Himeji station guide. How to get Himeji castle from the station

Himeji station terminal building at north side.
Himeji station terminal building at north side.

Himeji station is the gateway to UNESCO World Heritage Site, Himeji Castle. It is very popular day trip destination from Kobe and Osaka. You can get Himeji by JR trains, Shinkansen and Sanyo / Hanshin Railway.

How to access to Himeji and Kobe from Osaka

I would like to explain about these station’s structures and show you some images of Himeji station. And I also show you how to get Himeji castle from the station too.

*The information in this article is current at the time of writing.

JR Himeji Station structure, tracks and platforms

Overview of conventional lines platforms from Shinkansen platform.
Overview of conventional lines platforms from Shinkansen platform.

This terminal station is three levels structure. On the ground floor, there are ticket gates/exits. At second level, there are the platforms of conventional train lines and Shinkansen transfer gate. And Shinkansen platforms are located at third level.

Shinkansen is assigned to track #11 #12, and #13. There are only two platforms for Shinkansen. It’s is very easy to find the way.

Track #11 (left) and track #12. Track #13 is out of the photo and it is next to #12. Sakura (N700 series) was stopping at #11 and Kodama (700 series) was stopping at #12. Nozomi (N700 series) was passing in the middle.
Track #11 (left) and track #12. Track #13 is out of the photo and it is next to #12. Sakura (N700 series) was stopping at #11 and Kodama (700 series) was stopping at #12. Nozomi (N700 series) was passing in the middle.

Track #1 to #8 are conventional line’s platforms. There are only three platforms. Track #1 to #4 share same island platform. And other two platforms have two tracks each, #5 and #6, and #7 and #8.

Conventional lines platforms #1 (left) to #8 (right)
Conventional lines platforms #1 (left) to #8 (right)
At platform of track #5 and #6.
At platform of track #5 and #6.
At stairs from track #5 and #6 to the ground level.
At stairs from track #5 and #6 to the ground level.

All conventional platforms and tracks are connected at the ground level walkway. Shinkansen transfer gate is located at the second level. There are stairs, escalators and elevators between the ground level walkway and Shinkansen transfer gate.

Lines/Trains Track# Destination
Bantan line
Limited Express Hamakaze
1,2 Teramae, Takeda, Wadayama
Osaka (Hamakaze)
Kishin line
Shonan-Shinjuku line
3,4 Harima-Shingu, Sayo, Niimi
Kobe line (Special Rapide, Local)
Limited Express Super Hakuto
5,6 Sannomiya, Osaka, Kyoto
Sanyo line (Special Rapid, Local)
Limited Express Super Hakuto
Limited Express Hamakaze
7,8 Aioi, Banshu-Ako, Kamigori, Okayama
Tottori (Super Hakuto)
Kinosaki-Onsen, Hamasaki, Tottori (Hamakaze)
Sanyo Shinkansne 11 Shin-Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya, Tokyo
Sanyo Shinkansne 12,13 Okayama, Hiroshima, Hakata, Kagoshima-Chuo

Ticket gate/Exit

Central ticket gate. Himeji castle is shown very clearly.
Central ticket gate. Himeji castle is shown very clearly.

All ticket gates/exit are located at the ground level. There is no ticket gate to Shinkansen platforms directly in Himeji station. When you take Shinkansen, you must go through two gates, common ticket gate and Shinkansen transfer gate. You cannot enter/exit to Shinkansen platforms directly.

East ticket gate
East ticket gate

There are two ticket gates, Central and East. If you visit Himeji Castle, you can go through Central ticket gate. Central ticket gate connects two exit, South and North. North exit is the way to Himeji Castle. There are lots of signage of Himeji Castle. You cannot miss it anyway.

I will show you how to transfer from Shinkansen to conventional line train below.

How to exit the station from Shinkansen platforms and how to transfer to conventional line (JR local trains)

You will see this map when you go down to second level from Shinkansen platform.
You will see this map when you go down to second level from Shinkansen platform.

Shinkansen platforms are located on third floor. Take the stairs, escalators or elevator to go down to second level.

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2015 spring Japan trip 1227

You will find Shinknasen transfer gate and go through it.

This photo of Shinkansen transfer gate was taken from conventional train side.
This photo of Shinkansen transfer gate was taken from conventional train side.

Another stairs and escalators to ground level will be ahead and go down.

2015 spring Japan trip 1230

You will see the stairs and escalators to conventional line’s platforms on second level. And there are lots of signage of ticket gate and exit. You will be able to find the way very very easily.

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Sanyo-Himeji station

Sanyo-Himeji station building is just in front of Himeji station North exit.
Sanyo-Himeji station building is located just in front of Himeji station North exit.

If you use Sanyo Railway to get Himeji, you will arrive Sanyo-Himeji station. The station is in the terminal building. It is almost same location as JR Himeji station. Hanshin Railway operates direct train service from Umeda (JR Osaka). Especially if you use Kansai Thru Pass, Hanshina Railway’s direct train is your choice to get Himeji. But Shinkansen is faster and even JR Special Rapid is much faster than Hanshin Railway’s train.

