Japan 2015: At Last – Samurai!

I’ve travelled a fair bit in Japan and have researched about a lot of places I’ve yet to go, but one thing that always stumps me when asked is ‘where to go for samurai’. I mean, aside from just going to some castles, what is there to see? As much as I love samurai movies and fiction, I never really found myself thinking about samurai much whilst actually travelling in Japan. That is, until today.

Today I had an adventure, and I found my breath taken away not only by the hike up Mount Shosha (書写山) but also by the incredibly impressive Engyoji (円教寺). Engyoji really surprised me. I’ve seen lots of temples, big and small, but none like this. I know my photos couldn’t possibly do it justice, but it is massive, and it has this atmosphere about it. It was a really quiet day, and it just felt like me and the ghosts of long gone samurai walking around the temple complex which was used in the making of the film The Last Samurai.




As I was in Himeji anyway, I also went to the castle. I wasn’t expecting much, having been once before with no lasting memories, but again I was surprised. It wasn’t too crowded, and in the brief moments when I found myself alone I could imagine those samurai again, running through the vast wooden corridors, preparing for battle.

HImeji Castle

HImeji Castle

I’m only in Japan for another couple of days now, then flying back to the UK on Monday. There’ll be a pause whilst I get back to reality, but then I’ll start uploading in earnest and putting together detailed posts about all of the very many adventures I’ve been having. See you soon! またね!

5 thoughts on “Japan 2015: At Last – Samurai!

  1. Aww, I love this temple complex so much! I know a lot of temples and shrines have a lot of atmosphere to them, but this one took the cake for me when I visited earlier this year – you can definitely see why it was chosen for a film location. The views are stunning, too. ❤


  2. Kumamoto is GREAT for samurai lovers! 🙂 They have the castle (always worth seeing), the grave of famous swordsman Musashi Miyamoto and the battlefield of Tabaruzaka just up the road, where the Satsuma Rebellion (led by that great samurai, Saigo Takamori) essentially ended. All in a day’s sightseeing.


  3. Shosha-zan is in the backyard of our sister city of Himeji. We saw the castle last week in its revitalised form and were advised that some of the locals think it’s now too white.
    As for samurai, you won’t find them on film sets or theme parks. Had you gone to the Hyogo museum, East of the castle, you could have dressed in 12-layer Heian kimono: quite an event with two dressers taking 25 minutes to complete the process.


  4. Shosha was used for only four days of filming; most was done in New Zealand and the rest in USA. It’s fun watching the film to pick which is where: not difficult.


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