Leave Hiroshima today and head to Japan's most impressive samurai castle at Himeji by train (approx. one hour). The building, which has survived earthquakes and war since the mid-16th century, was restored to its full glory in 2015. The moats, baileys, towers and walled alleyways were ingeniously designed to trick attackers – perhaps so intimidatingly that they were never in fact tested. Explore the castle that was once home to over 10,000 Samurai families and look out over the castle grounds and the city below from the seventh floor.
Continue on a 1 hour train ride to Kyoto. Originally founded as Heian-kyo (literally 'tranquillity and peace capital') by Emperor Kammu in 794, Kyoto had its golden age during the imperial court's heyday from 794 to 1185. Kyoto was the capital of Japan for over 1000 years, but the emperor and government are now located in Tokyo. With over 2000 temples, shrines and gardens, Kyoto is a great place to get lost in. Spend some free time getting acquainted with Kyoto and walking through the historical streets. In the evening, maybe discover Kyoto's exuberant nightlife. Hit up the city's izakayas (traditional Japanese pubs), live music venues, theatres or nightclubs. (B)