The stairs to Sanyo-Himeji station ticket gate. it is located on second floor.
The stairs to Sanyo-Himeji station ticket gate. It is located on second floor.
Ticket gate and platform of Sanyo-Himeji station
Ticket gate and platform of Sanyo-Himeji station

Sanyo-Himeji station has four tracks and four platforms. This station is the end of Sanyo Railway lines. All trains depart to same destinations, Kobe or Osaka. And also this station has very simple structure. There is only one ticket gate and never miss the direction.

How to get Himeji castle

The map below shows you the route to Himeji station. It is quite easy. You can access to the castle from North exit of Himeji station. If you arrive at Sanyo-Himeji station, just exit the station building.

From JR Himeji station, go through Central ticket gate and proceed to right to North exit.

The view of Central ticket gate from outside.
The view of Central ticket gate from outside
The walkway to North exit. Himeji castle can already be seen.
The walkway to North exit. Himeji castle can already be seen.

Once you get outside of station, you will see Himeji castle in the distance. Otemaedori that is the main street of Himeji connects the station and Himeji castle. All you have to do is just going down this street about 20 minutes. You will get the gate of Himeji castle.

Otemachidori
Otemaedori
It is completely non smoking on the way to Himeji castle.
It is completely non smoking on the way to Himeji castle.
Otemon gate is located at the end of Otemaedori.
Otemon gate is located at the end of Otemaedori.

When it rains, you can take shopping arcade. If you move one block to east at the north exit of Himeji station, you will find the entrance of shopping arcade, “Miyuki dori”.

The entrance of Miyukidori. You can find this from North exit of Himeji station.
The entrance of Miyuki dori. You can find this from North exit of Himeji station.
Lots of shops on Miyuki dori.
Lots of shops on Miyuki dori.

This connects to another shopping arcade, “Honmachi Shotengai”. You can go through these shopping arcades to avoid getting wet.

Honmachi Shotengai. You may not notice the difference between Miyuki dori and Honmachi shotengai.
Honmachi Shotengai. You may not notice the difference between Miyuki dori and Honmachi shotengai.

The end of arcade is just one block away from the gate of Himeji castle.

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I hope this post is useful for your visiting to Himeji.

28 thoughts on “Himeji station guide. How to get Himeji castle from the station”

  1. Dear Takeshi-san, Thank you for the information about Himeji and the station.

    I will be arriving to the station via Limousine bus and want to transfer to go to Shiki-sai. I used take the bus #31 or #32 but now they have changed the bus stops and I don’t know if the same bus goes to Shiki Sai. Do you happen to know anything about this? Are 31 and 32 still passing in front of Yobe adn Shiki Sai?

    Thank you in advance

    1. Hi Elias,

      Actually I have no idea at all. There are many bus stops at Himeji station and I saw the bus stop maps. But it does not show any bus number and destination.
      There is tourist information center beside Central gate. Please ask them to find the bus stop.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  2. Dear Takeshi San. If i used Kansai Hiroshima Pass. How can i get a train from Osaka (? Stn) – Kobe (? Stn). Then from Kobe (? Stn) – Himeji (? Stn). Finally from Himeji (? Stn) – Osaka (? Stn). Still can’t determine the exact station from each location. Plan a day trip from Osaka-Kobe-Himeji-Osaka.
    Tqvm in advance

  3. Dear Takeshi San,

    How can i get train from Himeji by using Kansai Through pass?

    Most of the train information is from Osaka and Kobe.

    Is very far to Arashiyama after my visit to himeji ??

    Thank you

    1. Hi Apple san,

      Hanshin and Sanyo railways are covered by this pass. Please see the link below about trip to Himeji by Kansai thru pass.
      http://jprail.com/destinations/world-heritage-destinations/how-to-access-to-himeji-and-kobe-from-osaka.html

      If you go to Arashiyama after Himeji, it will take about 3 hours to get Arahshiyama from Himeji. And you have to change the trains at least once at Umeda from Hanshin Railway to Hankyu Railway.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  4. Hello,

    I would like to make a stop in Himeji on my way from Hiroshima to Osaka.
    I will have some baggage with me. Is there a baggage room to store suitcases at the train station?

    Best regards,

    Tomasz

      1. Hello Takeshi san,

        thank you for the information. The large size lockers are big enough to place a big suitcase?

        Is there any other place where we can store the baggage? We would like to visit the castle and to continue our trip afternoon.

        Best regards,

        Tomasz

        1. Hi tomasz san,

          You can put most of suitcase in large size locker. I’m not sure 100% but I have heard that the luggage storage is located on the ground floor of Sanyo railway Himeji station building. There is Shinki Bus ticket office and they take care of luggage. I don’t have any more info about this, such as price and business hours.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

  5. Hi Takeshi san.

    Its me again, Ann.

    I told you before that we already decided to take Shinkansen to Himeji. We would just like to have a first hand experience of the renowned Japan Shinkansen.

    My query is this. . .
    According to Hyperdia, I will still need to take subway from Awaza to Shin osaka.

