Himeji Castle is the iconic Castle in Japan (in my opinion it’s basically the Castle in Japan that looks like the real-life Emoji Castle) and really should be on your Japan itinerary! However, it is hard to know where Himeji Castle is in Japan!
Himeji Castle is in the City of Himeji however there are not many other things to do in Himeji which is why it isn’t as well known because you won’t just stumble upon it. The best way to visit Himeji Castle is to do a Himeji day trip!
Himeji is on the Shinkansen line so it makes it really easy to do a Himeji Castle day trip from Hiroshima, Osaka, Kobe and Kyoto! In fact, the best time to visit Himeji is on your way to or from Hiroshima as it’s in the middle! This is what I did!
So below I will explain how to do a Himeji day trip including getting from Himeji to Hiroshima and Hiroshima to Himeji!
Himeji Day Trip
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How to Get to Himeji Castle?
Hiroshima to Himeji / Himeji to Hiroshima
If you are going to Hiroshima on your Japan itinerary, I recommend getting off at Himeji Station to visit Himeji Castle on your way to or from Hiroshima.
You can store you bags in Hiroshima station (more on that below), walk from the station to the castle easily, have a few hours exploring, pick up your bags and get back on the Shinkansen train to your next destination!
It’s especially popular for travellers to Japan with a JR Pass as Himeji is on the JR route meaning the train there and back is included in your JR Pass and a great JR Pass Day Trip.
Osaka, Kobe, Kyoto
The other best way to see Himeji Castle is to visit on a Himeji day trip from Kobe, Osaka or Kyoto if you are staying in one of those 3 Cities because it’s not far at all and very possible to do as a day or half-day trip, especially when travelling on the super-fast bullet trains!
Himeji Station to Himeji Castle
I decided to visit Himeji Castle on my train from Hiroshima to Kobe however I debated this idea many times because of course I would have my big backpack with me and I had to google ‘does Himeji Station have baggage storage?’ many times! I found out that it does indeed have bag storage but then I was worried if they would all be full and if it would be a waste of a trip if they were as there’s no way I could carry my big backpack with me!
Lucky, there is bag storage in Himeji Station which really helps when doing your Himeji day trip!
Firstly, make sure your train goes through Himeji, it should do if you’re on the Shinkansen line, it will stop just before or after Shin-Kobe depending on which way you are travelling.
Remember to be up and ready as this is only a brief stop!
When you get off at Himeji Station from the Shinkansen train or a JR train, ‘coin lockers’ are what you are looking for. There were some as I went down the escalator from the Shinkansen and everyone, including me, was rushing to them. However, what I should have done was go through the barriers as there are plenty more coin lockers in Himeji Station there.
If there’s a key in the locker door it means it’s free and there are many different sizes, small ones for small backpackers only, mid-sized ones for backpacks and cabin suitcases and big ones for huge suitcases and the prices depending on the size.
I got a mid-sized coin locker for my backpack at Himeji Station which was 500Yen, I thought I’d struggle to get my backpack in but actually it fits in fine so if you are a backpacker don’t think you’ll need the extra big lockers, those are mainly being eyed up by people who have huge suitcases! The big lockers are 700Yen.
Payment is needed by 100Yen coins but there is a machine which gives out change.
- More of my must-read Japan posts:
- Things To Do in Kobe!
- How to do a Day Trip from Osaka to Kyoto!
- Free Things To Do in Japan’s Most Popular Cities To Visit!
- ALL MY JAPAN POSTS.
If you happen to be at Himeji Station and it is really busy and all of the lockers are full, you can go out of the station and to the shopping mall underneath and there are coin lockers there.
One thing’s for sure, you do not need to arrange a luggage forwarding service when stopping at Himeji Castle as some TripAdvisor threads recommend!
Remember that once you’ve paid and locked your locker, it’s locked and you’ll need to pay again to open it and close it so get everything out you need to visit Himeji Castle, including your JR Pass as you need to show your JR Pass to get out of the station and to get another ticket to your next stop before picking your bags up.
It’s really easy to get from Himeji Train Station to Himeji Castle as it’s a straight 15-minute walk from Himeji Station to the Castle and the Castle can be seen in the distance as soon as you leave the train station which is really impressive which makes a Himeji day trip so easy!
JAPAN SIM CARD
If you prefer eSIM’s these days, here’s a great option for an eSIM Mobile Data Plan in Japan so you’re connected as soon as you land without the hassle of swapping sims and waiting for connection.
JAPAN RAIL PASS
I’m sure you know, or have heard, that the Japan Rail Pass is the best value for getting around Japan!
There are many providers for the JR Pass but this is the official provider and the one I used.
Not sure how the JR Pass works and wondering if it will save you money?
Visiting Himeji Castle
You can visit the very outer edges of Himeji Castle for free however to get any closer you must pay and the entrance fee for Himeji Castle is 1000Yen per person.
I would say that if you have made the trip to Himeji, paid to store your bags and gone out of your way you really should pay to go inside in the Castle. The grounds inside are really big offering great views across the City and nearby Mountains and you get to go inside the Castle.
Himeji Castle inside is very empty, (although when I went it wasn’t as it was full of queuing people!) the lines take you through the Castle up each floor until you reach the top of the Castle to see a view.
It’s worth noting that the stairs in Himeji Castle are very steep so if you have trouble with stairs you may struggle and you need to take your shoes off to enter inside Himeji Castle so make sure you pack or wear some socks as the floor may be cold on your feet otherwise!
Things To Do in Himeji
Aside from Himeji Castle, there are only a few other things to do in Himeji which is why it is perfect for a Himeji day trip only!
Outside of the Castle there are plenty of restaurants and cafes offering sit-in food and take away street-style food and Himeji is a big city so there’s an indoor shopping Street between the Castle and the station too.
Aside from Himeji Castle, the next best thing to do in Himeji is to visit Kokoen Gardens which are to the left of the Castle. It costs to enter Kokoen gardens but you can also buy a joint admission ticket for the Castle and Gardens for 1040Yen according to their website.
There are tea houses in Kokoen Gardens and going in for a tea ceremony is a popular thing to do in Himeji.
JAPAN ON A BUDGET
Japan isn’t the cheapest country to travel but you can save money in Japan, here are my budget tips for Japan:
Here’s my 2 week Japan itinerary for first time visitors which will help you plan yours and you can adapt it whether you’re in Japan or longer or less time.
After a few hours, you can head back to Himeji Station and carry on on your train to your next destination.
You’ll need to get a ticket whether you have the JR pass or not and the Shinkansen does not fun really frequently so it’s worth checking the times in advance just in case. I used Japan Direct App to check train times in Japan.
I hope this helps plan your trip to Himeji Castle on a Himeji Day Trip, it’s definitely worth a visit as one of the best Castles in Japan to visit and especially if you’re taking a train via Himeji Station anyway!