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Himeji Castle

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seattle
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Himeji Castle

How long is the train ride from Kyoto to Himeji Castle? Is the JRL pass good for this trip? Can the trip be done in one day (returning to Kyoto the same day)? Is it worth a day trip if I only have 2 1/2 days in Kyoto?

Will there be information available in English at the site? Are there other interesting places to visit near the castle?

I have three sons fascinated by samurai/daimyo lore; I would appreciate suggestions on how they can best enjoy this trip to the castle.

What are the must-see places in Kyoto (and even Tokyo for that matter!) for my sons who are avid fans of Kurosawa films like "Kagemusha," "Ran," and "Seven Samurai?"

Thanks a lot in advance for your advice!

Singapore
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1. Re: Himeji Castle

Hi,

Direct Shinkansen takes 55 mins. You may want to check on train schedule here:

www.hyperdia.com/cgi-english/hyperWeb.cgi

Himeji Castle is five storey high, accessible by a narrow stairway within the castle. Besides the castle, you can visit the Himeji Central Park, few museum. But basically, people goes there for the Castle, which is the main highlight in the city.

Kyoto has many temples and shrines, there is also the geisha area of gion and pontocho. You may want to visit the imperial palace and the imperial garden as well.

Tokyo has more things to offer, you have DisneyLand, DisneySea, Sanrio Puroland for kids. You can check out the fish market where auction was done early the morning, check out the hip Harajuku and Shibuya. Visit the famous Asakusa Kannon, check out the nice Tokyo Bay with its Odaiba and Rainbow Bridge. There are too much to see in Tokyo.

Hope you will enjoy your trip in Japan.

Cheers!

Bernard

seattle
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2. Re: Himeji Castle

Thanks, Bernard, for your this helpful information.

Teesside, UK
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3. Re: Himeji Castle

"Will there be information available in English at the site?"

Yes there is, I loved Himeji castle on my visit there last September, it is a large complex and I wandered around it for quite a while. On entering the staff hand you a guide leaflet in a language to suit you and there are informative signs in Japanese and English scattered around at points of interest telling you what you are looking at.

One thing I would recommend is a museum on the opposite side of the castle from the station. I found the place and was looking around a display of street festival floats with a kind old gentleman explaining them to me, though he spoke no English and my Japanese is basic.

When a security guard came up to me and simply said to me "Samurai?". I looked at the old man and he started nodding profusely so I said "Hai?"

The Security guard then led me to another area of the museum where two ladies waited with a full suit of Samurai armour and proceeded to dress me in it!

I later found out that they do this 3 times a day, dressing a man in full Samurai dress and a lady in formal Kimono.

If you manage to arrive here at the right time then I am sure your children will love it.

Unfortunately I can not remmeber the name of the museum off-hand and I am at work so will not be able to check if I still have a leaflet till I get home in several hours.

Inverness, Scotland
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4. Re: Himeji Castle

>> The Security guard then led me to another area of the museum where two ladies waited with a full suit of Samurai armour and proceeded to dress me in it! <<

Kevan, what a priceless experience!

Teesside, UK
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5. Re: Himeji Castle

It was a great experience, especially as I was not aware that they did such a thing before going there.

As I was being dressed a Japanese family with a couple of young children in wheelchairs came in and watched, and I posed for some photos with them when I was fully dressed. And I was laughed at as I struggled to climb on to a dummy horse for some extra photo's. Not an easy task as the armour was the full kit and weighed a ton!

All in all it was a wonderful experience and one of my favourite memories of my trip to Japan.

I have done a bit of a search and can let you know that the museum was the "Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History"

It is not the biggest museum but it was a nice one, with an impressive scale model of Himeji castle that you could look down on from the balcony above.

Ontario
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6. Re: Himeji Castle

A trip to Himeji could include a sidetrip to nearby Engyoji Temple where The Last Samurai was, in part, filmed. Search "Engyoji" on the TA Japan Forums for past details. (Use the box just above your initial post.) Your sons might enjoy seeing the movie and then seeing its location, but the temple is spectacular in itself.

seattle
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7. Re: Himeji Castle

Thanks for all the helpful information re Himeji Castle.

My boys will be in Samurai Heaven!

Tokyo, Japan
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8. Re: Himeji Castle

Another "aye" for Himeji. Every time I plan for 90 minutes, my visits end up closer to 3 hours.

When living in Osaka, I always made a point of getting visiting family/friends to Himeji castle. With the JR Pass it's such an easy journey on a comfortable train.

The castle is NOT a concrete replica (unlike those in Osaka, Hiroshima, Nagoya, etc). Himejijo also has the stereotypical tower that we love (unlike Nijojo in Kyoto).

Note: don't just climb the tower. Make sure to visit the maidens' quarters in one of the side structures. You'll need to take your shoes off for that too.

I had the great fortune of going there when the cherry blossoms hit their peak. The snowy cherry petals with the "white heron castle" as a backdrop made for amazing photos!

9. Re: Himeji Castle

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