Kyoto, Japan

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Overview

Depart from Kyoto by train for a full-day walking tour of Himeji in Hyogo prefecture, starting at its top attraction: the exquisite Himeji Castle. Then sit down for a Japanese lunch. Afterward, travel to the Maiko Marine Promenade, a walkway that lines the Kobe side of Akashi Kaikyo Bridge — the longest suspension bridge in the world. Travel with your guide by train and on foot for an in-depth experience of these Japanese gems.
  • Full-day tour to Himeji Castle and Akashi Kaikyo Bridge in Maiko, from Kyoto
  • Explore the grounds of the World Heritage-listed Himeji Castle with an expert guide
  • Enjoy a lunch buffet with both Western and Japanese cuisines
  • View the immense span of Akashi Kaikyo Bridge from the Maiko Marine Promenade and observatory
  • Ride the JR rapid train round-trip from Kyoto to Himeji and Maiko stations
Your day starts with a short walk to Kyoto Station after meeting your guide at the New Miyako Hotel. Board the JR Shinkansen in the non-reserved section and relax on the scenic 1-hour journey to Himeji.

When you arrive, your guide leads you to Himeji Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage site that attracts more visitors that any other castle in Japan. The impressively fortified 5-story complex features architectural elements on its exterior that resemble a heron taking flight, giving the castle another name: Shirasagi Castle (White Heron Castle). See the interior and exterior components of the magnificent site with your guide, who shares fascinating details about the 14th-century castle and feudal times in Japan.

Then enjoy a lunch buffet that features both Japanese and Western cuisines.

After lunch, ride the JR Special Rapid Service or Rapid Service (non-reserved seat) from Himeji to Maiko Station. From there, an easy five-minute walk takes you to Akashi Kaikyo Bridge. Stop into the Bridge Exhibition Center to learn about the world's longest suspension bridge, which spans 12,828 feet (3,910 meters) between the city of Kobe and Awaji-shima Island. Then see more from the Maiko Marine Promenade, an observation walkway located under the roadway and 154 feet (47 meters) above the waters of Akashi Strait. The enclosed walkway has some sections with glass flooring that gives views of the sea below.

Your tour at Kyoto Station when you return by train in the early evening.

Reviews

Viator Traveller's Reviews

5.0
17 reviews
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M
, Nov 2017

Real Amazing tour, traveling in trains and a lot of walking, but really interesting, the tour guide was helpful and saved some walking suggesting us to use a cab from the station to the castle, the bridge is very impressive

i
, Aug 2017

I don't really recommend this tour to anyone. The castle is quite far from Kyoto and Osaka, so it means a lot of time spent siting on a train as opposed to actually visiting sights. I expected to be taken on a bus, but we actually went on Shinkanzens and local JR trains. Since I had bought a JR pass I could have taken these same trains to visit the castle free of charge as opposed to paying for a ticket that was pricey because it included the train fares.
The castle itself is more impressive on the outside than on the inside. Snapping a nice photo or two of its exterior will likely be the most worthwhile part of the tour. The inside of the castle is gloomy and empty. There is absolutely nothing to see as you climb up six stories on steep, ladder-like staircases, and then climb down. Aside from a small altar on the top floor, the castle is bare walls and bare wood floors. In the summer heat, it's also quite stuffy. When you leave the castle you head to lunch at a buffet style restaurant in a local hotel. I thought the food was quite mediocre, to be honest.
After lunch you take a long JR local train ride to see the world's longest suspension bridge. I personally felt it was not worth it going so out of my way to see a bridge. You do go up in an elevator to this sort of caged-in tunnel under the bridge that lets you see the ocean below you. Again, not very interesting or impressive.
After this you take a very long JR local train ride back to Kyoto or Osaka. One the way to the castle the bullet train makes the ride faster, but there are no bullet trains where the bridge is, so the slower JR trains are the only choice for going back to your starting point.
Overall, by the time I got back to Kyoto at close to 6pm, I felt like I had lost a day of my trip. There are simply so many wonderful and interesting things to do in Kyoto that I did feel it a bit of a waste to travel so far to see an empty castle when Kyoto's imperial palace was actually nicer. The tour itself is not at fault for this. Our guide was very nice, friendly, and funny. Her English was pretty good, and she had a positive attitude throughout. The tour does make you walk quite a lot, so if you have any mobility problems, take that into account.

B
, Jul 2017

Very good and well preserved castle, worth visiting

B
, Oct 2016

Maiko dinner and tea ceremony is something that one should experience when in Kyoto

K
, Oct 2016

Our guide Sachiko was wonderful. She was really knowledgeable and made the long walk to top of the castle seem like a breeze! She really went above and beyond her duties to make everyone feel comfortable and enjoying the trip. All in all, an amazing place to see.

C
, Sep 2016

We had a great day at Himeji, made all the more special by our guide Tyco. She was very knowledgable, liked a laugh and interacted so well. Himeji castle is a magic place and a must see. Akashi bridge is nice but a filler really. I would just do Himeji castle.

S
, May 2016

The castle was insane and the tour guide had extensive knowledge on the history of the castle as well as the importance of the town. Highly recommend as it was an overly impressive structure with great views and impressive locations. Would not have wanted to attack this place.

C
, May 2016

Our guide for this tour was fabulous! She goes above and beyond for her group, she is very informative and she cared for her group. We had a small group which was great, but there is a lot of walking, so be prepared. The castle is gorgeous! The lunch was very delicious also! It was a great day! The bridge was also interesting.

O
, Mar 2016

We were lucky enough to have a private tour with our guide Yuki as we were the only 2 on the day. Yuki was an information tour guide with superb english cracking jokes too. The buffet lunch was delicious and throughout the entire tour we did not feel rushed at all. We would highly recommend this tour for any first time visitors of Kyoto.

B
, Jan 2016

The steps up the castle were steep with low ceilings. From an architectural and engineering standpoint the castle was very impressive. We also were lucky going during the winter off season so there were no lines. We did not see the garden because of the winter weather but the Akashi bridge was also a fun highlight. Overall this was a great experience and our guide was both friendly and informative.


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