Three Absolutely Stunning Hyogo Delights

by Luke - TripleLights travel specialist

Hyogo is home to two spectacular castles, and one of the three great night views of Japan. A place shrouded in historical beauty and georgous scenery, we highly recommend taking a train to Hyogo while you travel across the country on your holiday in Japan. Here are the highlights:

Himeji Castle

Three Absolutely Stunning Hyogo Delights

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

Himeji Castle is famous for having been recognized as a National Treasure and an Important Cultural Property due to its beauty among the numerous castles in Japan and its keep (the largest central structure on the castle grounds) that has retained its appearance from the Edo Era. Having been registered as a UNESCO World Heritage site, it was the first time that Japan had been given this honor. Due to its pure white exterior and the surrounding area where many wild birds resided, it was also called Shirasagi-jo (White Heron Castle). The contrast between the linked castle keep constructed from multiple roof layers and the pure white exterior is exquisite. Also, there is another reason besides its beauty which explains its status as one of the famous castles of Japan. The reason lies in its construction. In the past, a castle’s quality placed great importance on how well the demarcation of the castle grounds were constructed. Himeji Castle possessed a spiral demarcation that was unusual in Japan, and it is said that it had fortifications meant for a high castle such as Edo Castle. The castle which was known as Japan’s most beautiful underwent a major restoration from 2009 to May 2015, and the exterior walls that had been painted in white lime plaster were beautifully reborn over time. Its profile has further increased since its grand opening. By all means, please come to Himeji Castle which has been able to keep its valuable presence while many other historic structures ended up burning down in war.

Admission: Adult: ¥ 1,000 / Child: ¥ 300

Guidebook from Planetyze about Himeji Castle
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Himeji Castle
Tours of Himeji Castle

Takeda Castle

Three Absolutely Stunning Hyogo Delights

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

The ruins of the castle known as Japan’s Macchu Picchu are at the peak of Mt. Gojo in the southern part of the nature-filled Tajima Region in Asago City, Hyogo Prefecture. At an altitude of 353.7m, Mt. Gojo has also been called Torafusujou or Kogajou (Lying Tiger Mountain) since its shape seems to resemble that of a tiger lying down. However, the castle no longer exists with the remains of its stone walls continuing to relate its long history. Even so, one reason behind the ruins’ continuing charm for people even now is the wondrous scenery that has been created from the topography.  

In the early mornings with their fine sunrises from autumn to winter, when the morning fog which rises from the river deeply enshrouds the mountain, the peak where the ruins of Takeda Castle are located is surrounded by a splendid wide sea of clouds. That scene is exactly like a castle in the sky which has been called Japan’s Macchu Picchu Ruins.  

There are many unknowns surrounding the history of the castle, but it’s been said that around 1441-1443, the military governor-turned-feudal lord Otagaki constructed Takeda Castle. However during the age of warfare known as the Warring States Era, the castle couldn’t avoid the wartime destruction and ended up facing a number of battles. In 1580, under orders of the shogun Nobunaga Oda, Takeda Castle was invaded and fell, and Otagaki’s influence was ended. Hirohide Akamatsu became the new ruler of the castle and began reconstruction which successfully completed the castle’s expansion. Currently, the castle remains are from what Akamatsu constructed. However, his reign was brief, and in 1600, he was on the losing side at the pivotal Battle of Sekigahara at the end of the Warring States Era and was forced to commit seppuku. Another new ruler was found but afterwards in the new Edo Era, the castle was given the order to be abandoned by the shogunate.  

Even with its heroic history during the Warring States Era, the castle has remained abandoned among the soaring beautiful mountains. This timeless story has been colored by a beautiful fog of the first order and continues to inspire the hearts of people.

Looking up to this mountaintop castle from below, the appearance of floating in the clouds is wonderful, but while climbing the mountain, the scene of river fog covering the mountain road in the distance is also beautiful. As an abandoned castle, the beauty of the view seen from the remaining stone walls further highlights the sad historical evidence. If you are yearning to see this beautiful fog, aim for November and check that the temperature during the day before you go is relatively high as the night cools down, and then head out the next morning. The river going downstream will cool down due to the difference in temperature and the lovely fog will form. Also, in recent years, the area has been recognized as a place for lovers, so it would be a great place to visit with that special someone. However, please note that during winter between December and March, the mountain is closed to entry due to snow.

Admission: Various

Guidebook from Planetyze about Takeda Castle
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Takeda Castle
Tours of Takeda Castle 

Mount Maya

Three Absolutely Stunning Hyogo Delights

(image by upload.wikimedia.org)

Mount Maya is located in the center of the Rokko Mountains which have been loved by tourists for activities such as hiking. You can easily make your way up from the city to the peak by using the Maya Cableway and the Maya Ropeway, known together as the Maya View Line, so people who are not into mountain climbing can rest easy. From inside the Maya View Line, you can get a panoramic view of Osaka Bay, and the line is that little-known spot where you can get that close-up feeling of nature on the mountain. This is especially recommended for those who want to really enjoy the scenery at leisure. From the Kikuseidai observation point at the top of Mt. Maya at 609m, you can see Kobe and even out to Osaka. Moreover, the view at night spreads out in front of your eyes and glitters like a jewel box, but you can also get a different expression of Kobe during the day. It is an amazing view from Mt. Maya that has been known as one of Japan’s Three Great Nightscapes, so enjoy that romantic moment up there.

