A Day Trip at Mount Shosha, Hyogo
The first thought that usually comes to mind when planning a trip to Himeji is Visiting Himeji Castle, especially during the cherry blossom season!
An often-missed sight is Mount Shosha, located 6km away up north from Himeji Castle. Mount Shosha is located in Shoshazan Engyo-ji, a national heritage site famous for its scenes from the 2003 movie "The Last Samurai". Shoshazan Engyo-ji temples are spread vastly around the mountain top and provide a scenic and historical ambience to visitors, making it a top shooting site for dramas, movies and TV shows.
To get to Mount Shosha base, take a ¥270 bus ride from bus number 8 towards Mount Shosa Ropeway from Himeji Station.
Once at the ropeway office, there are two options to visit the top of Mount Shosha: either by cable car ropeway or by hiking.
Ropeway to the Top Option
Admission to the ropeway costs ¥600 one way or, ¥1,000 round trip. The ropeway is a faster and more convenient way that comes along with a panoramic scenic view of the mountains.
Hiking to the Top Option
The other option that is cost effective and equally scenic as well is hiking. The hike would take around 1 hour depending on stamina and speed. From the ropeway counters, look for signs of Mt. Shosha Trailhead （登山道）throughout the housing area.
Firstly, you will pass by a car park area and keep an eye out for the above mentioned signs. Be careful as they can be quite small in size and easily overlooked.
The trail then takes you through a housing area.
And then the hike starts!
The trail is fairly flat and has some tricky rocky slopes as you approach the top of Mount Shosha (where the ropeway ends).
Bamboo sticks are available along the treks to help hikers with the hike. Feel free to use them anytime.
Midway through the hike, there is a resting stop and observation deck for a quick recharge.
It’s pretty close to the top of Mount Shosha from here on. Once you have arrived to the top where the ropeway ends, soak in the view of Himeji City. Rest up before making your way to visit the Shoshazan Engyo-ji temples.
Shoshazan Engyo-ji Temples
There is a widespread array of temples here. You can first start by entering via Niomon Gate.
Walk along the guided path freely as you explore the area.
The infamous temple to visit here is the Maniden Temple, which means, “As you wish”. It’s design and shape are similar to the famous Kiyomizudera in Kyoto, with open access to its balcony.
You will come across many scenic areas that may jog your memory with the movie “The Last Samurai” where Tom Cruise was infamously seen and carrying out stunts at.
Visiting Mount Shosha and Shoshaza Engyo-ji Temple for a day trip is recommended for both history and nature lovers visiting Japan. It is a great getaway from the bustling city and into a walk down memory lane as a fan of the last samurai movie.