This is a small town north and west of Himeji. Take the JR to Himeji and then change to the Kishin Line about four stops going towards Tsuyama. At Tatsuno station walk straight ahead toward the river, cross the river and turn right. Get off the main road onto a small winding street with old houses. There is a small castle and above the castle a small garden with a tea house.
Can be done in a day but two days would be better. There are many hotels (of all types) available, this is a big city. Reservations can be made at the Tourist Centre outside the train station.
From Kobe take the JR to Okayama changing at Himeji. The trip to Okayama is long, and if time, rather than money, is important, it would be better to take the Shinkansen from Kobe to Okayama (alt: JR to Nishi Akashi, Shinkansen to Okayama). At Okayama change for the train to Takamatsu, which doesn’t run too frequently. This train crosses a very long bridge to Shikoku, with good views of the Inland Sea.
From Takamatsu Station walk straight ahead along a wide street to the garden – about 20 minutes. The garden is beautiful anytime of year.
A short bus ride out of town is Yashima, a nice park on a hill overlooking the city and the Inland Sea.
++ There are many ferries from Takamatsu going to Kobe, Osaka, Shodoshima, and other points.
This is a nice short trip just outside Kobe. There is a nice park along a stream and a waterfall. It might get crowded during the autumn and spring when the leaves and flowers are at their best.
Take the Hankyu to Juso and change for the Hankyu Takarazuka Line. Get off at Ishibashi and change for the Minoh Line. Get off at the last stop, just about three or four from Ishibashi. From the station walk straight ahead bearing left. There are maps and km markers. Just follow the stream uphill to the falls. You can walk back down on the other side of the river; the trail will take you to the same place at the bottom.
There are supposed to be monkeys there but all I saw were droppings.
There is no reason to go to Nishiwaki, there is nothing the tourist would want to see in Nishiwaki. But if there exists a typical mid-American town somewhere in the states, then this is the typical mid-Japanese town.
There is a river, a temple, some light industry. A short distance away, by train is Hezo-Koen which is the geographic centre of Japan. A little museum there has some work by local artists. Not the place to go if you are looking for excitement. Take the JR to Kagogawa and change there for the Kagogawa line to Nishiwaki.
This is another place there is no reason to travel to unless you are passing through. It is on Shikoku and is mainly a rail junction. There is nothing much to see in the town itself, but a few stops down the line there is a river gorge. From the town you could also take a bus into the mountains where there are bridges made of vines across the river, hot springs and probably good hiking. As of yet I haven’t gone beyond the town but there seems good possibilities beyond.
Take the JR to Okayama and change for the train to Awa-Ikeda, similar to the way to Takamatsu.
A short distance beyond Okayama is this merchant town. A good day trip. It has a very pretty section of old houses of white and black tile lining a canal. There are museums of different kinds; folk art, western art, architecture. Above this section of the town is an interesting walk through an old park.
Take the JR to Okayama (see Takamatsu) and change there for the train to Kurashiki. It is a few stops beyond Okayama. At the rather large train station walk straight ahead for about 15 minutes and turn left. The interesting section isn’t very large and if one doesn’t visit the museums it wouldn’t take long to see everything.
Very easy to get to and worth the trip. This castle is a good one to use as a judge of all other castles you might see while traveling around. Don’t just go to the castle but walk around the outside or maybe up some of the hills behind the castle to get a very different view.
Take the JR right to Himeji. At the station go to the main street and you can see the castle. It is about a 15 minute walk from the station. (Alternatives – take the Sanyo line from Suma, and walk through the shopping arcade to the right of the main street as you face the castle.)
