Depart From Kansai Airport! Enjoy This 1-Day Model Course Taking in the Best of Hyogo From Himeji Castle to Kobe Beef

Depart From Kansai Airport! Enjoy This 1-Day Model Course Taking in the Best of Hyogo From Himeji Castle to Kobe Beef

1 Jul 2021

The KANSAI Guide

Hyogo Prefecture is full of charms, from World Heritage Sites to wagyu beef. This popular area is easily accessible from Kansai International Airport. The article introduces a one-day model course that gives you a full picture of Hyogo Prefecture.

1. Getting the Bus From Kansai International Airport to Himeji

First, head from the airport to Himeji Station. The limousine bus that will take you straight there without any changes is a great option. It takes roughly 2 hours to get there (Fare: One-way adult ticket 3,400 JPY).

That said, the fixed-rate Japan Rail Pass is the best option for tourists planning to see all of the prefecture's main sights. It allows you to use the Sanyo Shinkansen to move smoothly between Himeji, Shin Kobe, and Shin-Osaka.

2. See Himeji Castle—Japan's Oldest World Heritage Site!

Catch the Shinki Bus from Himeji Station and get off at the Otemon-mae bus stop. Himeji Castle is 5 minutes on foot away from it.

This travel itinerary starts from the World Heritage Site, Himeji Castle. Built 400 years ago, this famous castle is known for its graceful outline that resembles a white bird in flight. Having gone through extensive renovation work in 2015, the dazzling white castle ramparts have been restored to their original condition. The large castle keep makes quite an impact! It is the perfect place for a photo.

▼Sightseeing time (estimated)
90 minutes

【Facility Name】 Himeji Castle
【Opening Hours】 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
*April 27th - August 31st: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
【Days Closed】 December 29th, 30th
【Price】 Adults (18 and over): 1,000 JPY, Children (elementary, middle, and high school students): 300 JPY
【URL】
Official Homepage
Kansai Tourism Bureau Official Homepage
【Address】 68 Hon-machi, Himeji-shi, Hyogo
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

3. Stroll Around Koko-en

This next spot is a 12-minute walk from Himeji Castle.

A great place to visit while you are at Himeji Castle is the adjoining Koko-en. Built on the site of an old samurai residence, the grounds of the garden cover a whopping 3.5 hectares. Inside Koko-en are nine gardens surrounded by gates modeled on architecture from the Edo Period (1603 - 1867). The traditional Japanese architecture blends beautifully with seasonal nature such as cherry blossom and fall leaves, giving you plenty of scenery to enjoy. Buy the special combination ticket that gives you entrance to both Himeji Castle and Koko-en. It is also worth trying out the tea ceremony at the park's tea house.

▼Sightseeing time (estimated)
60 minutes

【Facility Name】 Koko-en
【Opening Hours】 April 27th - August 31st: 9:00 am - 6:00 pm, September 1st - April 26th: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
【Days Closed】 December 29th, 30th
【Price】 Himeji Castle Combination Ticket: Adults (18 and over): 1,050 JPY, Children (elementary, middle, and high school students): 360 JPY
【URL】
Official Homepage
Kansai Tourism Bureau Official Homepage
【Address】 68 Honmachi, Himeji-shi, Hyogo
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

4. Eat Your Fill of Himeji's Renowned Anago

For lunch, sample some of Himeji’s best cuisine! You have to try the anago (salt-water eel). Densuke anago, caught from the nearby coast, is a particularly large, filling fish, and is available at many anago restaurants in Himeji. The main method of preparation is grilling the anago and putting it over a bowl of rice, but there are several other ways of enjoying anago, including sushi and tempura. The best places within walking distance of Himeji Station are Jidai Cafe and Hiiragi. Once you've satiated your hunger in Himeji, it's time to head towards Kobe.

▼Sightseeing time (estimated)
60 minutes

【Facility Name】 Hiiragi
【Opening Hours】 Lunch 11:00 am - 2:00 pm (L.O. 1:30 pm), Dinner 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:00 pm), Sundays, National Holidays: Until 10:00 pm (L.O. 9:00 pm)
【Days Closed】 Wednesdays
【URL】 Official Homepage (Japanese only)
【Address】 88 Junishomae-cho, Himeji-shi, Hyogo
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

5. Visit Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens

From Himeji Station, ride the Hikari Shinkansen for 22 minutes. Get off at Shin-Kobe Station. Walk 5 minutes to Shin-Kobe Ropeway’s lower station (Sanroku) and take the 10-minute ride to the upper station (Sancho).

Your next stop is Japan’s premier herb garden. Look down on the town of Kobe and the stunning coast from the mountaintop that's 400m above sea level. Inside are 12 gardens hosting 75,000 herbs and flowers of about 200 different varieties. Enjoy stunning scenery throughout the four seasons. You can also relieve tired feet in the footbath containing seasonal herbs.

▼Sightseeing time (estimated)
90 minutes

【Facility Name】 Kobe Nunobiki Herb Gardens
【Opening Hours】 September 9th - July 19th: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, July 20th - August 31st: 10:00 am - 8:30 pm
【Days Closed】 Ropeway round-trip ticket: Adults: 1,500 JPY, Elementary and middle school students: 750 JPY
【URL】
Official Homepage
Kansai Tourism Bureau Official Homepage
【Address】 1-4-3 Kitano-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

6. Kobe Beef Teppanyaki That Will Make Your Mouth Water

From Shin-Kobe Station, take the Seishin-Yamate Line on the subway for two minutes. Change at Sannomiya Station and take the subway on the Kaigan Line for three minutes. Get off at Motomachi Station. This next restaurant is a 4-minute walk from there.

To finish, sample Japan’s world famous wagyu "Kobe beef" for dinner. Savor the melt-in-the-mouth texture, the mellow aroma, and rush of umami. There are many restaurants on offer in Kobe, but we recommend teppanyaki restaurant Kokoro. Take in the view of Kobe Harbor as you enjoy your meal.

▼Eating time
90 minutes

【Facility Name】 Kokoro
【Opening Hours】 11:30 am - 3:00 pm, 5:30 pm - 10:30 pm
*Weekends and National Holidays: 5:00 pm - 10:30 pm
【Days Closed】 Open year round *Unless it is reserved for an event
【Price】 Course: Lunch from 5,600 JPY (incl. tax), Dinner from 12,000 JPY (incl. tax)
【URL】
Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland Official Homepage (Japanese only)
Kansai Tourism Bureau Official Homepage
【Address】 Hotel La Suite Kobe Harborland 2F, 7-2 Hatoba-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo
【Google Map URL】 GoogleMap

If you want to get as much out of Kobe as you can, the bayside area is great for shopping and seeing the night view. If you don’t have much time, take the shinkansen back to Shin-Osaka. You can get from Shin-Kobe to Shin-Osaka in just 12 minutes. As trains run well into the night, it's very convenient.

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