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How much needed for Himeiji Castle? 2019/4/23 11:44

My hotel is near Shin-Osaka. I have a 7 day JR-Pass. Planning to activate it first day on May.01.2019 going to Himeiji Castle for few hours. How much time is really needed? After that, I'll be heading to Tokyo to check in hotel at 4pm.
by Sam (guest)  

Re: How much needed for Himeiji Castle? 2019/4/23 15:17
I don't think heading to Himeji Castle is a good idea if you have to check in to your hotel by 4 pm. However, you can absolutely do it with no problem is you don't mind to check in later (wonder why you have to check in by 4 pm).

May 1st is a part of the golden week where you can expect lots of visitors. It only opens at 8.30 am on that day, but there isn't a guarantee when you can actually get in. Numbered tickets will be distributed on a busy day like May 1st, so get as early as possible to reduce waiting time. It takes 1.5 hours to 2 hours inside the castle (I forgot how long did I take but that estimated time is from their website). Entry to the garden only charges you an additional 40 Yen, so you might be interested in it as well. The sakura season there is well over, but it is still a decent garden in my opinion.

Anyway, Hikari Shinkansen takes around 3 and a half hour to get you from Himeji to Tokyo (so the train you would want to catch up to would be Hikari 468 (12:06 - 15:40). This is why I mentioned if for some specific reasons you really have to check in by 4 pm, it will be too rushed to visit Himeji in between. Nonetheless, it's still pretty much doable with quick pace. The key is to get there very early.

by JPN48 rate this post as useful

Re: How much needed for Himeiji Castle? 2019/4/23 15:33
If you want a safer bet, go to Maibara then visit the Hikone castle and garden (allow maybe 3 hours or so) and then hop back on the shinkansen for Tokyo. Maibara is the next stop after Kyoto, from Osaka.

Hikone castle is not spectacular like Himeji, but it is nice enough with good gardens and great views over lake Biwa. It is my favorite of the castles I've visited.
by Lazy Pious (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: How much needed for Himeiji Castle? 2019/4/23 16:34
Thanks for the input.

Since it's golden week I guess I'll head straight to Tokyo and find side trips during my 7 day JR Pass. Any suggestions like day trips to nnsens, flower parks, strawberry/melon farms? Maybe a daytrip to Nikko? Is it a different experience from Kansai region?
by Sam (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: How much needed for Himeiji Castle? 2019/4/23 21:51
I would still consider Hikone It's really nice & quieter than Himeiji. There is a good garden & museum there too. It would make a really good stop on the way to Tokyo.
Regarding side trips from Tokyo. Kamakura is the obvious one. Nikko is good and I should revisit but I found it overdone.
by Stan Norrell rate this post as useful

Re: How much needed for Himeiji Castle? 2019/4/23 22:16

i How much time is really needed?
It takes about 40 mins to get to Himeji from Shin-osaka with shinkansen. If you depart early, you would have plenty of time to visit the Himeji, and if you leave for Tokyo before midday you'll arrive well before 16:00
by . (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: How much needed for Himeiji Castle? 2019/4/24 10:06
I would recommend getting up early to see Himeji castle - and to clarify the remarks above, the Kokoen Garden is definitely one of Japan's best, and a few minutes walk west of the castle.

There is a combo ticket you can get for both (you have to ask at the castle office - it is not sold in the ticket vending machines). With it, one of the places is virtually free.
Hikone Castle is not bad at all - and one of the 12 surviving originals like Himeji. Though I found the Genkyuen Garden simply doesn't compare to Kokoen at all.

If it were cherry blossom season, I just might pick Hikone - it is wonderful. But with your timing, it isn't, and I'd opt for Himeji.
by Ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: How much needed for Himeiji Castle? 2019/4/24 10:16
If you have a rail pass in Tokyo and you're specifically looking for bang for your buck day trips, you can also technically go to Matsushima as a day trip. It's a little more than 2 hours from Tokyo Station. And if you really want to see sakura, you could do a 3 or so hour one way from Tokyo to Kakunodate.

Kakunodate is specifically a very long day trip, but if you're looking to get good useage from your pass and want to see sakura, it might be worth it to you. I travel with a young child so I try to avoid longer day trips now, but I've still done a few just because some places I really don't want to, for my own reasons, spend the night.

I loved both Himeji and Hikone. Both have amazing gardens.
by rkold rate this post as useful

Re: How much needed for Himeiji Castle? 2019/4/24 14:12
My itinerary w/ 7 day JR Pass is...

May 01 - go really early for Himeiji Castle(hopefully find luggage locker) and then head to Tokyo
May 02 - Tokyo
May 03 - Tokyo
May 04 - go really early for a day trip to Kakunodate Cherry Blossom(JR Pass Resevation required?)
May 05 - Tokyo
May 06 - day trip to Kusatsu onsen
May 07 - half day in Tokyo then to Kyoto

I will try JR resevation asap to all destination once I land in Osaka on Apr.28 but my flight is 8pm arrival in Osaka International airport(Itami). Most likely reserve next day at Shin-Osaka station.

How many hours should be enough at Kakunodate Cherry Blossom and surrounding areas then head back to Tokyo?
by John (guest) rate this post as useful

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