Mt Shosha hiking
Mt Shosha hiking
4.5

Top ways to experience Mt Shosha hiking and nearby attractions

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Zimminaroundtheworld
Okinawa Prefecture, Japan1,946 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2020
I hiked up to Mt Shosha from the parking lot near the rope-way. The hike only took about 30 minutes to the ticket window. Once you pay the entrance you are free to wander the hilltop. You do have to walk like 10-15 minutes after the gate to actually get to where the temples are, but the trail is full of statues and great scenery. When I was here it unfortunately poured rain the whole time, but it added to the experience. The temples around Mt Shosha are impressive, I can see why filming has been done here as it is untouched by the modern world. Many of the temples can be accessed, don't forget to take your shoes off. The whole area is worth exploring as there are temples, statues, and other structures scattered around the top, so take your time and enjoy the beauty and history.
Written October 27, 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Linda H
Singapore, Singapore43 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2023
I planned my hiking trip to Mt Shosha. First stop was the Tourist Centre in Himeiji JR Station, where I got very detailed explanation of the local bus that plies the local route to the start point of the hike. Alas, it was rather complicated. I was able to nonetheless seek the help of locals to take a local bus to Shosha Higa Saka road and ask around for the start point. Some locals were hiking and could point me to the start point. From the start point, I followed a fellow local hiker and ascended. The hiking trail is discernable, and rocky at times. Good hiking shoes are a must, although you would not need poles. As it was a weekday, many of the shrines within Mt Shosha were closed. There were no water points. There was a ropeway station, but it was closed. The lavatory was opened though. It was a pleasant climb, watch out for rock steps, boulders and keep climbing till you reach a gong, striking the gong means you are greeting the mountain. Do make a real attempt to reach Maniden (the main shrine) and if time permits, walk further up to look at the other shrines. It is a beautiful mountain. I am glad I had ascended. Descent was same route, and back to the local bus to the Himeiji JR station. Time well spent. Difficulty level: 3.5/5.
Written March 10, 2023
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AndrewHSydney
Sydney, Australia3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2015 • Solo
Mt Shosa doesn’t receive the coverage it deserves, as any discussion of Himeji invariably focuses on Himeji Castle. This is only fair (especially now that the castle restoration is complete), but it’s unfortunate that many miss out on an experience that was an unexpected highlight of my time in Japan.

The location doesn’t help – it’s around 12kms from the station, so you’re looking at a 20 minute taxi or bus ride to the base of the mountain (a return ticket for the bus and ropeway can be purchased from the bus depot across the road from the station, and the helpful staff will ensure you don’t get on the wrong bus and end up back in Kyoto.) However you choose to get there, the journey is part of the experience as it provides an illuminating insight into the local lifestyle outside of the main tourist area.

Then it’s 10 minutes on the ropeway (i.e. cable car), and either a minibus ride or 1km hike up the mountain to the temple buildings. You’ll be missing out on a significant part of the experience if you don’t walk at least one way, as the path winds its way through the forest past numerous shrines and the Niomon Gate.

(I’m 47 years old and not particularly fit, and I’d describe the upwards trek as moderately strenuous but unlikely to result in heat exhaustion if you take your time.)

Given that there are countless temples in Japan, you may be wondering what’s so special about the experience. Well, if you’ve ever seen a Japanese samurai film the odds are good that at least a couple of scenes were set on a mountain path in a forest, with light filtering through the canopy, roadside shrines in the background and clouds in the distance. This is that forest (literally in the case of The Last Samurai, which was filmed here), and if your trip is confined to the cities it may be your only chance to witness one of the key scenic experiences of Japan.

I note that I visited under perfect conditions – overcast and cool, a light rain and about six other visitors on the entire mountain. It would likely be a different experience in 30 degree heat with a hundred other people joining you on the trek, but given that the temperature drops as you rise above sea level and most of the visitors to Himeji will be at the castle the odds are good that your visit will be as memorable as mine.

