Hyogo Prefecture is located in the west side of Osaka and Kyoto in the Kansai Region. Its capital, Kobe City, is a cosmopolitan port city with mountains, Chinatown, and Kobe Harborland, and is famous for Kebe beef. But not only in Kobe, there are many places to visit in Hyogo prefecture such as well-known castle, several hot spring resorts, beautiful nature spots and much more. In this article we present the best places to visit in Hyogo. Other Places to Visit in Kansai
This article features the area other than the main attractions in Kobe, so read the article for more information about Kobe too!
1. Arima Onsen
Arima Onsen is a hot spring resort located in Kobe, behind Mount Rokko. Arima Onsen is popular for those who want tranquility with beautiful nature yet easy access from Kobe and Osaka. It is one of the oldest onsen resorts in Japan.
The town can be easily explored on foot, and you can find several hot spring sources, historical temples and shrines and small hot spring museum. You can enjoy hot spring bathing at two public bath houses or at the ryokan (traditional inn) in the town. A numbers of ryokan also offer drop-in baths.
Take a local bus operated by Hankyu Bus or Shinki Bus from Sannomiya Station (about 50 minutes) via Shin-Kobe Station (about 35 minutes) to Arima Onsen.
Take a highway bus operated by Hankyu Bus or JR Bus from Hankyu Umeda Station or JR Osaka Station in Osaka (about 60 minutes) via Shin-Osaka Station (about 50 minutes).
2. Himeji Castle
Himeji Castle is a hilltop castle located in Himeji. It is considered as the most spectacular castle in Japan for its imposing size and elegant, white appearance along with its well preserved complex castle grounds. The castle is frequently known as “White Egret Castle” or “White Heron Castle” (Shirasagi-jo) because of its beautiful white exterior.
The castle complex was completed in 1609 and is made up of over 80 buildings. It is one of Japan’s twelve remaining original castles. On the top floor of the main keep is a small shrine and viewpoints which offers views over Himeji Castle ground and the city.
The most visited season is during cherry blossom season for there are over 1,000 cherry trees can be found on the castle grounds.
15 to 20 minute walk from the north exit of Himeji Station.
3. Takeda Castle Ruins
Takeda Castle Ruins is located in the city of Asago in the northern part of the prefecture. It is situated about 353 meters above sea level and is known as the “castle floating in the sky” because it looks like floating on a sea of clouds on foggy autumn and winter mornings.
The castle was originally built in 1441, and was abandoned since early 1600s until the ruins were restored in the 1970s and 80s to be opened as a tourist site. There are no buildings on the castle grounds, but the foundations are still largely intact.
From Himeji, take JR Bantan Line to Teramae Station, then take another JR Bantan Line to Takeda Station (about 2 hours).
Uzushio is the world’s largest whirlpools of 20 meters in diameter which can be seen in the Seto Inland Sea, or Setonaikai, between Awaji Island in Hyogo Prefecture and Shikoku. Especially in spring and autumn, you can see bigger whirlpools.
There is a cruising ship which takes you close to the Uzushio for about 30 minutes, and also sight-seeing boat called Kanrin-Maru which you can tour around the Uzushio for about an hour. You can check more details from here.
At the very southern tip of Awaji Island, there is also Uzushio Roadside Station which is the closest roadside station to the Uzushio. Uzushio Roadside Station offers a nice view of the O-Naruto Bridge which connects Awaji Island and Shikoku along with a restaurant, café, and souvenir shops with extensive lineups of carefully selected souvenirs.
To get to the Uzushio Roadside Station, take an express bus from JR Sannomiya Station (about 90 minutes) to Fukura Bus Terminal. Walk 3 minutes to Uzushio Dome Nanairo-kan. There is a free shuttle from the Uzushio Dome Nanairo-kan to the Uzushio Roadside Station.
5. Mount Rokko
Mount Rokko is a range of mountains in southeastern Hyogo Prefecture. The highest peak is 931 meters in height. This is one of the main attractions of the prefecture for its hiking trails and beautiful views of cities of Kobe and Osaka. It also offers a botanical garden, a music box museum, Japan’s first golf course, a few restaurants and shops.
