I hope you enjoyed reading my recommendations and itinerary for exploring Himeji in A Day (Part 1). After a morning of walking at Himeji Castle and Kokoen Garden, it’s time to take a break and have a sumptuous lunch!
1. 12.30pm: Lunch Time!
Again, there’s plenty of lunch venues on the way back to Himeji Station. Some popular options are:
Jidai Cafe (Also known as Ninja Cafe)
Address: Japan, 〒670-0012 Hyogo Prefecture, Himeji
Opening Hours: 10 am to 6 pm, closed on Mondays
This Japanese café serves ninja-inspired food and if you are lucky, you might be served by waiters dressed as ninja! Their no. 1 popular set meal is the Anago-don set (salt-water eel rice set), which consists of a bowl of rice topped with fillets of conger eel, grilled in kabayaki style, served with appetizer and soup, priced at 1,380 yen. In addition to that, their specialty dessert, Ninja Parfait – a sesame ice cream and mocha served with a cornflake base and star-shaped ninja cookies, priced at 880 yen for a sweet ending to your lunch.
To Hello Kitty fans: Fall in! The 2-storey Hello Kitty Cafe located at Miyukidori Shopping Street is a partnership between Hello Kitty and Paris Miki Holdings, a popular eyewear company in Japan, which explains a bespectacled Kitty-chan logo. Everything in this café screams pink and kawaii. The Hello Kitty logo can be seen everywhere from their interiors, food, beverage to merchandises. Their main meals include toast, sandwiches and pancakes. It’s a good option for a relaxing, cuteness overload and highly-instagrammable lunch!
Restaurants serving Himeji Oden
If you have cravings for street food, then you must not miss the localized Himeji Oden! Unlike original oden – a hot stew of various typical ingredients (boiled eggs, tofu, radish, potato, fishcakes, etc.) served in a soy-based broth, the Himeji Oden is enjoyed by dipping ingredients in ginger soy sauce. Below are several restaurants or small eateries where you can enjoy the Himeji Oden.
• Shusentei Nadagiku Kappatei
Address: 〒58 Higashiekimae-cho, Himeji City, Hyogo prefecture
Opening Hours: 11:30 am to 9 pm (Last order at 8.30pm) Weekdays & Saturdays
11:30 am to 8 pm (Last order at 7.30pm) Sundays & National Holidays
• Himeji Shokudou
Address: 〒670-0912, Himeji City, Minamimacho, Hyogo Prefecture
Opening Hours: 11 am to 11 pm (Monday to Friday), 1 am to 9 pm (Saturdays), Sundays closed
Tel: +81 79-222-0246
Address: 〒68 Honmachi Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture
Opening hours: 6 pm to 12 am
Tel: +81 79-222-8592
• Darumaya Issei
Address: 〒277 Ekimaecho, Himeji 670-0927, Hyogo Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9 am to 9 pm
Telephone: +81 79-285-2975
2. 2pm: Visit Shoshazan Engyoji Temple (書写山円教寺)
Estimated time spent: 3 to 4 hours
Address: 〒2968 Shosha, Himeji 671-2201, Hyogo Prefecture
Opening Hours: 8.30 am to 6 pm
Admission fee to temple: 500 yen
After a hearty lunch, it’s time to explore another popular place of interest in Himeji – Shoshazan Engyoji Temple.
This is a famous Buddhist temple founded in year 966 by Shoku Shonin, a monk from the Tendai sect. It is a highly-regarded training center for monks; a popular location to experience Zen meditation, sutra-writing and spend two days living as a monk. With eight buildings and seven Buddhist statues in the temple, which are appointed as “Important Cultural Properties of Japan”, Shoshazan Engyoji Temple is also listed as the 27th Buddhist temple on the 33-sacred temple Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage route in the Kansai region. The tranquil surroundings of Mount Shosha and the peaceful and sacred cultural history of Shoshazan Engyoji Temple makes it a popular location for filming. In 2003, the temple was featured in Tom Cruise’s movie – The Last Samurai. This Academy-nominated movie was well-received worldwide and Shoshazan Engyoji Temple became more well-known to foreign tourists.
To enter Shoshazan Engyoji Temple, you need to buy the Shoshazan Combination Ticket which allows a round trip access to Mount Shosha ropeway and board the bus at 1,300 yen. It’s a 30-minute bus ride from the Himeji Station to Mount Shosha Ropeway, followed by a 5-minute ropeway ride (look out for the spectacular Himeji city view) and finally a 20-minute walk to the temple. You can see 33 Kannon (kuanyin) statues along the way. Alternatively, there is shuttle bus service available from the cable car uphill station to the temple for 500 yen.
3. Back to Himeji Station
You are likely to arrive back at Himeji Station by evening. Do enjoy the rest of the evening hanging around the main Himeji downtown, at their several shopping streets such as Himeji Station Omizosuji Shopping Street, Himeji Station Ichibangai Shopping Street, Miyuki-dori Street and malls such as Piole Himeji, Sanyo Department Store and Festa Bld and Grand Festa! I personally can spend a few hours in Piole Himeji alone, browsing through the latest Japanese fashion.
Sanyo Department Store: Closes at 7.30 pm
Piole Himeji: Closes at 8 pm
Festa Bld and Grand Festa: Closes at 8 pm
I hope this simple one day itinerary will help you in planning an enjoyable first visit to Himeji!
She found her first love for Japan at the tender age of 7 when she was exposed to Hello Kitty. She spent her teens immersing in J-pop culture and has accumulated more than 17 F&E trips to Japan till date. She especially love shopping and visiting kawaii themed cafes in Tokyo, and look forward to share her travel experiences and tips with all Japan travel lovers alike.