The night view from Mt. Maya certainly has a breathtaking beauty that would make anyone swoon. However, it’s also recommended to take in the lush nature of Mt. Maya underneath that blue sky. The truly plentiful greenery surrounding Mt. Maya is incredible. Starting from Maya Nature Park, there are other numerous tourist spots where you can take a leisurely stroll such as Tenjo-ji Temple and the atmospheric Lake Hodaka. Of course, there is also that grand view from the mountain of Kobe and Osaka during the daytime. How about easing that fatigue from traveling as you enjoy the wonderful scenery in the clean air?

Admission: Adult: ¥ 800 / Child: ¥ 440

Guidebook from Planetyze about Mount Maya
Reviews from TripAdvisor about Mount Maya
Tours of Mount Maya

Did you like my article?

If you are interested to know more and save your time during your trip to Osaka, You can send a message to our local guides to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience.

In the TripleLights website you can find the best professional guides all over Japan to help you plan your trip. Check our local guides for Osaka


Plan your trip to Osaka

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started

Recent Tour Reviews in Osaka

“ Awesome virtual experience ”

Excellent
6 days ago Traveler: MELISSA -   Tour Guide: Richard

For our recent corporate team activity we did Richards virtual traditional Japanese tea ceremony experience. Our team is split across Australia, Japan and Singapore.. Richard did a phenomenal job of making our virtual experience unique that for the 1 hour we were with him it felt like we were all together in the heart of Osaka in this beautiful tea shop! Richard went the extra mile and had all the...
read more

“ Day tour of Osaka ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: Jamie -   Tour Guide: Aimu

I had a great tour with Aimu, getting to visit all the locations that were suggested on the itinerary. Slightly unfortunate that some of them were closed (due to Covid-19) but Aimu just found more locations to visit on the go which suited me perfectly fine, as I like to just sort of explore randomly. Her knowledge on the history of where we went was fascinating and meant I learnt more about the ar...
read more

“ Trip to old Osaka ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: Randal -   Tour Guide: Toshi

My day with Toshi was a lot of fun. We went to some interesting temples and shrine were he told me there history. We also went to parts of the city that are the same as years ago and had a really good lunch. If you want an interesting and easy to talk to guide go with Toshi. Randal
read more

“ A fun night touring Osaka ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: Richard -   Tour Guide: Richard

We had a very fun experience touring around Osaka with Richard. It was really cool to go and see where the locals eat and drink. Richard was every knowledge about food, culture and history of the area. Before you know it your knee deep in the local vibe. We took our kids and Richard was very fun and engaging with our boys. Before the night was over we were all laughing with the locals about our bo...
read more

“ Awesome guide! Thank you so much! ”

Excellent
6 months ago Traveler: Sara -   Tour Guide: Kaori

Kaori is such a friendly and happy person. It felt like hanging out with an old friend. She was really flexible about our plans and really tried to make the perfect tour for me. So just tell her what you like - she will find the right places to go for you. Just amazing! Thank you Kaori!!! :-)
read more

“ Excellent local knowledge about all of the major tourist destinations. ”

Excellent
7 months ago Traveler: David -   Tour Guide: Kiriko

Thank you Kitty for being so flexible in showing us around Osaka. Although we had some requests to see some places that are not typical, it was wonderful that you were so enthusiastic with your research and interest in helping us have a great time. It was a great day of trying many wonderful foods from the region and learning about neighbourhoods we may have overlooked without you.
read more

“ Fantastic Specialized Tour ”

Excellent
7 months ago Traveler: Kristine -   Tour Guide: ERIC

We contacted Eric at the very last minute to do a very abbreviated tour. He took us exactly where we wanted to go and helped us meet our timing constraints. We had a fantastic time. We enjoyed the information he shared with us about the places we went to see.
read more

“ Fantastic tour guide ”

Excellent
7 months ago Traveler: Ryan -   Tour Guide: Kaori

Kaori is a fantastic guide and I would definitely book her again if I have a chance. She does a great job understanding what you would like to see and customizing the trips to fit your liking. Her ability to navigate the sites as well as her local knowledge of Japan and grasp of the English language is excellent. I give Kaori the highest rating possible. I really enjoyed my time on her tour.
read more

“ she has a wealth of knowledge of Chinese history which i found fascinating. Also, she was quite willing to customize my trip so that it met my needs and interests ”

Excellent
7 months ago Traveler: William -   Tour Guide: Aimu

-she was punctual -she has a good attitude -prior to my trip she helped me think through what options I had available. She spent considerable time in helping me plan my visit so that the days were structured around my particular interest which was photography. -she pointed out ways I could save money by doing things a certain way. -booked us a tea ceremony so i could photograph a Maiko. Excell...
read more

“ A whirlwind 2 days with plenty to see and do ”

Excellent
7 months ago Traveler: Jacqueline -   Tour Guide: Mari

Where do we begin with Mari? Mari is such a wonderful and knowledgeable guide who took us around the sights of Osaka and Kyoto. During the Osaka tour we saw, in great detail, Osaka Castle, Shitenoji Temple and the Dotombori. The time and care taken to talk about the history of the first two places made the tour so much more exciting. I should also point out that we travelled with a party of 6, inc...
read more

Related cities

Plan your trip to Osaka

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Get Started