I believe you are wondering how to plan a day trip to Himeji, right? I am here to help you with the process, so you can enjoy your time and make the maximum of your one day in Himeji.
Himeji is a city in the Kansai region of Japan and it is home to the famous Himeji Castle, which is one of the most popular landmarks in Japan. It is a must-do day trip if you are visiting Osaka or Hiroshima and while the castle gets all the spotlight, there are other places to see in Himeji.
In this article, you will find essential information and useful travel tips for Himeji. We will cover everything you need to know before visiting Himeji in order to have a smooth and unforgettable trip. Let’s get straight to it!
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Overview of the best things to do in Himeji in one day
- Visit the Himeji Castle
- Try matcha ice cream with a view
- Capture the beauty of Kokoen Garden
- Take a boat ride
- Lunch at Himeyama Saryou
- Walk in the Otokoyama Haisuiike park
- See Engyoji Temple
- Visit a car museum
Is Himeji worth visiting?
As you already know, Himeji Castle is the main reason why people choose to visit Himeji as it is one of the few original castles from Japan’s feudal period. The castle is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and its complex structure, defensive systems, and elegant design make it a fascinating site to explore.
But apart from the famous castle, there are other important attractions like Engyoji Temple, the Car museum, and multiple stunning parks that get particularly beautiful during spring and fall.
The city also has a rich culinary scene, with delicious local specialties like Himeji Oden, a type of hotpot, and Himeji Yakisoba, a stir-fried noodle dish.
Overall, Himeji is a beautiful and historically rich city that offers visitors a unique glimpse into Japanese culture and architecture. It’s definitely worth adding to your list of places to visit in Japan.
How to get to Himeji?
Himeji lies between Hiroshima and Osaka so it is perfectly connected by public transport and planning a day trip to Himeji is very easy. The easiest solution is to use the train, but how to choose the right train to visit Himeji?
JR line and Hanshin serve the city amazingly and the train station is located only 20 minutes walk from the castle. If you don’t want to walk, there is a shuttle bus that will take you to the castle in a few minutes.
Shinkansen will give you the chance to reach Himeji from Osaka in less than 40 minutes, while the Hanshin line will take at least one hour more.
If you are visiting Himeji from Hiroshima, the Shinkansen train will take you to Himeji in 50 minutes. No matter what will be your starting point or choice my recommendation is to buy a pass in advance in order to save time and money.
In order to save time and money and get the best out of your one day in Himeji, you can purchase:
How to get around Himeji?
Himeji’s main attractions are located in the central part of the city, so moving around won’t be a big problem. Especially if you like to walk and the weather is nice.
As I said, the castle stands only 20 minutes walk from the station and there are shuttle services that will take you to the landmark. The ticket costs 100 JPY, but there is also a daily pass in case you want to explore around.
You can find also several taxis outside the station in case you want to want to enjoy all the things to see in Himeji in one day.
One day in Himeji itinerary
Visit the Himeji Castle
Obviously, your one-day Himeji itinerary starts with the majestic castle. This is one of the most visited and best-preserved castles in all of Japan and it comes with a charming long history.
The Himeji Castle was the first in Japan to be registered as part of the UNESCO Heritage, and its nickname is “Hakuro-Jo” which means White Heron Castle. Despite the beautiful appearance, the castle had a very solid structure, in consideration of its defensive purpose.
Surprisingly, the castle had a long decadent time. In fact, the structure was abandoned, at the same time as the end of the Samurai Era, and the government even decided to demolish it. The castle was put up for auction and sold for 23,5 JPY (which represents approximately 100.000 JPY nowadays). Thanks to its historical value the castle was saved from destruction.
You can visit the castle starting from 9 am to 5 pm and until 6 pm from late July to late August. Admission ends one hour before closing, and the entrance fee is 1000 JPY.
Try matcha ice cream with a view
One of the best things to do in Himeji for one day is to try the famous Matcha ice cream. In front of the castle entrance, you will find some teahouses, shops, and stands that will serve you one.
My recommendation is Harimaya teashop Castle Mae, which was one of the top ice cream matcha I had in Japan and something you must add to your one day in Himeji’s itinerary. If matcha is not your thing, you can try other traditional flavors like roasted tea, typical Japanese sweets, or Japanese sweets with a twist.
This is also the perfect place to buy some souvenirs from Japan, as you can find tea sets, matcha, cups, and much more. Overall, it is a perfect spot to relax after visiting Himeji Castle.
The ice cream cost between 350 and 450 JPY, while tea drinks start from 200 JPY.
Capture the beauty of Kokoen Garden
Another essential thing to see in Himeji in one day is the Kokoen Garden. This Japanese-style garden is built on the former site of the feudal lord’s west residence.
The garden is designed to reflect the different styles and trends of Japanese gardens throughout history, and it is meticulously maintained to ensure that it looks beautiful all year round.
Visitors can enjoy walking along the garden’s paths, admiring the carefully landscaped ponds, waterfalls, and bridges, and relaxing in the peaceful atmosphere of the garden. Kokoen Garden also offers visitors the opportunity to experience traditional Japanese tea ceremonies that are held regularly in the tea ceremony garden.
The admission fee is 310 JPY, but you can buy a combined ticket for Castle and Garden for 1050 JPY. You can visit Kokoen Garden from 9 am to 5 pm (entry until 4.30 pm).
Take a boat ride
One of the best things to do in Himeji is the boat ride along the Otemae River, which runs through the city and offers views of Himeji Castle from a different perspective. The boat ride takes around 20 minutes and is a relaxing way to enjoy the scenery while learning about the history and culture of Himeji.
