How to access to Himeji and Kobe from Osaka

Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe and Nara
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There are lots of castles in Japan. But Himeji castle is one of four existing original catle buildings. (C) JNTO

Himeji castle is National Treasure, National Heritage Building, one of the best 100 castles in Japan and UNESCO World Heritage Site. I think this castle is most well known and popular castle in Japan and I believe everybody agree with me.

You can travel Himeji from Osaka as easy day trip. In this post, I would like to explain about the access to Himeji by several kinds of trains. Since Kobe is located on the way to Himeji, I also mention about Kobe. You can drop by when you go to Himeji easily.

Route and access

Let’s see the location map. Please see the map below:

Access map for trip to Himeji (Click to enlarge)

There are three ways to get there.

The Shinkansen — trip time 30 to 45 minutes (from Shin-Osaka) / 3,130 yen (base fare and non reserved seat surcharge by Hikari, Sakura or Kodama)
JR Special Rapid train — average trip time 61 minutes (direct access from Osaka/Umeda) / 1,490 yen fare
Hanshin-Sanyo Railway Limited Express from Umeda — average trip time 95 minutes (direct access) / 1,280 yen fare

Shinkansen is the fastest train obviously, but expensive. And you have to go to Shin-Osaka to catch Shinkansen. Let’s see the available deals and frequency.

Shinkansen

Most common fleet of Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen N700 sereis.

Shinkansen is the fastest way to get Himeji if you can catch the fastest run. There are several kinds of Shinkansen train on this segment, Nozomi, Mmizuho, Hikari, Sakura and Kodama. Kodama stops at all stations and takes sometimes 45 minutes to get Himeji from Shin-Osaka because Kodama waits for other faster trains on the way to Himeji.

If you take this “slow” train Kodama, it’s not much different from JR Special Rapid train. Because you will spend 5 minutes to get Shin-Osaka from Osaka by local train. And you will spend another 5 minutes at least to transfer from local train to Shinkansen. It will be 55 minutes and not much different from Special Rapid trip time 61 minutes.

If you intend to use Japan Rail Pass, Kansai WIDE Area Pass or Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass, Sanyo Sanin Area Pass, Shinkansen surcharge is covered by these deals.
*Kansai WIDE Area Pass and Kansai Hiroshima Area Pass cover only non reserved seat.

But if you will purchase single ticket, the fare is more than double of Special Rapid train. I don’t think it is not worth taking Shinkansen for such a short trip. Special Rapid is better train service in my opinion.

JR Special Rapid train

Special Rapid Service dominates Kyoto-Osaka-Kobe-Himeji transfer.

This train is most popular and the fastest commute service between Osaka and Himeji. You can catch this train by base fare only. And if you use Kansai Area Pass, this train is your choice. Of course other rail passes, Japan Rail Pass, Kansai WIDE Area Pass and Sanyo Area Pass cover this train too. Please see the link below to get more details about Special Rapid train service.

Most convenient and the fastest train among Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe. Special Rapid Service

If you purchase single ticket from Osaka to Himeji, the fare is 1,490 yen. If you purchase Kansai Area Pass one day, the price is 2,200 yen (online advance purchase price). Kansai Area Pass is the best deal to Himeji from Osaka by Special Rapid train.

Hanshi/Sanyo Railway’s Limited Express

Hanshin Railway connects Umeda and Kobe. The train go through Sanyo Railway to Sanyo-Himeji station.

Hanshin Railway is one of major private railway companies between Umeda and Sannomiya, Motomachi in Kobe. And also Hanshin Railway connects Osaka-Namba station with Amagasaki.

Sanyo Railway connects Himeji and Kobe area. Both Hanshin and Sanyo go through each other and both companies operate direct train service from Umeda to Himeji. But this is much slower than JR Special Rapid train. You will spend at least 30 minutes more than Special Rapid train if you move from Umeda (same location as JR Osaka station) to Himeji.

If you use Kansai Thru Pass, you cannot take any JR trains. Hanshin-Sanyo direct train is only you choice. The round trip fare is 2,560 yen. It is worth using Kansai Thru Pass for the trip to Himeji from Umeda.

If you stay in Namba, you can catch Hanshin Railway train at Osaka-Namba station. The transfer at Amagasaki station is usually same platform and very easy. If you use Kansai Thru Pass, you can take subway Midousuji line to Umeda and transfer to Hanshin Railway at Umeda. In this case, you have to exit subway station and enter Hanshin Railway station. Transfer at Amagasaki is much easier than changing train at Umeda. And the difference of trip time between Hanshin-Sanyo and JR is smaller if you start from Namba. As I mentioned, JR Special Rapid is much faster but you need to get Umeda by subway from Namba. If you take Hanshin railway, you can change trains at Amagasaki and it is transfer in the station. JR Special Rapid is still faster but the difference is 10 to 15 minutes. It is not a big issue.