A circular bus line travels between the area’s major attractions with the top station of both the Rokko Cablecar (from Kobe City) and the Rokko Arima Ropeway (from Arima Onsen).
To take the Rokko Cablecar up the mountain, take the Hankyu Kobe Line to Rokko Station from Sannomiya Station, then take a local bus number 16 to the base station of the Rokko Cablecar.
6. Ako Onsen
Ako Onsen is an onsen(hot springs) resort in Ako City which is in southwestern part of Hyogo Prefecture and a part of Seto Inland Sea National Park. There are a few ryokan (traditional inn) which offer open-air hot spring baths with stunning views of the Seto Inland Sea and several islands on the Seto Island Sea. The thermal water of the hot spring in Ako Onsen is well-known for being good for the skin and is considered to be one of the best in the country.
From Himeji Station, take JR Tokaido Sanyo Main Line Express and get off at Banshuako Station (about 30 minutes).
7. Shoshazan Engyo-ji Temple
This is a temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism founded in 966 in Himeji City. The complex of buildings is located at the top of Mount Shosha, where you can reach by a hiking trail or Mount Shosha Ropeway.
Walk 10 to 15 minutes uphill from the upper ropeway station to reach the Niomon Gate, and another 10 to 15 minutes to reach the Maniden, which is a beautiful wooden temple hall. You can also take a minibus which connects the upper ropeway station and the Maniden. Near Maniden, there are also three massive wooden temples halls called Mitsunodo: the Daikodo (main hall), Jikido and Jogyodo.
Mount Shosha is frequently used as a filming location for historical movies and TV drama including the Hollywood movie “The Last Samurai”.
From Himeji Station, take a local bus number 8 to Mount Shosha Ropeway bus stop (about 30 minutes).
8. Amarube Bridge
It is a railway bridge on JR West’s Sanin Main Line between Yoroi Station and Amarube Station in the town of Kami. This steel-made bridge with about 130 meters in length and 41.5 meters tall was completed in 1912 and was in operation for almost 100 years. The unique design of its structure and its bright color made the bridge popular for tourists.
Although in 2010, a modern concrete bridge was completed to replace the original steel structure, a few of the old steel supports are left in place as a monument. And in 2013, an observation facility called “Sky Station” was opened in Amarube Station, from where you can walk to Amarube Bridge with the stunning view of the Sea of Japan.
At the foot of the bridge is the Sky Station Park, which was opened when the Sky Station was opened in 2013. There are a lawn area and resting place which was built using some parts of the original steel bridge.
Take JR Kishin Line from Himeji Station to Amarube Station (about 8 minutes).
9. Genbudo Cave
Genbudo Cave is a flood basalt which was formed over 1.6 millions years ago. The cave itself is a result of mining in Edo period. There are 5 caves in Genbudo Park.
You can enjoy the stone museum, Genbudo Museum and there are also restaurant and shops at the museum to take a rest and enjoy. Usually every June, the hydrangea festival is held and you can see the beautiful hydrangea while exploring the park.
Take a taxi from Toyooka Station (about 7 minutes) or from Kinosaki Onsen Station (about 5 minutes). Also you can rent a bicycle and cycle there (about 15 minutes)
10. Byakugo-ji Temple
With over 1,300 years of history, this temple is popular for its beautiful garden. You can enjoy the garden all year around but especially in May, many people visit the temple to see 120 meters long wisteria flowers certain.
It gets very crowded when the wisterias are in full bloom, so it is recommended to go there in the early morning.
Take a taxi from Ichijima Station (8 minutes)
Maps of the places above
Where to stay in Hyogo
Setre Highland Villa Himeji ― Located in Mt.Hiromine, you can enjoy the view over the city and highland
Awaji Yumesenkei ― A step away from the beach, the ocean view from the room and open air bath is breathtaking!
Arima Onsen Taketoritei Maruyama ― Choose Japanese or western style from 30 rooms, you can get a great experience with private Onsen hot springs
Popular tours in Hyogo
How did you think about Hyogo? Main attractions of Hyogo are easily accessible from major cities in Kansai region including Osaka, yet the prefecture offers places where you can get away from hustle and bustle of the busy cities.
Read more about the destinations near Hyogo
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