Mount Shosha (書写山, Shoshazan) is the site of Engyoji (円教寺, Engyōji), an atmospheric temple complex with a history of over 1000 years. Located at the edge of Himeji City, the mountain can be accessed in only 30 minutes from the city center by bus and ropeway.
Engyoji's temple buildings are spread over a spacious, densely forested area on the mountain top. From the ropeway station it takes a 10-15 minute walk uphill to reach the Niomon Gate and another 10-15 minutes to reach the Maniden, a beautiful wooden temple hall, constructed on pillars on a steep slope. Alternatively, a minibus operates between the upper ropeway station and the Maniden every 20 minutes (500 yen).
Another five minute walk along forest trails brings you to the three massive wooden temple halls, known as Mitsunodo: the Daikodo (main hall), Jikido (lodging and dining hall, now exhibiting temple treasures) and Jogyodo (gymnasium). More buildings and an observation point with views over the urban sprawl of Himeji are located even further along the trails in the Okunoin area.
Due to the beautiful scenery and absence of modern infrastructure on its temple grounds, Mount Shosha is frequently used as a filming location for historical movies and TV dramas. Besides mostly domestic productions, the Hollywood movie "The Last Samurai" was partially shot on the mountain, incorporating scenes taken around and inside the halls of Mitsunodo.
Take bus number 8 from Himeji Station (North Exit bus stop number 10) or Himeji Castle to the terminal stop "Mount Shosha Ropeway" (書写山ロープウェイ, 30 minutes, 270 yen one way, departures every 20 minutes). Then, take the ropeway up the mountain (500 yen one way, 900 yen round trip, departures every 15 minutes). Alternatively, it is possible to hike up the mountain in about 45-60 minutes.
A convenient ticket to use is the "Shoshazan Ropeway" combination ticket that includes a round trip by bus from Himeji Station to the ropeway station and the ropeway round trip for 1300 yen. It is available at the ticket counter of the Shinki Bus Terminal in front of Himeji Station.