Monday, January 22, 2007

Japan Winter Trip -20th Jan 2007

Day1-Himeji, Mt Shosha, Kobe
Arriving at Kansai Airport

I arrived in Kansai Airport around 5am, cleared immigration and brushed-up myself and got ready at around 6:30am. There is a lot of information brochure in front of the KAA travel desk at 1F of Kansai Airport. At around 7am, we bought a 3-day Kansai Passport from KAA travel desk for 5000Yen. This pass will allow us to take all private trains and subway in Kansai area (Kyoto, Osaka, Himeiji, Kobe, Nara and etc). At around 7:45am, we took Kansai Line and arrived at Namba, Osaka around 8:30am.

From Namba, we took Misudoji subway to Umeda and stored our luggage besides the Hanshin Rail entrance for 500Yen per luggage for 24-hour. It is good deal for us as keeping the luggage allows us to travel as light as possible. We continued our way to Himeji by Hanshin Line. Being new to the place, we don't know the difference between limited express, express, rapid express train type. So, the train ride took us 2 hours to arrive Himeji (about 11am).

Get Your Kansai Passport in Kansai Airport or Osaka Station

Besides Kansai airport, you can also get this in front of Osaka train station. Look for the Visitor's information counter in Osaka train station. The information is just at the main entrance facing the Hankyu Rail Station at Umeda. Umeda Station and Osaka Station is next to each other. Worst of all, it is very confusing with lots of direction and signs. Be ready to get lost!!! ;)


Walking along the main road led us to Himeji Castle which is visible from far just at the main exit of the Sanyo-Himeji Train exit. After some casual walk to Himeji Castle, we bought our entrance ticket at 480Yen after 20% discount (original fee is 600Yen) by flashing our Kansai Passport and the supplemented discount voucher in the Kansai Passport Travel booklet. You got to get the Kansai Passport if you are smart saver. ;)

Himeji Castle is the most castle in Japan and most of the calendar for Japan will include it.

My frist Japanese Lunch
At about 1am, we finished touring the castle and decided to have a quick our lunch near Himeji Castle. I ordered a Fried Pork Rice at 460Yen and Stanley has Fried Beef Rice at 510Yen. The food is very nice. But, for this price, we have to take our lunch besides the street as they are bento sets.

Left: Teriyaki Pork Rice Set 460Yen
Right: Teriyaki Beef Rice Set 510 Yen

After lunch, we headed to Mt Shosha from City Bus station next to Himeji Station. The fare is 260Yen each way. The Kansai passport is not applicable here... or I think that we just forgot to us it...

Mt Shosha Temples
Mt Shosha has the most oldest wooden temple in Japan. To access to it, we need to take cable car from the foot hill and costed us 500Yen. For both way, it is 900Yen. We decided to hike our way down which turn out to be challenging and sort of regretful also. :P

Mt Shosha has a lot of temples, big and small. Among them are the famous Mainden Temple, Daikodo, Jikido and Jogyodo. In fact, one of the temple was used to film "The Last Samurai". The temples are very old and it is quite worth a visit as you will have a nice view of Himeji City from Mt Shosha (340meter).

After finishing of hike down the hill from Mt Shosha which I strongly recommend not to do so unless you are seeking for challenge and want to see some natural sight-seeing. The way down is poorly laid route (just pay additional 400Yen la... ). After 40 minutes of hiking down, my toes are pretty much in pain.
From the ropeway (cable car) station, we took a bus to Himeji Station and continued our way to Kobe.

In Kobe, we walked from Motomachi station to Kobe harbour land and have a wonderful buffet dinner in Mozaic Complex Fish Market restaurant. It costed us 2814Yen. Kobe has really scenic view especially from Kobe Harbour Land.

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