I decided to head to Himeji today, to see what shape the famous castle was in, but primarily to visit Engyoji Temple, a 30 minute bus ride away.  As expected, the castle was under construction, and the majority of it was covered making for a lack of photo opportunities.  Given that Engyoji was to take a half a day at least (including the bus ride to/fro), I decided to skip the castle.  I can always come back in 2014 when it’s finally done.  😉

As with many sites in Japan, Engyoji Temple was on a mountain, Mt. Shosha, and was reached by cable car (five minutes or less, on the Shosha ropeway).

Engyoji Temple is about a 1000 years old, and today is made up of several buildings, spread out over a few kilometers of up and down trails, narrow roads, and very limited vehicle traffic.


I wandered around for almost 3 hours, taking everything in and heading down a few hiking trails when the opportunity presented itself.  Parts of the movie “The Last Samurai” were filme here, and one of the monks was only too happy to explain as much in Japanese.

Himeji is west of Kobe, so on the way back I decided to stop off and see the Akashi Kaikyō Suspension Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world at 3910m.  The sun had just finished setting when I got there, so no sunset pictures unfortunately.  I waited around until it got dark and got a couple of interesting perspectives.

Back to Kobe, and off to bed.