This article covers the 3-day-2-night trip to areas in eastern Hyogo Prefecture won by 2 people in a special campaign hosted by Hyogo Prefecture! This is part 2 of our report covering the winners’ experience of their trip across the prefecture. Part 2 will follow our winners from the second half of day 2 onward, as they sightsee around the castle town of Tamba-Sasayama and experience Nordic walking and open air yoga at the Takeda Castle Ruins.

[Read Part 1]

After leaving the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum, our group returned to JR Takarazuka Station, where we took the limited express Konotori train for about 30 minutes to arrive at Sasayamaguchi Station. After about 10 minutes, the train ride starts to take you deeper and deeper into the mountains. Be sure to enjoy the view of nature from the train window during this trip!

From Sasayamaguchi Station, we took a bus for about 15 minutes to arrive at Nikaimachi.

<3:00pm> Changing into Kimono and Walking About the Castle Town

This time, we rented our guests kimono at a store called “Kimono Rental Hanabishi.” Here you can choose your favorite kimono, as well as obi and accessories that match the color and pattern. The store offers ample support even for people wearing a kimono for the first time, so you can rest easy!

This time, Ms. Guo chose a blue and pink kimono, while Ms. Huang chose a kimono with various reds. There are plenty of old-fashioned Japanese neighborhoods around the Sasayama Castle Ruins, like samurai and merchant homes, so when you walk around in a kimono it almost feels like you’ve traveled back in time.

Another appealing part of Tamba-Sasayama is the surrounding abundance of nature, which exists in harmony with the townscape and changes beautifully with the seasons.

Address12-2 Nikaimachi, Sasayama City, Hyogo

<4:00pm> Visiting the Vast Sasayama Castle Oshoin and Taking Commemorative Photos

After exploring the town for a bit, we went for a tour of Sasayama Castle Oshoin. The original building was built in 1609, at the same time as Sasayama Castle, and it was used for functions held by the domain in power in the region at the time. However, the building was burned down in 1944, and it was rebuilt in 2000 thanks to donations by locals.

In the halls of Sasayama Castle Oshoin you’ll find displays of various historical materials and sets of armor. You can also take commemorative photos in the halls using provided props. It’s even possible to hold wedding ceremonies here; it seems like having a wedding in a historic place like this would make for wonderful memories!

There just happened to be a full moon out during their visit, so our guests took the chance to take a commemorative photo while gazing at the moon. There are so many great photo opportunities to be had in this historic area; you’re sure to be able to snap some great shots for social media as you walk around in a kimono!

Address2-3 Kitashinmachi, Sasayama City, Hyogo

It was time for Ms. Guo and Ms. Huang to return their kimono, change back into their regular clothes, and head over to their accommodations for the night. We went back to Sasayamaguchi Station and traveled to Fukuchiyama Station. From there, we took a limited express train to Wadayama Station, changed trains, and arrived at Nii Station. You can take either a taxi or courtesy vehicle to reach Harima Fureai no Ie.

Harima Fureai no Ie is a hotel located in Hyogo Prefecture’s town of Harima. The hotel is surrounded by nature and mountains, and the available meals are Japanese cuisine, primarily local dishes. Our guests enjoyed a meal of yaki-shabu and cubed Tajima beef steak.

“Tajima beef” comes from cows local to the Tajima area of Hyogo Prefecture, where the hotel is located, and many famous Japanese cattle breeds such as Matsuzaka and Omi cattle are said to have come from Tajima cattle. Both of our guests were hugely impressed by the flavors from the luxurious, melt-in-your-mouth beef!

Harima Fureai no Ie is located within the “Asago Art Village,” and there is a museum and various works of art in the area. We recommend getting up early to walk around surrounded by beautiful nature as you look at the outdoor sculptures.

Address1244-1 Tataragi, Asago City, Hyogo

Refreshing Ourselves with Activities at Castle in the Sky “Takeda Castle Ruins”

<9:00am> We departed from Harima Fureai no Ie and headed off to the day’s destination, Takeda Castle Ruins. You can either take a taxi directly from the hotel, or take a taxi or shuttle bus from the hotel to Nii Station and travel by train from there.

<10:00am> Checking in at Machinaka Tourist Parking Area

After checking in at Machinaka Tourist Parking Area, you can take the “Tenku Bus” or a taxi to reach the central parking area.

<10:30am> Beginning a Nordic Walk

Once you pick up your “Nordic poles” at the central parking lot, it’s time to break a sweat! We used the walking poles and listened to explanations as we began our Nordic walk up to the Takeda Castle Ruins Ninomaru.

It’s about a 30 to 40-minute walk uphill from the starting point. The upward slope continues all the way to the top, so it’s pretty great exercise. Along the way you can take in varied and beautiful nature, and our guests fully enjoyed the lovely autumn trees.

The sloping stairs continue up along the stone wall of the Takeda Castle Ruins. Continue on, using your poles to walk along as you look at the historic stone wall.

We finally arrived at the top of the mountain! Ms. Guo seemed quite tired, while Ms. Huang said she wanted to go even higher. From up at the top you can look out over the beautiful view of the town and mountains below you. This is an amazing place for taking commemorative photos too!

After taking their commemorative photo and resting a bit, it was time to start doing some open-air yoga. Calm yourself and move through the poses as told by the yoga instructor. Meditating out in the clear air of nature really gives you a sense of unity with nature. This truly is a one-of-a-kind experience!

Both our guests seem to have been refreshed both physically and mentally thanks to their time at the “power spot” Takeda Castle Ruins!

Address338-1 Wadayamachoteradani, Asago City, Hyogo (Marriage Travel)

<12:00pm> Lunch Time at Terakoya Cafe

After finishing the open-air yoga, we returned to the central parking area, and you can head back to the Machinaka Tourist Parking Area by bus or taxi. We stopped at Terakoya Café, a quant café inside an old private estate, for lunch, just a 5-minute walk from the Machinaka Tourist Parking Lot.

Our guests seemed to have gotten quite hot between the Nordic walk and open-air yoga, so they seemed to enjoy some cold ice cream!

Address286 Wadayamachotakeda, Asago City, Hyogo

After lunch, we took the train from Takeda Station to Teramae Station, where we changed lines and traveled to Himeji Station. Ms. Guo and Ms. Huang enjoyed the beautiful mountains from the train window on the way back, and they were excited to snap some photos of the scenery.

When asked about what they thought about their trip, they said, “We enjoyed going to places we wouldn’t normally visit and trying out a bunch of different activities.” Before boarding their train to Osaka, they also said, “Next time we visit, we want to visit more places in Hyogo Prefecture.”

This trip took us from the city at the heart of Hyogo Prefecture to places all around. There are even more great places to visit in Hyogo Prefecture on top of the ones we introduced this time! Why not take a trip around Hyogo Prefecture yourself too?