the keepsakes you can find are not exactly Himeji-specific, they are representative for Hyogo prefecture. Most shops sell beautiful Myochin Hibashi wind chimes, traditional Himeji leather craft, and charming Himeji Hariko – papier-mache figurines crafted in Himeji since 18th century. Don’t forget to sample Himeji’s local confectionary and sake; they are very popular with Japanese visitors, but even if you won’t be taking them home with you, they are worth tasting!
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