Western Japan - Himeji
No trip to the Western part of Japan is complete without a visit to the town of Himeji. It is easily accessible via the Sanyo Shikansen bullet train from either Osaka or Kyoto. Himeji is best known for its castle, and it is widely considered to be Japan's most beautiful surviving feudal castle. In fact the Himeji Castle is a national treasure as well as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Resembling a white heron in flight, Himeji Castle is located about a kilometre straight up Otemae-dori Street from Himeji Station. I took a five minute bus ride from the station costing 100 yen but decided to walk back to the station and visit the many shopping arcades along the way.
A must-do is of course to climb up to the top of the castle. There are six storeys to navigate up to the top, with each level getting progressively narrower and more difficult to climb. The view from the top is definitely a sight to behold and you are rewarded with a glimpse of the maze-like defences leading up to the castle.
My recommendation is to get the ticket which includes entry to the Kokoen Japanese-styled Gardens and stroll along the tranquil grounds which consists of nine separate walled gardens of various styles of the Edo period.
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It is M.K. Wong's dream to visit at least 50 countries before his feet can carry him no more. With over 35 countries under his belt, M.K. is planning for his next escapade.