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 Kyoto.
– 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 however, no worries.
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 store fronts. I actually came for the Hello Kitty Cafe, but it’s been permanently closed 😦
now, for 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 with English Architecture, it’s a mixture of temples and English houses. It’s very cute, very lovely and have 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, however 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.
- English House – Sherlock Holmes & Alice in Wonderland Themed.
Consulate of Trick Art (blog post here)
¥800 9:30AM – 18:00PM
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-time 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 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 quiet 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.”