I’d had a bit of a nightmare getting to Himeji; I left something at the hotel and once fetched, I’d missed my train which meant I got into Himeji at 1pm instead of 11pm. I’d heard you needed to arrive early for the ropeway and so went in the tourist info centre to ask for directions to the bus stop to pick up my ticket to the ropeway (gondoliers).
A lady in there was trying to be so helpful but it stressed me out as she kept saying how late I was leading to me being a bit panicked to get to the gondoliers and after leaving my bags in lockers, I was concerned as it’d happened so fast it was a bit of a blur. If I’d arrived earlier, I’m sure the lady I met would have been welcomed as she showed me the lockers, took me to the bus stop and checked I’d got all my stuff like drink and food and was really helpful. I found out later that she was actually providing a free tour service of the castle which would have been great if I’d had a bit more time.
The bus from the train station to the ropeway took about 1/2 an hour but with the wit either side, it would have been worth planning an hour for this. The gondoliers gave a great view over the city going up to the Egoji temple, although unfortunately it didn’t give a view of the castle.
At the top I was on a mission, after chatting to the lady earlier, I was concerned for time so set off at a pace for the temples. There was a bit of a climb to reach the main complex with a couple of smaller buildings although I didn’t spend much time at those. The main temple complex was spread out over quite a wide area – I’m not sure if it was the time of the year or because I was going up the mountain later in the day but there were few people giving some great uninterrupted views. For the first half hour I felt I was rushing around but I relaxed into it a bit more after a while and realised I should be okay time wise; I’d set myself a time limit of 3pm at the top of the mountain although I was done by then and back on the ropeway and down the bottom of the mountain by 3:30pm where I managed to get straight onto a bus.
I wish I’d had a bit more time here but overall enjoyed exploring the mountain temple complex which gave some great views. The main reason I was so keen to go here was that it was the temple from The Last Samurai!