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A small city on the western edge of the Kansai region of Japan, Himeji has been in many films such as The Last Samurai, due to its famed old-Japan look. The site of the finest castle in Japan that during the late 1500s was the biggest castle in Asia is known as the Himeji. The castle complex is only a 15-minute walk from the Himeji Station, so there is no excuse to miss it.
For the tourist that doesn't like to walk too much in strange towns, there is a Sightseeing Loop bus that you can jump on and off, making its way from the train station going around the cultural area with stops along the way at the castle, garden and museums.
A UNESCO World Heritage site, the stunning Himeji Castle has escaped being ravaged by wars, earthquakes and fire bombings. It is the last castle in Japan that still towers over the now aproned fringes of skyscrapers and office buildings. The number of visitors each day is limited, so get there early to beat the queue and make sure you check out the Kokoen Garden close by on the edge of the outer moat. This garden is an incredible collection of 9 Edo-period-style walled gardens where samurai houses once stood. You can even grab something to eat or drink at the restaurant within the grounds, if you get an attack of the munchies.
For the museum buff there is the Hyogo Prefectural Museum of History to poke around or the Himeji City Museum of Art that quite often has special exhibitions happening. If the need for a temple visit occurs, check out the Engyo-ji Temple that was the scene used in Tom Cruise's The Last Samurai movie.
You definitely won't get bored in Himeji, in fact you may have trouble finding time to work on your laptop.
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