While my friends were off doing something for the day I decided I’d venture off for a day trip to Himeji and Kobe. It’s quite close from Kyoto with a JR pass and to be honest, I didn’t even plan Himeji until I heard it announced over the speaker and decided to continue to Himeji and go to Kobe on the way back.
Here’s how I spent a day trip in Himeji and Kobe.
What’s in this article:
– The Basics: How to get to there.
– My Top Choices: What you should see.
– What I did: My Diary entry of Himeji and Kobe.
– Other Recommendations: Things I found out about later.
Getting to Himeji and Kobe from Kyoto
🚄 The Bullet Train: – Included in the JR PASS
0h 45m ¥2,270| AUD: $28| USD: $20
Take the HIKARI 463 towards Okayama.
You can also use an ICOCA card as a tap and pay transport ticket.
The bus is really not worth it as it turns out to be longer + more expensive.
Simply get on the Bullet train at Shin-Osaka station
Note: Kobe > Kyoto.
Arriving at Kobe, you’ll be arriving at Shin-Kōbe Station.
I suggest returning to Kyoto from Sannomiya Station as you can walk down through the town. Take the JR line Tokaido-Sanyo Line back to Kyoto/Shin Osaka.
MY TOP CHOICES!
⏰ 9:00 – 16:00
💰 ¥1000 (you can get a combined ticket for the botanical gardens as well!)
📝 The Castle allows 15,000 visitors a day, so during high season – get there early early early. If you don’t want to go in then you don’t need to worry about it.
Himeji Castle was one of the first in Japan to be named a UNESCO Cultural World Heritage Site. You can understand why, because it’s simply amazing. That lil black dot in front of the castle is me, hello! I didn’t go into Himeji castle because I started my day late and didn’t even think I was coming here!
If you want to see photos of the inside: see a post here.
⏰ 9:00 – 16:00
If you walk around the garden of Himeji Castle, you’ll be able to see some different views of the castle, as well as the lovely surrounds with a few shrines and buildings within.
⏰ 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
💰 You can pay for a combination ticket with the castle, otherwise ¥200.
I didn’t go into the Koken Gardens because the main reason was I wished to attend the tea ceremony and due to the weather forecast, it had been closed. At least they left a cute little note to let me know!
The photos of the gardens on trip advisor look lovely however and if you like gardens, I feel like it would have been worth it.
Miyuki Street Shopping District
⏰ 9:00 am – 5:30 pm
Walking through Miyuki Street, you’ll see a load of cute little storefronts. I actually came for the Hello Kitty Cafe, but it’s been permanently closed 😦
— KOBE —
⏰ 24 Hours.
This is the main reason I went to Kobe. I wanted to get out of the cities and experience some fresh air! It did not disappoint. The walk to the waterfall was so fresh (literally, due to the typhoon weather I came in dry, left wet.) Arriving at Shin-Kobe, head to the ‘Information Booth’ and they’ll hand you a map to find the way to the waterfall.
There’s a cute little duck mascot to help you along the way!
Town of Kobe
Kobe is such a bizarre little town. Inspired by English Architecture, it’s a mixture of temples and English houses. It’s very cute, very lovely and has a range of “attractions” that of course, cost. It was a town of wealthy traders and foreign diplomats.
I enjoyed just walking the streets and seeing sites but if you’d like to enter the places – I’d suggest a ticket for all.
Click here for information into Kobe Tickets to access all houses.
*** If you wish to have a coupon to receive discounts,
print this flyer here (not an affiliate)
which also lists all the places you can go in
Kobe. It’s valid until the 31.03.2019. ****
– English House – Sherlock Holmes & Alice in Wonderland Themed.
– Consulate of Trick Art (blog post here) ¥800 9:30AM – 18:00PM
– French House
– Italian House
– Ben’s House (this has taxidermy animals.)
– Uroko-no-ie/ Uroko Museum
– Yamate 8Ban Kan
– Dutch Museum and Fragrance House
Note: If you wish to try the Kobe Beef – there are dedicated time frames, Lunch (ends at 3pm) Dinner (Starts at 17:30) and like the true traveller I am, missed it entirely.
WHAT I DID
I don’t like to walk the same way towards things and back from things, I feel if I alter the street/direction then I’ll experience more. I stayed on the left side walking up to Himeji castle, and right on the way back.
Walking towards Himeji castle, you’ll notice this pink house standing out. After a brief google map search, it turns out to be Satchan’s House. If you go inside, it’s tickled pink, filled with a vending machine and photo booth. You can also opt to have a kawaii photo taken with Satchan (can you tell it was a self-timer?)!
Along the Miyuki Street, I also came for the Hello Kitty cafe – it looks unbelievably cute (check here for a blog post with photos!) but as per my usual travel luck, it’s been closed.
I tried to get a fair few shots of me at the Waterfalls in Kobe – but with nobody to take my photo, I relied on self-timer and the photos just turned out blurry due to the weather. I loved walking through Kobe – I wish I’d known about the ticket so I could have gone to all the houses for a discounted, included price.
I stumbled upon this coffee shop called Nishimura Coffee Shop. I went in because it started raining and I got a traditional coffee and some orange cake (under the recommendation of the waitress.) When you go in, they’ll ask if you want non-smoking or smoking. I picked non-smoking.
It’s a true model of traditional Japanese kissaten (coffeehouse) modelled on European style cafes. It’s right near the station, but I believe there are two in Kobe.
On the way back to Kobe Station, I spent quite a while in a 100 Yen store. I just cannot get enough of those stores!
Although I didn’t go, there are plenty of other things to see in Himeji and they’ve all been marked in maps for when I return.
- Shoshazan Engyoji ¥1300
(Where the Last Samurai was filmed) – This takes about an hour to get to. Buy a combined return ticket for the bus and gondola from the Shinki ticket office.
- Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History
¥210 10am – 5pm
English descriptions so you can learn about the castles, Wonderful Staff & lovely festival costumes and floats.
- Japan Toy Museum
¥600 10: 00 ~ 17: 00 (Closed Wednesdays)
Folk toys from nearly every prefecture in Japan and at least 50 foreign countries.
Writing this post, I’ve realised although it took up nearly a full day, I didn’t actually do much. I’m going to blame it on the heat wave (come on, it was 38* gimme a breaaaak.)
Have you been to Himeji or Kobe? Has this put it on your list (probably not lmao sorry)
Let me know!
As always, stay cool.
Thanks to: 1dayelsewhere – This is where I found information on the “Smile Pass.”