Boat rides are available year-round, although the schedules may vary depending on the season and weather conditions. Tickets can be purchased at the boat ride locations, and prices are very affordable.
It is a perfect way to rest during your day trip to Himeji while still absorbing the stunning views and history of the city.
An ultimate Himeji in a one-day itinerary must include the flavors of Japan. Himeyama Saryou is one of the best restaurants in Himeji to experience a taste of Japan and wonderful hospitality.
The restaurant offers a very Japanese ambiance and embodies wonderfully the spirit of the country. Your food will be not only delicious but also served in an aesthetic way in order to please your eyes.
The ingredients and products are the freshest you can find. Here I tried one of the best tempura of my life, while my partner was impressed by the raw fish. Don’t leave without trying their famous tea and their matcha fondue!
Prices per person can vary between 2000 and 4000 JPY per person. The restaurant is closed on Wednesdays and working hours are from 11.30 am to 2 pm and from 5 pm to 8.30 pm.
Otokoyama Haisuiike park
I could define Otokoyama Haisuiike Park as a hidden gem in Himeji since a lot of visitors tend to miss this spot when visiting the city. This park lies just a 15-minute walk from the castle and 5 from Himeyama Saryou and it is a must if you are wondering what to do in Himeji for one day.
This is not only a place where you can appreciate nature but also one of the best viewpoints to admire the Himeji castle. You will have to make some steep steps so make sure you are ready to climb them.
On your way, you can find some cute shrines to make the climb enjoyable and spiritual. I liked in particular Jionji temple. If your itinerary is not too tight and you are spending three or two days in Himeji, come here for sunset or sunrise to take an epic photo of Himeji Castle.
Engyoji Temple is probably one of the most impressive temples I have seen in Japan. If you travel to Himeji make sure you have some time to visit this beautiful site, as most visitors tend to miss it.
This large Buddhist temple complex dates back to 966 and it seems that time here really stopped. The complex is surrounded by mountains and forests, making it the perfect place to escape the hassle of the city. The wooden temples blend perfectly with the surrounding creating a mystic and unique atmosphere.
This location is also famous since some moments of the movie “The Last Samurai” were filmed here. These are just some of the reasons to add the Engyoji temple to your Himeji itinerary, personally, this was one of the highlights of my Japan trip.
The temple is located approximately 10 kilometers away from the castle, but it is well-connected and easy to reach. Bus number 8 is probably the best option, but it is not very frequent. Alternatively, you can take the ropeway to get to the temple, it will cost you 1000 JPY for a roundtrip. The taxi will take you there in less than 20 minutes.
The temple is open from 8.30 am to 6 pm and the admission fee is 500 JPY.
Visit a car museum
Your day trip to Himeji ends with visiting one of the coolest museums in the city and it’s a great way to explore Himeji beyond the most touristic locations. It is still an interesting sight even if you are not into cars, but I will leave this last stop totally optional.
Torino Museum has an impressive private collection of fantastic vintage cars including Ferrari, Lamborghini, and Mercedes. Of course, you will also find some of the finest Japanese classics, all of them displayed wonderfully.
On-site, you can also find one of the fanciest restaurants in Himeji. Corniche restaurant overlooks the castle of Himeji and it’s a perfect way to end your day trip to Himeji in style. Trying their specialty, the acclaimed Kobe beef is an absolute must! Since this is a hot spot in town I strongly recommend you make a reservation.
The museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm with the last admission at 4.30 pm. The entrance fee is 1300 JPY.
Further reading for Japan
Travel tips for Kyoto:
- How to Rent a Kimono in Kyoto: Detailed Process with Prices
- Complete Kyoto Itinerary: How to Spend 3 Days in Kyoto
- Best Kyoto Tours: Unique Experiences in Kyoto That You Don’t Want to Miss
- 18 Best Free Things to Do in Kyoto + Kyoto Budget Tips
- 13 Best Ryokan in Kyoto with Private Onsen That Will Blow Your Mind
- Where to stay in Kyoto? Hotel Review of Mimaru Kyoto Nijo Castle
- 15 Best Places to Photograph Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto
Travel tips for Osaka:
- 15 Best Photo Spots in Osaka That You Can’t Miss
- 12 Best Ryokans in Osaka with a Private Onsen
- Osaka Itinerary: How to Spend 3 Days in Osaka
- 10 Best Food Tours in Osaka for Foodies
Travel tips for Tokyo:
- 13 Best Tokyo Tours: Fun and Unique Experiences in Tokyo
- 13 Incredible Hotels With Tokyo Tower View In Tokyo
- 15 Epic Hotels with a Mount Fuji View in Japan
Other useful tips for visiting Japan
🏠 Need a place to stay? Browse Booking or Agoda
💃 How about fun experiences? GetYourGuide, Viator, and Klook have it all
🚗 Considering renting a car in Japan? Use Rentalcars
🚂 If you need transfers, bus or train tickets, check 12Go
🔒 Don’t forget about travel insurance from HeyMondo
This is the end of the Himeji travel guide and I am sure that by now you know how to plan the best day trip to Himeji. I believe this one-day Himeji Itinerary will help you make the most of your time and discover the real beauty of the city.
I would love to hear your thoughts, so if you have any feedback or additional tips, leave a comment below. Also, check out my Instagram for regular travel videos and travel inspiration. Or explore other destinations on this travel blog.