At three hours from leaving the station until your return it’s not an insignificant investment of time, but if the mountains and forests of Japan hold even the slightest interest it'll be time well-spent.
Written June 18, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maria T
Nagoya, Japan704 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2016 • Solo
Internet had told me that I should be taking bus number 8, but as I reached the station I realised that there were about twenty different bus stops and I had no idea which one the bus would be stopping at. I tried bus stop 8 because that seemed like the most logical answer, but 8am came and went and no buses stopped, so I knew it wasn’t the right one. As I crossed the road and walked around all the other bus stops trying to look for the kanji ‘山’ belonging to Mt.Shosha, I came across the bus information centre that had just opened. They spoke no English so I decided to practise my limited Japanese and they pointed me to bus stop 18. Buses numbers 41, 42, 43 and 45 stop here, all going to Mt.Shosha (no sign of bus 8), and I managed to make it to an empty seat of the 8:05am bus and set off for the 30min ride through Himeji as the city slowly began to wake up.
For those of you wondering what there is to see at Mt.Shosha, there is a temple called Engyo-ji known as the location for the movie ‘The Last Samurai’. I was reluctant to go since I hadn’t seen the movie and that seemed to be the feature that everyone remarked about this site but, and thanks to the recommendation of someotherguy, even for the less cinematically inclined like myself the temple is pretty stunning and definitely worth a visit if you have the time. And don’t worry, although the temple is at the top of the mountain, there is a ropeway for those who don’t want to walk up to it. Although the ropeway does still require a bit of a walk to reach the main building of the temple and the other buildings around it.
I was trying to save money wherever I could, so I opted to take the trail instead. I had been promised a 40min walk, but I definitely took a long hour to reach the maniden. Maybe I was very slow because my legs were hurting from all the sitting down and waiting around in lines from the day before, plus a breakfast break, but I still think 40min is a bit generous.

For me, the interesting thing to note about this place is that Benkei is said to have studied here, and the architecture is simply amazing.
At this time in the morning it was just me, myself and the spiders (and another man who walked past me as I took my onigiri break). I’d been watching a few videos of giant spiders before my trip and was pretty paranoid, but rest assured that the spiders I found probably weren’t too dangerous and seemed more interested in just sitting there than attacking me. I do think something may have bitten me though, because after this day I had a lump on the side of my foot that lasted for a week.

You have to pay an entrance fee of 500yen for the temple just after the ropeway station, and they gave me a map of the top of the mountain with all the sub temples’ locations and a bit of an explanation in English. The lady there said some form of the verb ‘arukimasu’ (walk), so I don’t really know if she was congratulating me for the walk I had done, or telling me that I still had 15min more in front of me.

Between Niomon and the ropeway the path is lined with statues of Kannon (I think there were 33 belonging to the different Saigoku pilgrimage sites). Some of them were very elaborate and they had even gone to the lengths of giving her a large number of arms, all holding different objects! Not quite the thousand arms Kannon is said to have, but easily up to thirty of them. In some cases people had tried to place coins on her open palms, so I tried my luck and left one there too.
After the Niomon gate the walk is somewhat downhill and easier than the rest of the trail had been. There is a ryokan here that also offers shojin ryori but I didn’t have the money for such an experience, so I made my way to the main temple complex, maniden, instead.
Crossing a small bridge I entered a cloud of mist that surrounded only the maniden, making it look even more imposing and mysterious than it already was by itself. We don’t get much mist here at home so it isn’t something I see often.

I spent 3h walking around the temple and sub temples, then took the ropeway down.
Written July 29, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