This train is “Limited Express” but no express surcharge is required. This is same type of trains as Special Rapid.

In the map above, there is Hankyu Railway between Umeda and Sannomiya. You can take this train by Kansai Thru Pass too. But any Hankyu trains do not go through Sanyo Railway line. So it is not convenient and not recommended either.

Himeji station

Sanyo-Himeji station is located at the north side of JR Himeji station. It is 20 minutes away from Himeji station by walk. Please find the detailed about Himeji station and how to access to Himeji castle at the link below:

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

Drop by Kobe

Sannomiya is the core place of Kobe. You can take any train other than Shinkansen to drop by Kobe. But if you go to Kobe only, any kinds of passes do not work. Single ticket is much cheaper than any deals.

Comments

  1. tehfuzzypanda – Name: Chano Chan Alias/Pseudonym: chano :P Date of Birth (dd/mm/yy): 10/07/9X Gender: FEMALE Ethnicity: canto-taiwanese-ABC Nationality: american Place of Birth: new york Current Location/Residence: new freaking york MSN/AIM/YIM: tehfuzzypanda Hair Colour: black Eye Colour: black-brown Height: dunno... 165 cm by now prolly Tattoos/Piercings: nope thanks Marital Status: single~ Sexual Orientation: STRAIT Family Members: little sister, mom, dad, grandma Pets: none D: all my fish died while i was on tour >_> Occupation: student/touring musician Ambitions/Dreams: to get a job where i can travel and make a difference~ Favourite Colour: navy... aquamarine? Favourite Flavour: SALTY. KIMCHEEEEE Favourite Food: KIMCHEEEE and 小龍飽 <3 and honey Favourite Drink: NAKED green machine~ and honey water Favourite Anime: ehmmm fma? Favourite Manga: KAICHOU. well for now at least. anddd FMA... and bleach, xxxholic Favourite Book: uhmm PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. a tale of two cities, great expectations! Favourite Film: the curious case of benjamin button (as of now...) Favourite TV Show: lie to me~ HANA YORI DANGO. (japanese version) Favourite Video Game: dont play video games Favourite Song: 30minutes night flight ~ maaya sakamoto Favourite Hobbies: spending my waking hours on the comp. reading. sleeping. Favourite Soundtracks/OSTs: uhmm LORD OF THE RINGS. Favourite Genre: ?????? seinen Favourite Places: in a nice bed quiet shady place with a book... library... a place with internet.... Personality: i rant a lot T__T; tends to act like a sheep... gets frustrated easily... short temper, no patience Education: 10th grade (at this point) studying for effing APs Religious Beliefs: i'm a deist. if there's a god, s/he's there to make sure the laws stay the same. Favourite Sport: ......badminton? walking? trying to kick 300? Favourite Band: how about favorite MUSICIAN? like UTADA HIKARU~ and MAAYA SAKAMOTO~ and JAYCHOU.
    Chani says:

    Hello there,
    I am planning a trip for 3 people to Osaka in the first week of June. I’d like to know if I should purchase the Kansai Area Pass for 1 day or 2 days.
    We will arrive in Osaka by bus, and leave from Kansai International Airport.
    I plan to take a day trip to Himeji and Kobe from Osaka, so I will definitely buy the pass for at least one day.

    My question is: should I schedule the Himeji day for the day before we leave for the airport? Is the 2 day pass worth it for Himeji – Kobe on one day, and one-way to KIX the next day?
    Or should we just get the Kansai Area Pass for 1 day and purchase a different ticket to get to the airport? If so, which ticket would you say is the best value?

    Question 2: Does the Kansai Area Pass also cover the Shinkaisoku – New Rapid Express from Osaka to Himeji? I heard that the trip is more scenic.

    Thanks for your help!
    Chani

  2. Beaniegal
    Bin says:

    Hi Takeshi-san,

    I’m still abit confused, and will appreciate your advice please!

    We will be travelling from Osaka, and would like to go to Himeiji, then Kobe, and then back to Osaka in a day trip. Does this mean we can get the Kansai Area Pass?

    We are also travelling within Osaka for a week (heading to Mie and Mount Koya), so I’m thinking the Kansai Area Pass will be an overall good option.

    Thanks!

  3. Michael says:

    Hello Takeshi san,

    Can you please clarify, with 1-day JR Kansai Area pass, from Osaka to Himeji can you travel on Super Hakuto trains with this pass or only Tokaido-Sanyo trains?

    Cheers.

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Michael san,

      Unfortunately you cannot take Super Hakuto. Haruka is only limited express train which is covered by this pass. Special rapid is the fastest way to get Himeji by this pass.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

      • Michael says:

        Hello Takeshi san and thank you again.

        When you say Special Rapid to Himeji, would this then be Tokaido-Sanyo train to Himeji? Is this train covered by the JR Kansai area pass?

        Cheers.

  4. sweetsakuraangel
    Jackie says:

    Hi Takeshi,

    I am travelling to Osaka for the first time with my husband for our honeymoon the end of this month (March 2017). We will be staying close to the Osaka/Umeda station.

    For one day, we would like to travel to Himeji to see the Himeji castle and then go to Arima Onsen in the afternoon then go to Kobe for evening and then back to Osaka. Do you think this plan is feasible? Or do you think we should cut out Himeji and stay longer in Kobe for the day to explore? What pass or transportation tips can you recommend?

    Thank you kindly,
    Jackie

  5. Hi Takeshi San. Please we need your advise. It’s our first time to travel to Japan. April 16 – 26 2017. We book 5 days at Hotel Keihan (near USJ) and 5 days in Tokyo.
    1st day – Arrival – Kansai Airport to Hotel Keihan (8pm)
    2nd day – USJ (All day)
    3rd day – Visit Nara
    4th day – Visit Kyoto
    5th day – Explore Osaka City – Dotonbori – Osaka Castle etch.
    6th day – Travel to Tokyo via Shinkansen from Osaka
    Check-in- and visit places near the hotel
    7th day – Disneyland
    8th day – Disney Sea
    9th day – Visit Mt. Fuji – day trip only
    10th day – Around Tokyo
    11th – back to Manila

    * Is it worth to stay on the same Hotel in USJ?
    *Which pass can you recommend for all our trip
    Thank you very much.

    Regards,
    Romeo

  6. Ryan Dy says:

    Hi Takeshi San,

    I confused with all the pass available and need help/suggestions for our itinerary.

    Day 1 Osaka (Kansai Airport to Namba)
    Day 2 Osaka (Umeda Sky Bldg, Osaka Castle)
    Day 3 Nara
    Day 4 Kyoto
    Day 5 Osaka with local friend (Probably Minoo Part)
    Day 6 Kyoto
    Day 7 Hiroshima
    Day 8 Himeji Castle
    Day 9 Namba to Kansai Airport

    All nights will be spent in Namba. Which pass do you recommend. We can switch the iti if necessary except for Day 5. Thank you.

  7. Dear Khun Takeshi,
    Very much appreciate your thorough suggestions ka.

    I am staying in Namba, Osaka for 7 days, 9-15 Feb.
    During the 7 days, I will travel from Osaka to Himeji, spend 1 night.
    Then Himeji- Kinosaki for 2 nights.
    Then Kinosaki-Osaka to catch a plane back to Thailand.

    Question: How should I travel? And which pass should I buy?
    Thank you very much ka.
    Poj

  8. Faiz says:

    Hello again Takeshi,

    I intend to use the Kansai Thru Pass and I would like to ask how do I get to Himeji castle from Osaka(Kujo) station?

    • Takeshi Shimomura, Author of JPRail.com
      Takeshi / JPRail.com says:

      Hi Faiz,

      You can take Hashin Railway local train at Kujo. You can change Hanshin railway express train to Himeji at Amagasaki. You can follow the route of Hanshin – Sanyo in the post above.

      Cheers,

      Takeshi / JPRail.com

  9. Hi Takeshi San,
    We are confused and need guidance.. about what train passes to get. Flying into Kansai airport and depart from here also. 28December to 4 January. Accomodation already booked 7 nights in Shin-Osaka. They wanted to visit Osaka, Kyoto, Ine, Himeji, Kobe, Hiroshima, Nara.
    Thank you.
    With Regards,
    Jackie

  10. I am travelling in Japan for the first time in January-February 2017. Part of my plans are to travel to the Kansai airport at 4pm on 27 January then catch the train/trains to Himeji where I will stay, catching the train to Hiroshima and Miyajima Is and back to Himeji on the the 28th and catch the train in the afternoon of the 29th to Kyoyo. I will have a JR Pass and was wondering whether my plans are practical and whether it can all be done on the JR Pass?

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