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Engyoji Temple is the name of the large temple complex that sits atop Mount Shosha. It is the 27th temple along the Saigoku 33 Temple Pilgrimage. The complex was built in 966 after the priest Shoku was said to have spoken to Monju (the God of Wisdom) and was told that anyone who ascends this mountain will be spiritually cleansed.
The experience of Engyoji is similar to that of the temples on the more well-known Mount Hiei and Mount Koya. Although you are visiting one temple, it is comprised of many buildings isolated atop a mountain, so the entire mountain and everything on it is part of the experience which I always enjoy.
The Daikodo, the main temple building, dates back to the 15th century (major restoration work occurred in 1956 but it remains all-original). It's impressive and you can actually enter the Jikido beside it, which surprisingly houses some impressive Buddhist sculptures on the second floor and offers nice views of the Daikodo.
The other most famous and impressive building is the Maniden, which had to be rebuilt in 1932. It is raised high in the forest, similar to Kiyomizu Temple, so it's very impressive to view from below. There are a variety of other structures scattered throughout the mountain, most of them dating back to the 17th century or earlier.
It costs 500 yen. After paying, you can go everywhere. There are no special fees at any of the buildings. If you come from Himeji Station, you can also factor in the combined bus and ropeway tickets to reach the area, which costs 1300 yen round-trip.
Written Apr 23, 2012
Address: 2968 Shosha
Himeji Castle still well worth a visit
Himeji castle is under reconstruction until 2014. In summer 2011, visitors could view the extensive grounds and outer parts of the castle at a reduced entrance fee, good enough to go there. The "womens' quarters" give a good impression of the size of the outer castle and tell the romantic (sad) story of 17th century princess Sen.
Besides, the main keep's restauration works can be viewed from airconditioned[!] temporary rooms, reachable by elevator (additional fee). There is a good (presumably temporary) museum around the restauration works as well, showing information about the castle's history and structure, previous restaurantions and the current one. Much of the information is also available in English.
Written Sep 15, 2011
Take your time to explore Himeji Castle. At the entrance, pay US$5.10 for entrance fee per person and make sure you get a leaflet. There's lotsa of interesting info that entails the castle history and architecture.
Go from section to section so that you don't miss anything out. Pace yourself and drink loads of water as castle grounds is huge and there are many stairs to climb!
Inside the tower, it's all wood floors. You'll need to remove your shoes (and your socks if you want to as it's very slippery) and put shoes in a plastic bag which will be provided. Slippers are provided which was too big for me which made it more slippery. Better to go barefoot. Get ready for the pong that comes from everybody's socks once shoes are removed, phew!!!!!
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: Himeji, Hyogo prefecture
Interesting. I guess if you want to see one castle, this is it. At least it's authentic. Better than the osaka castle, which was actually a museum with a castle-like exterior. See my page on Himeji on what to expect in the castle. Oh, and do prepare to do some climbing of steps after steps in the castle, and the long walk to the castle inner grounds from the main gate. You'll also need to take off your shoes before you enter, so wear shoes that are easy to put on/off.
Opens from 9-4pm daily
NOTE: Himeiji Castle is closed for renovation until 2015.
Updated Jan 30, 2011
As of July 2010, the Himeji castle is under renovation which began last year and is scheduled to be completed by 2014. Restoration is focused on replastering the walls and replacing roof tiles on the main keep.
When we visited, there were cranes and scaffolding beside the keep (see photo) and visitors may not enter the keep, except to view the ongoing repairs from a designated area.
Written Jul 27, 2010
Senhime Shrine and Ishitorii are located on Mount Otokoyama. The shrine itself is not so impressive however, the view of Himeji Castle from Otokoyama makes it worth the visit. It's also free, so there's nothing to lose.
Written Dec 8, 2009
The Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History is quite a nice museum. The permanent exhibits feature replicas of all 12 original castles from throughout Japan, a nice recreation of a festival, Japanese toys and games from each decade, some historical artifacts, and more. It is fun, although the displays are not related much to Hyogo Prefecture, if that is what you are interested in.
The special exhibits make it a real treat, depending on what the exhibit is. I was lucky to see exhibits of artwork of monsters. There were many famous and recognizable pieces. These paintings are also very fun and interesting to look at. I was very glad to come and see them! Japanese monster art and hell scrolls are two of their most popular historical genres! Of course, I cannot predict what the exhibit will be when you visit, but they always try to make it interesting.
Updated Dec 7, 2009
Just to the left of the entrance to Himeji Castle is the Kokoen Garden. Although the garden has no real history (it was built in the 1990s), it features 9 different areas meant to represent different landscaping styles of the Edo Period. The first area is probably the nicest, with beautiful waterfalls and a large lake. Each of the nine areas are confined so that it is obvious that you are walking into a different garden when you come across them, and if it's not too crowded, the separation may also allow you to take refuge in one garden as if it were your own private garden. It's quite nice. The vibrant yellow bamboo in one of the gardens is quite pretty (see pictures).
Entrance is 300 yen.
Written Nov 29, 2009
It would be quite odd to visit Himeji without going to Himeji Castle!
Himeji Castle, dating back to 1609, is considered by most visitors to Japan to be among the best sites in the nation, and there is no denying that Himeji Castle truly is impressive! It is the largest of all the remaining original castles and reconstructed castles. It is said to rival even the most famous European castles in its size, architecture, and aesthetic beauty.
The castle grounds are quite large and pleasant to walk around in. Inside the castle, there are some artifacts and artwork. Do take the time to look out the windows at other parts of the castle, as well as the views of the city. The architecture is amazing and a great example of the style used in making many Japanese castles. Be sure to give yourself at least 2 hours to view the castle. If you plan to thoroughly explore the castle grounds, you may want to budget even more time.
Entrance is 600 yen.
Written Nov 24, 2009
The castle has been built in the early17th century and it rapresents the highest achievement in Japanese castle architecture.
This castle has been designated as national treasure in 1931 and registred as world cultural heritage in 1993 as the first site in Japan.
The building is really very well maintained and it's possible to climb up to the top of the castle to enjoy the view.
The castle is opened since 9 am untill 4 pm and the entrance fee is 600 yen.
Written Oct 16, 2009
1 Review and 23 Opinions For about $50.00 a night this is a great place to stay. The rooms are perfect for one with every...
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