dokiyama
Himeji, Japan7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2018 • Family
I’ve been to Mt Shosha many times all year round. In spring, we can enjoy cherry blossoms and singing of birds, green leaves with a comfy breeze and singing of cicadas in summer, red and yellow leaves in autumn, and crisp air in winter.
You can take ropeway but if you like hiking, you can walk up from the foot of the mountain. You can relax in the genuine nature.
From Himeji Station there are bus services every 20 minutes, and you get to Mt Shosha in 20 -25 min. It takes at least 3 hours from Himeji Sta. -Mt Shosha- back to Himeji Sta.
Written November 6, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Singaporelonegranger
Singapore, Singapore487 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2018 • Family
We took the cable up and was advised the walk to the temple was 20 minutes. We took a bit longer as it was a bit strenuous walking uphill and we took our time to admire the Buddha statues along the path. The first temple we reached was Maniden, a beautiful wooden temple surrounded by enchanting woods. Little did we know, the best was yet to come. Walking further uphill, we reached Engyōji temple, with it's majestic courtyard. It's simply jaw dropping! Whilst inside, we learnt it was used as a location shoot for the Last Samurai. As this is a bit off the main tourist beat, there were very few tourists. At many stretches, we were all alone in perfect peace and tranquility, breathing fresh and invigorating mountain air. This is an experience not to be missed!
Written April 22, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Minh T
Melbourne, Australia4 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2016 • Family
After visiting Himeji Castle, you can make your way up Mt Shosha quite easily. Simply cross the street, and make your way to the bus stop for Bus #8. It's not a long wait. The bus terminates on the Ropeway.
We pre-purchased our tickets combination at Himeji Bus Terminal. The Office where you purchase your tickets from is in the cluster of buildings opposite the bus terminal, next to the information centre.
The combination ticket included bus and ropeway transfers. You simply tear the ticket off the stub and hand it over.
The hike up to the temple is enchanting, with lovely look-outs and lots and lots of Buddha statues of all kinds. Its a serene and calming walk, but also picturesque for the snap happy. The walk is relatively easy - we went on a hot day, and found the climate up there much cooler and pleasant. Do make sure you are covered up as mosquitoes can be out and about.
As you near the temple, you will pass restaurants, rest houses and sub-temples. On the day we were there, not much was open (we arrived at closing time). Nevertheless, it was quite deserted, and the lovelier for it.
The temple is stunning, a looming wooden structure that sits like a tree house among lush forest. The view from the temple as you look onto the mountain side is meditative and peaceful, and simply stunning!
Written July 21, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Stephanie D
6 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2016 • Solo
While I'm sure the ropeway would have amazing views, it was out of my tight budget. I caught the bus from just outside Himeji station (bus 8 from stand 10) to the Mt Shosha terminus (¥270 one way which you can pay as you disembark). I had decided to walk up the whole way rather than catch the ropeway which was worth it! To find the path, follow the overhead expressway away from the bus stop until you see a sign directing you to the path (black writing, red arrow). Then follow these signs through the back streets until you reach the path! It is a moderate walk up and it was hot as I went in the middle of the day! Once up the path, follow the signs to the ropeway and continue to the compound entrance. There is a ¥500 entrance fee.

The temple and surrounds are beautiful and definitely worth the trip if you'd like to see more than just the castle! The environment is very tranquil up on the mountain with nice views on the trail as well. Barely saw another foreigner there too!
Written May 5, 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

clayman79
Singapore, Singapore216 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2015
Upon reaching the ropeway station, I bought my entrance ticket and began my uphill hike to reach Engyoji. The first stop would be Niomon gate. It is the main gate to Engyoji Temple. Note that the temple grounds after the gate are considered sacred. From Niomon, I continued my hike to reach Maniden, a hall dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy. Adjacent to Maniden is a small shop that sells drinks and really delicous vegetarian ramen. After taking in the view at Maniden, I continued my hike and finally reached the area where the Daikodo, Jikido and Jogyodo are. It is a wonderful and pleasant surprise to find these amazing wooden structures in the midst of all the greenery. Since I was already in the place, I continued my hike to visit the other halls found in the area. I was really glad that I visited Engyoji on Mt Shosha. It was a wonderful experience. The hike is not that difficult. Whether one is 20 or 60, I'm certain that one will be able to do the hike. I will definitely go back to this place! The bus/ropeway return tickets cost 1300 yen. The entrance to Engyoji is 500 yen. For that small price, I was able to get so, so, so much more!
Written October 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

drj132014
Montreal, Canada13 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2014 • Couples
Going to Mt Shosha was one of the highlights of our Japan trip. Reaching there is quite easy, coming from the JR train station, you take the bus and then the Shoshazan Ropeway. The environment, the forest itself is amazing. The temples you see on your way are quite picturesque and at the end, you reach the big temple where they have shot the movie Last Samurai. Quite impressive and definitely worth the trip from Kyoto
Written February 9, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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