    Q1: I will use ICOCA single fare to Shin Osaka, am I right?

    Q2: Where can we buy the Shinkansen ticket from Shin Osaka to Himeji station?

    Q3: Can shinkansen ticket be purchased before the actual day of travel?

    Thanks a lot, Takeshi san.

    Cheers,

    Ann

    1. Hi Ann san,

      Q1: I will use ICOCA single fare to Shin Osaka, am I right?
      Yes. You may purchase just a ticket at the vending machine if you will not have ICOCA.

      Q2: Where can we buy the Shinkansen ticket from Shin Osaka to Himeji station?
      Q3: Can shinkansen ticket be purchased before the actual day of travel?
      You can purchase at reservation window that is called “Midori no Madoguchoi” in most of JR stations in advance. In downtown Osaka, you may find this window at any JR stations.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      1. Thank you Takeshi san!

        Q1: Can I purchase Shinkansen ticket at JR ticket Counter at KIX?

        Q2: Do I need to provide the travel details, like the date & time, upon purchase of Shinkansen tickets?

        THANK YOU TAKESHI SAN!

        1. Hi Ann san,

          You can purchase it at Kansai airport station. If you want to reserve a seat, you have to mention travel date, time and number of passengers. If you are okay with non reserved seat, you need to tell only travel date. But your seat is not secured.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

          1. Hi again Takeshi San!

            I think I will purchase the Shinkansen ticket to Himeji on the actual day itself coz still not sure on the exact date.

            You said that Shin tickets can be bought at Midori no Maduguchoy window & other JR counters.

            Q1: Are there JR counters at the subway stations?

            Q2: If none, does that mean we buy the Shin tickets only upon arrival at Shin Osaka?

            Sorry for asking. I only want to prepare what to do beforehand.

            Cheers,

            Ann

          2. Hi Ann san,

            You need to go to JR station. You cannot purchase any JR ticket at subway station. You can purchase a ticket at any JR stations, like Osaka, Kyoto. When you travel in other cities and if you have a time to drop by JR station, you can purchase it there. Remember you can purchase it at only JR station, not subway station and other Non JR trains stations.
            Of course you can purchase it just before you go to Himeji at Shin-Osaka if you are not sure the travel date.

            I think you are too nervous. It will be easier than that you think. Don’t worry and you will be okay.

            Cheers,

            Takeshi / JPRail.com

  6. Hi Takeshi-san,
    I have another plan in my mind to go Himeji on the 1st day when I arrived Kansai Airport @ 8.30am and I’m staying in Namba. Can i take 1 day JR Kansai Area Pass to go Himeji from KIX? What is the route? Is JR Kansai Area Pass different compare to JR Railway Line (Special Rapid Train)? Should i lock our luggage in Namba Station or Himeji Station? I was worry Kansai Thru Pass will be a bit slow for us to reach Himeji. Please help to advise.

    As always, Thank you for your great support 🙂

    Warmest regards,
    PP

    1. Hi PP san,

      You can take Haruka to Shin-Osaka and catch special rapid. Both trains are covered.
      If you want to leave your luggage in Namba, Kansai thru pass is better choice because JR is not a good way to get Namba. If you are okay to travel to Himeji with luggage, use Kansai area pass and follow the route above.
      Himeji station has locker but special rapid is always busy even after peak hours and daytime. You may have to stand up with the luggage. And also Special rapid is a commuter trains. It does not have any luggage space.

      So if you want to get Himeji as early as possible, go for Kansai area pass to take JR. Otherwise use Kansai thru pass to take Hanshin railway from Namba.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  7. Takeshi san,

    I come from a relatively small country. I feel scared even at our largest interchange subway station.  Why?  The problem there is not the same. You must come visit this station when you transit for your trips back to Japan.

    Directing human traffic is really not an easy task. I spent some years writing instruction manuals for institutions so I understand it is not simply to put things in words.

  8. Takeshi san,

    I feel anxious when I have to decide quickly which way to go, especially with legions of people coming at you!

    I salute the station managers of gigantic stations like Tokyo Station and Shinjuku Station.  Moving a mammoth crowd about the train station everyday must really be a big headache!

    Best Regards

  9. Takeshi san,

    I am reading this post so many times so that I can visualize my way about the Himeji Station. Why are Japanese train stations so scary?

    But thanks for posting this.

    1. Hi Elaine,

      It’s not scary but a bit complicated. Because there are so many lines and many kinds of trains in Japan. Major stations have many platforms and tracks. But once you get there, you will be okay. Things will be much easier than that you think.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JP Rail

      1. Hello Takeshi san,

        I also have a question for you, if I may,
        we are travelling from Okayama, to Osaka, can we make also a stop at Himeji?
        Greetings
        Ingrid

        1. Hi Ingrid san,

          You can make a stopover at Himeji by one base fare ticket. But you have to buy two separate seat fee ticket if you take Shinkansen for Okayama-Himeji and Himeji-Shinosaka.

          Cheers,

          Takeshi / JPRail.com

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