Himeji Castle

Old Mar 11th, 2007, 08:57 AM
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Himeji Castle

During our 9 days in Japan, we will be traveling from Miyajima to Kyoto, leaving Miyajima right after breakfast in our ryokan. We very much want to visit Himeji Castle. Is it best to do that as a partial day trip from our Kyoto base (we have 4 days) OR should we stop at Himeji on the way to Kyoto??? We would have all our luggage were we to do it that way.
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 11:13 AM
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I would just do it from Kyoto. If my memory is correct, it is only about an hour train ride from Kyoto.
Free trip as well if you have a JR train pass.
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 11:24 AM
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Hi

My wife and I did it as a day trip from Kyoto and that seemed to be a good option. I have written a bit about the experience in my trip report with pictures on my homepage http://gardkarlsen.com/japan_kyoto.htm . Get in touch if you have any questions

Regards
Gard
http://gardkarlsen.com - trip reports and pictures
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 11:50 AM
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OTOH it may be easier to do it from Miyajima. You would be back-tracking of course if you did it from Kyoto and you only have four days there. I stayed in Kyoto for seven days and did Himeji as a half day trip. From posts on japan-guide.com it appears there are lockers at the station as well as the castle itself.
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 12:30 PM
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If you go to Himeji from Kyoto then it will cost you an extra 3 hours: an hour each way on the train and a half hour each way to/from Kyoto station. Approximately.

So it wouldn't impact on your Kyoto time very much. On the day you leave Miyajima instead of spending time at Himeji you can spend it in Kyoto. It is a schedule shift plus 3 hours of backtracking.

But you would be doing it unencumbered by luggage if you went from Kyoto.

There are coin lockers at Himeji station and there are coin lockers at the castle, just beyond the ticket gate.

There is no way to take luggage into the castle and explore it completely.

The best option is to travel lightly and not backtrack.

How many are you? Where are you coming from for the few days before Miyajima?

You could ship your luggage from Miyajima to Kyoto and then just keep one small backpack with a change of clothes. Small enought to fit into one small locker.
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 01:05 PM
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Thanks for everyone's advice and info! Gard, I enjoyed your trip report very much. One way or another, we will make a point to visit Himeji! There are three of us traveling - mom, dad and 17 yr. old son. We have 3 nights in Tokyo, one in Hiroshima, one on Miyajima, and then the last three in Kyoto...we need to leave our 4th Kyoto day to go to our Narita airport hotel but we have all day in Kyoto.
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Old Mar 11th, 2007, 05:25 PM
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With your quick schedule, I think I'd go to Himeji on the way from Miyajima to Kyoto since it is on the way, and not take a half day to go back to Himeji from Kyoto. There will be lots to explore in Kyoto once you get there. You should be able to get lockers at either Himeji station or at the castle. There are many large lockers at the castle (several rows), and if it's a weekday morning, it should be ok. The castle is a straight shot from the train station down one main street, about 1/2 mile, and there are frequent buses down that main street. Or as mrw said, you could send your luggage ahead to Kyoto.

What month are you going?

At Himeji castle, be sure to watch out for the very low hanging gates, esp. the ones on the way out. I did not duck and I got konked on the top of the head and landed flat on my backside. This is something the guidebooks and forums do not warn you about...
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 02:46 AM
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Wow...thanks for the advice about low hanging gates - my guys ARE tall so that is useful. We'll be there in April, keeping our fingers crossed for blooming cherry blossoms! I think it does make sense to store the luggage. We do have rail passes, by the way.
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 11:46 AM
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It makes sense to ship the luggage. If you don't do that you will have to store the luggage. It is not really an option.
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 11:55 AM
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I'm 5'3" and I had do duck a couple of times - mostly at room entrances.
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 12:25 PM
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We can't store our luggage IN the lockers?
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 02:31 PM
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Not if they are full. That is all I mean.
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 04:44 PM
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Definitely try to avoid needing three lockers.

Visiting the castle means wearing slippers and walking on the very smooth wooden floors, steps, and ladders. The slippers didn't fit me so I was in socks. The stairs are narrow and slippery. To get between floors there are very vertical stairs, basically ladders. The overhead is low but also, IIRC, the clearance from your front to back is narrow so having a backpack on your back might not fit at the entrance to the top of the ladder.

I saw two or three college students with HUGE backpacks trying to make their way around the castle. It was impossible. I don't know how they solved the problem but they certainly didn't carry the stuff to the top of the castle.

I only recall seeing small lockers at the castle, but I imagine there are larger ones.
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Old Mar 12th, 2007, 08:48 PM
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I recommend sending your luggage ahead by takkyubin and stopping off at Himeji on your way to Kyoto. As well as the castle, there's a notable temple in Himeji (you ride a ropeway to get there). If you are unencumbered by luggage there are a couple of other good stops or detours on the way to Kyoto, such as Okayama and Kurashiki,
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 03:42 AM
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Would our ryokan in Miyajima be able to send our luggage via takkyubin?? Would it arrive the same day? Or do you need to be at a major hotel for that service? I am grateful for all the details about touring Himeji; if we can't work out the luggage problem, we may just head on to Kyoto and do it as a side trip. Definitely sounds like you don't want to be encumbered by anything but a camera!
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 04:23 AM
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You can send things from anywhere to anywhere in Japan with one of the various delivery services. Usually does not arrive same day though unless you send it early to somewhere nearby. Next day delivery is the norm. Any hotel or ryokan will be able to call a service to pick up your things.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 11:52 AM
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We visited Himeji castle on our way from Maysuyama to Kyoto; it is a very easy stop and there are SMALLish lockers (perfect for 2 carryon pieces) (do have a handful of coins ready) right on the train quai. Do ship your big luggage, I would ship it from Tokyo and take 1 or 2 carry on suitcases for your 2 nights out.
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Old Mar 13th, 2007, 02:42 PM
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I didn't think of that...the idea of shipping from Tokyo...we might make that work. Thank you.
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