One thing great about renting a car in Japan is that you have the opportunity to go a fair bit off the beaten track and also travel between locations on your own schedule – and since that we had a car this time, we decided to visit the city of Himeji – most will only think about going to the castle (which is amazing!); but the hidden gem to me was definitely the Engyoji Temple, also the location for the film “The Last Samurai”.
Whilst the temple is located at the top of the hill, you need to park down the bottom and take a cable car up – the parking itself is under the huge highway.
You can’t really miss the cable car building up to the temple – as you walk in, there’s clear signs showing how you can get on the cable car – the staff there are also typically nice!
Oh, and I also made a friend!
As the cable car made its way to the top – there’s Japanese explanation (which I didn’t understand much of – so we just enjoyed the view a bit more.
When you reach the station up the top – you can feel the tranquility immediately – and the start is a long path where you pass by about 30 buddha statues – with beautiful breaks in between.
When you reach the top – you enter the gate to the and walk a bit more to reach the main Buddhist hall – which is incredible because of the sheer size and also the fact that this was built still using the traditional method of Japanese wooden carpentry.
The temple grounds is massive and if you want to just sit and enjoy every bit of it, it can take you the better of half a day – that said – not a minute there is wasted since that it is truly one of the most peaceful and amazing places I’ve been to in Japan. The real place is even more amazing than the photos!
For those trying to spot the location from the Last Samurai film: