This Web site offers coupons that can be used at tourist spots in Hyogo Prefecture. For this article, we asked Katerina to use them to experience the Hyogo Golden Route, which goes around the main tourist areas of Kobe, Himeji and Kinosaki. Here, Katerina will introduce the many attractions of Hyogo Prefecture!

Hi, this is Katerina. In the previous post, I shared my experience of going around tourist spots in Kobe on the first day of the Hyogo Golden Tour. This time, on my second day of the tour, I'm going to experience the Himeji area! When you say, "Himeji", I think of Himeji Castle! Said to be one of the most beautiful castles in all of Japan, it's one place I have always wanted to visit. I can't help feeling excited (lol)!

1. Get Information on Tour Guides inside Himeji Station

Inside Himeji Station, there are a lot of free pamphlets in a variety of languages such as English, Chinese and Korean. Because it's inside the station, it's easy to drop in for a while. There's also a corner where you can take commemorative photos. When you arrive at Himeji Station, I recommend that you head here first.

2. Visit the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site, Himeji Castle, Miraculously Preserved from over 400 Years Ago!

From Himeji Station, walk about 20 minutes to the castle. It may seem a little long, but the road runs straight to the castle, so you won't get lost. While walking down the road, it's fun to look around at the everyday scenery of Japan!

As you approach Himeji Castle, regard the full picture before you. While the size of the castle is surprising, the huge grounds are amazing! I've never seen such splendid grounds at other castles in Japan (lol).

If you show your coupon at the entrance, you will receive a discount on admission.

The castle itself is situated on a rather high place. It was built to act as a fortification by repelling the invasion of enemies.

The castle's stone walls are so mysterious. While the stones have a variety of shapes, they fit together perfectly when piled up.

I'm getting closer and closer to the castle!

For details about the interior structure and history of the castle, more information is in this Web site on the page below. Please have a look if you're interested.

Including my home country of Ukraine, most Western castles are made of brick or stone. In Japan, besides those with stone walls, most castles are made of wood. It seems like a miracle that a wooden structure built about 400 years ago has survived intact until now!

I'm really satisfied with my visit to Himeji Castle! There are a lot of places to take photos on the castle grounds. That may be another attraction for young women!

3. Visit Koko-en to Appreciate a Japanese Garden!

Koko-en is a Japanese garden divided into 9 different plots spread out over extensive grounds. It's located about 15 minutes on foot from Himeji Castle.

Show your coupon at the entrance and you'll get a discount on admission.

Enter the park, and you will be amazed at how magnificent the scenery is! The beauty that Japan is famous for spreads out right before your eyes!!

I sure took a lot of photos!

In each season, various flowers will greet you!

I wanted to bring my family here, too (lol)!

The paths connecting one garden to another are also lovely!

I visited the garden in spring, but you can also enjoy the beautiful changes of scenery if you come in the middle of summer, when the leaves turn color, or the season of piled-up snow.

After enjoying the Himeji area, head for Kinosaki Onsen, about 2 hours by train. Of course, plan on spending the night at a hot spring there!