We did the day trip from Osaka in April. I believe you could probably walk one leg, but it may impact on how much time you get at each site, especially if you plan to include the Kokoen Gardens as well.
We went straight from Himeji station to the bus station, then on to the bus, then the ropeway up. There is so much to see at the top of the ropeway - there are numerous buildings (including temples, pagodas, burial memorials), statues and views around the top. We spent around 2 1/2 hours exploring the top of Mount Shosha, before taking the return ropeway down. I felt I could have spent more time walking around the top even - we loved it! The views are stunning from the ropeway as well.
On the bus back, we got off at the stop at Kokoen Gardens and got the combo ticket there. I felt our time at the gardens was a bit rushed, but I was still glad we included them, they were beautiful. We went on a weekday and the castle was still busy, but nothing like it is on the weekends apparently. We spent around 2 1/2 hours at the castle.
So yes, it is possible (especially if you do the hike up or down, but maybe not both), but start early and give yourself plenty of time to explore the top of the mountain.
cravingescape is exactly right. Take the bus from the station to Mt. Shosha/Engyoji and head up the mountain there. It's an easy bus back with an announcement in English for the Himeji Castle stop.
At Shosha, I have spent three or four hours wandering around, but also as little as one (I recommend a longer time budget). There are a lot of nooks and crannies. If you like to walk, the hike up/down isn't too bad - but it is pretty much all uphill going; that means, of course, that it's all downhill on the return! If you decide to walk, the trail is to the right of the cable car as you face it; you can take the winding path or walk straight down the hill following the power lines. At the bottom of the hill, turn left, keeping the hill over your left shoulder. Note that I've also done the walk back to Himeji station; it takes a couple of hours, but it's not super hard (GPS might help).
Many thanks John and cravingescape for your insights and tips! I think I will most likely take the ropeway up Mt Shosha and hike down, to be safe.
Remember that it's extremely hot and humid in August. I'd take the ropeway up and down :-)
By the way can I use the Kansai Thru Pass for the bus and ropeway???? Or I need to pay for them?
Good point - I need to consider that too. thanks Shibuyakko!
It's absolutely doable. I reached Himeji station at around 10.30am and spent some time trying to locate the bus/ropeway ticket sales counter (It's at the building opposite Himeji station called QWell, ground floor). By the time I reached Mt Shosha, it was already past 11.30am. Mt Shosha was a bit of a maze for me, with hardly any signs in English so I was literally roaming around without knowing where I was going. Was glad to find the way out in the end! Also expect the fairly steep climb up the mountain after getting off the ropeway station. Once past the entrance where you buy entrance tickets, keep to your right and walk up the mountain. You will see lots of Buddhism artefacts along the trek.
I am a fairly brisk walker so managed to cover Mt Shosha (via ropeway both ways), Koko-En gardens and Himeji castle in 1 day, with a short lunch break at Mt Shosha. If you are short of time, I would suggest you give Koko-En gardens a miss. I left Himeji station for Osaka by 4.30pm.
I was also unimpressed with the interior of Himeji castle, it looks more impressive on the outside. Once you enter the castle, expect lots of steep stairs (only 1 way up, no turning back once the climb starts).
Hope this helps!
It does help thanks! We'll probably be a bit slower with kids so probably skipping the garden.
Yea the castles interiors are usually underwhelming, not planning to do in too.
Hi......we have plan visit Himeji on this year end, if we arrive at 7.00 am can we explore mount shosha and get picture of himeji castle from outside. we have to go to station at 12.22 pm to catch train to kinosaki?
Thanks for sharing