Shoshazan 書写山

What to do after visiting the most awesome castle (Himejijo, of course) ? ... to The Last Samurai's film set, of course! Buy the "Round Trip Transportation Ticket for Mt. Shosha Ropeway & Bus" for 1300 yen at the "Bus Information Center" on the 1st floor of the QWELL building across from JR Himeji Station's Central Exit and Bus #8 leaves from a stop nearby. We took the 2:43 pm bus leaving Himeji Castle (right side of the road once you exit the castle, 3 buses an hour: 30-minute ride plus 5 minutes on the ropeway, leaving every 15 minutes) and had enough time to see all 3 sets of temples before they closed them up.

The first temple, Maniden, looks a bit like a mini Kiomizudera. All the temples are simple and serene - there was barely anyone there just before 5 pm, nice contrast with Himeji Castle which was surprisingly crowded on a Sunday afternoon. Famous temples are often crowded which kind of ruins the atmosphere, which was what made Mount Shosha such a nice stop even though it's probably not a must-see. Nice views of the city and the ocean. Paths are unpaved hardened mud mixed with little stones, going up and down, with beautiful Kannon statues along the way.