High Above in Himeji

Saturday, December 02, 2017
Himeji was an impulsive stop along our Japan trip and it turned out to be a clever stopover. It was kind of a halfway stop in between Osaka and Hiroshima.

Buddha statues at Engyo-ji Temple near Himeji, Japan
Himeji caught my radar awhile back and I kinda forgot about it. That's until it was right there in the middle of our way through Japan. The bullet train of Japan named Shinkansen conveniently has a stop in Himeji.

Himeji Castle, Japan
Himeji Castle is the main city trademark. The castle is the largest and most visited in Japan. And I must confess, that even though Japan has many castles in the same style, the placement and location of Himeji Castle beats the others. It almost seems like the castle is keeping an eye over the city. Like a protective giant guarding the inhabitants of Himeji. Himeji Castle is also nicknamed "The Snowy Crane" due to the whiteness of the buildings.

Cable cars going to Engyo-ji Temple from Himeji, Japan
The true reason for my interest in Himeji however had to be reached my cable car in the northern part of the city. We took a local bus there from downtown (which can be quite tricky) and eventually reached the small ropeway station. The hill can be climbed from the bottom as well, but we didn't have the time nor the energy to do so. A round-way ticket to the cable car was 900 yen per person.

Engyo-ji Temple near Himeji, Japan
Engyo-ji Temple is actually just a part of a larger gathering of buddhist temples on the hill side. As you leave the cable car, there's still about half an hour of uphill trekking to go. We made a few stops along the way enjoying the view over Himeji city and the colorful autumn leaves. Engyo-ji used to functions as a training ground and a place of study for young buddhists. Today you'll still find students reading and learning at the temples. Entrance fee to the temple area was 600 yen per person.
Fun fact; the hollywood blockbuster "The Last Samurai" starring Tom Cruise in the leading role was filmed at Engyo-ji, as his character underwent samurai training.

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