Historic sites in Himeji
About the WOW U-mediator leading this tour
My name is Norio Oki. I was born and raised in Kochi Prefecture. After I graduated from a university in Yokohama, I have lived in Kobe for many years. I was a researcher at the Hyogo Prefectural Institute of Public Health for a long time.
I have been a volunteer sightseeing guide for over ten years, and I became a National Government Licensed Guide Interpreter three years ago. My licensed language is English.
My guiding areas are Kobe, Himeji, Osaka, and Nara. I am especially familiar with Kobe and Himeji. If you have plans to visit these areas, please let me know. I will make the best itinerary for you. I am looking forward to seeing you soon. Thank you.
What we'll do
Himeji, located 1 hour from Osaka, has two important sites symbolizing Japanese history. These are Shoshazan Engyoji temple and Himeji castle. These are so amazing and magnificent that we strongly recommend visiting there for history enthusiasts.
First, we are going to Engyoji temple. Engyoji temple is located on the top of a mountain and used as the setting of a famous Hollywood movie, The Last Samurai.
Next, we are going to take lunch break at a beautiful garden called Koko-en garden before visiting Himeji castle.
Himeji castle was the first designated as Japanese World Heritage site in 1993. Besides its scale and sophisticated layout, the white plaster walls and massiveness to the structure, nicknamed the "White Egret Castle."
Things you need to know before the tour
The tour fee does not include transportation expenses, admission fees and meals/drinks.
These fees are as follows.
- Admission fee for Shoshazan Engyoji temple ( JPY 500/person )
- Admission fee for Himeji Castle and Koko-en garden ( JPY 1,050/person )
- Transportation fee for bus ( JPY 560/person)
- Transportation fee for Cable Car ( JPY 1,000/person)
- Lunch fee at a restaurant in Koko-en ( JPY 1,380 - 2,620/person)
( http://www.himeji-machishin.jp/ryokka/kokoen/en/kassuiken/index.html )
- Recommend comfortable shoes.
- The starting time of the tour and the itinerary can be customized.
- The guide is booked for up to 7 hours.
Shoshazan Engyoji temple
There is a temple which was used as the setting of a famous Hollywood movie, The Last Samurai. This temple is located on the top of a mountain where you can have a panoramic view of Himeji city. Climbing up the mountain by bus and cable car, you will arrive at a temple surrounded by bountiful forests.Show spot information
This temple is called Shoshazan Engyoji temple. Engyoji temple was founded in 966 on the top of Mount Shosha by the priest Shoku Shonin. Shoshazan Engyoji is a temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism. And it is one of the 33 temples of the Kannon pilgrimage route in Saigoku (the Kinki Area and Gifu Prefecture), of similar fame as the Shikoku Pilgrimage.
This temple buildings are spread over a large area on the mountain top, so it will take us some time to explore the whole complex. Let's reduce our stress through the forest bathing and increase our luck at this famous spiritual place.
After leaving Shoshazan Engyoji Temple, we are taking some breaks at Koko-en garden. Koko-en garden is a Japanese style garden opened in 1992 on the former site of the feudal lord's west residence. Prior to the construction, seven research excavations were performed and verified that this area is the former site where "Nishi-Oyashiki" / "Himeji Castle Lord's West Residence" and other high ranking Samurai homes were located.
It consists of nine separate gardens designed in various styles of the Edo Period. Visit the traditional Japanese garden where the samurai used to live, and enjoy the local gourmet.
Himeji Castle was registered as a World Cultural Heritage site in 1993. Just like other traditional Japanese buildings, Himeji Castle is made of natural and delicate materials such as wood and shell-powder plaster. One of few remaining castles today, Himeji Castle retains many of its original buildings. It survived the Meiji Restoration, which ended feudalism, U.S. air raids during World war II, which devastated the city, and the Great Hanshin Earthquake. In 2015, Himeji Castle was unveiled after a five-year restoration project, in which traditional plastering was used.Show spot information
When spring comes, the periphery of Himeji Castle is enveloped in about 1,000 cherry trees, and the view seen from the donjon of Himeji Castle has been selected as one of “Japan’s Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots.”
Your guide will meet you at the “Midori no Madoguchi (Ticket Counter)” of JR Himeji Station.