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.
Probably my favourite place (at least for now). A place the tourists haven’t found yet. A great place to bring a bottle of wine, a little cheese, and anything else. In winter be ready for snow. There isn’t much there, just the remains of a castle, extensive series of walls, and a wonderful view of the valleys below.
Take the JR to Himeji and change for the Bantan Line going to Todayama. Get off at Takeda (don’t take the express!). From the station you can see the castle walls on the hill across the tracks. There are some stores in the town straight ahead as you leave the station, if you want some food. There are two ways to get to the castle, the woods route and the road route. The woods route: across the tracks there is a shrine (long red steps) and a temple (white wall). Keep the shrine on your right and go along the white wall up the hill. This path will lead through a cedar grove and wind its way up to the castle. The road route: walk straight from the station, make the first right and walk through town. After about ten minutes make a right turn across the tracks and follow the road up the hill to the castle.
Editor’s note: I think George would be both disappointed and amused to know that the tourists have indeed finally discovered this place and it’s now referred to in guide books as the “Machu Picchu of Japan.” It’s heavily promoted by local tourism boards, and now features an extensive system of paths covered with some type of synthetic material and lined with ropes. Kind of a drag since you used to be able to roam freely and have a picnic on the grass. We went on a rainy day and it wasn’t too busy, but it sees a lot of visitors these days.
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.)
This is a long trip with a little bit of walking and little or no train changing. Hikone is a castle town on Lake Biwa, there is a beach on the lake, mountains with a shrine and Zen temple above the town and a castle in the middle of the town. There is a lot to see in a small area.
Take the JR towards Kyoto. There is a train that goes to Maibara which is the stop after Hikone. If you don’t catch that one you will probably have to change in Kyoto, but stay on the same line (Tokaido main line). From the station if you walk straight ahead you will come to the castle. From the castle you can make your way to the beach or in the other direction to the mountains. It may be difficult to find a way to cross the railroad tracks – there are not many crossings. There is a good climb up the hills to the shrine and temple with great views of the city and castle below, and Lake Biwa.
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.
A castle town on the Japan Sea and next to a large lake. A short way out of town by bus is a river gorge with interesting rock formations and very interesting statues carved into the rocks. A long trip but worth it.
From Okayama take the San-in Line to Matsue (about 3 hours). There is plenty of accommodation available.