While you are in Himeji this is a good “other trip” if you are tired of castles and not yet tired of temples. This is a temple that is a little bit different and not really a tourist place. You may see pilgrims in traditional clothing making the trip from temple to temple. There are also very good views of the city of Himeji and the hills to the north. This can be a very quiet place and people go there to pray. Take the JR to Himeji (or Sanyo). At Himeji station cross the street (straight ahead) to the bus terminal. Take the #6 or #8 bus to Mt. Sosha (the buses are marked in romaji). I think the #11 goes there too as I took one back from there. These are city buses and the ride may be crowded and bumpy, but it is only about 20 minutes. When you get to Mt. Sosha (the last stop) there is a rope way up the mountain. At the top, there is a pleasant uphill walk through cedar trees. There are horse-drawn carts that can take you up but that is not really necessary. There are a number of buildings associated with the temple, and most have a brief explanation in English. There is also a shop where you can get something to eat.
This is a walk in the hills above Kobe. Not all that difficult but all uphill until you turn around. Your destination is the Foreigner’s Cemetery on the top of the mountain.
From Motomachi JR west exit walk uphill (towards the mountains). Any street will do. When you reach the last east-west street turn left until you come to a small park with a baseball field on the right a very short distance. Take a right there and you will come to a large girls’ school then you know you are on the right road. Just continue up following a stream on the left. After a series of stairs you will come to a road. If you take the road to the right, you can pick up a trail that ends up behind the Shin Kobe station; a good return route (long). To continue up the mountain, cross the road. There is a pond there and the trail goes to the left of the pond. About halfway up you will come to a temple; the path goes to the left. There are some places to stop along the way. At the top you will come to another road, this one traveled. In fact, there is a bus that comes back to Kobe but it doesn’t run everyday. Cross the road and there is a small lake with boats to rent, a coffee shop and a small beach. Beyond the beach you pick up the road again and to the right is the Foreigner’s Cemetery, which is the interesting thing to see. The Cemetery is locked but if you are a foreigner you can get in or you can get a view of the grounds from a walkway to the left of the gate.
Not far from Kobe. You can walk over Rokko Mountain, if you want to go that way. This is a hot spring town but, if you are not into baths it is still a good walking place especially in winter when you will probably have snow. There are a number of ways to get to Arima. Bus from Kobe, or take the Kobe subway to Tanigami and change there for the Kobe Dentetsu Line for Arima-onsen. You may have to change at Arimaguchi. Or you can take the rope way across Rokko and down the other side.
This town is an interesting mixture of a few not spectacular but interesting sights. It is a castle town but not much remains of the castle but a nice park. There are good street signs and good flat walking. There is a very pretty walk along the sea a little way out of town.
Take the JR to Himeji and change to the line going to Ako. You might have to change at Aioi. From the Ako station walk straight ahead to the castle. From the castle go left and you will see an amusement park in the distance to the right. Ahead there is a lighthouse on a hill. Walk towards the lighthouse, any way will do. Once you get near the lighthouse you can go up or down. Down will take you to a very nice walk along the sea.
There is no reason to go to Nii, unless you want a nice walk in mountains and countryside. There is also a very pretty lake up in the mountains. Not a tourist attraction.
Take the JR to Himeji and change to the Bantan Line. Nii is an express stop. From the train station turn right and cross the tracks when you can. That is probably the main road. Once you cross the tracks you will come to a river; cross that as well. Then walk uphill. There is a main road going that way but next to it is a country road going the same way. After about 30 minutes you will come to a park-like area and a dam. You can walk around the lake above the dam.
This is a good quiet spot just north of Kyoto. A little walking and a good day trip. Two very nice (if small) temples in the country-side.
Take the JR to Kyoto. The fast express is the best. In front of the train station there are many buses. Take the one going to Ohara which can be found furthest away from the train station (bus #17 or #18) platform #1. This is all marked. You can buy a ticket before (there is a ticket window) or on the bus (¥ 520). It takes about an hour on the bus with many stops in the city. Get off at the last stop. Here you can walk to the right or left. Eventually, do both. To the left, follow a stream uphill, not difficult, pass some shops, some rice fields, some more shops. Shortly after a pottery shop there will be a stairway on your right to the temple.
If you cross the street at the bus stop simply go uphill through the usual shop to the larger of the two temples. Both places are very pleasant. The walking is easy and both can be visited in a day.