Do you guys know Shiga prefecture?
Maybe it’s not well known compared to the big cities, such as Osaka, Kyoto and Nara, Hyogo.
Shiga is famous for the lake, Biwako, which is the biggest lake in Japan.
But it’s not the only highlight. There is more to see here!
I’ll explain why in a nutshell below.
The capital was built here and it played an important role in Japanese history many years ago.
So it’s a home to many historical buildings, such as Hikone castle and Enryaku temple. For this reason, the number of visitors here is increasing.
Moreover, it’s blessed with rich natural spots. Biwako lake, which I mentioned above, is one of them.
In this area, I visited Omihachiman city, which was built by Hidetsugu Toyotomi (who was an adopted child of Hideyoshi Toyotomi).
He is one of the most famous Japanese historical people. Everyone knows him only because they went to Japanese school.
In short, it’s an important area if you know Japanese history.
After we arrived in the station of Omihachiman, we got a map and asked for information to explore.
A bus departs for the area from the station. You can go to a historical area in about five minutes by bus.
Nevertheless, we decided to walk, to discover things on the way.
About fifteen minutes later, we arrived there.
The wooden houses, which had been built between the Edo era and Meiji era, were really tasteful.
I could still see what it was like back then, here in Omihachiman.
While walking in this area, I felt as if I was back in the Meiji era.
It’s convincing enough that some Japanese movies were taped here．
Later, we got to “Hachimanbori.” It’s a man-made canal, which was made in the Sengoku era, where people and goods had come and gone back then.
It used to be surrounded by many old houses (along the canal) and bustled with people.
Nowadays, it’s developed and it plays an important role as a sightseeing spot
We enjoyed being here while taking a picture and looking at the canal aimlessly.
Time had passed very slowly there, and it made me relaxed.
After that, we rode on a ropeway and climbed to the mountain Hachiman, which is situated behind the old town.
We could get to a ropeway station in five minutes, on foot.
We found what looked like a temple on the way and made a wish!
On the summit, the magnificent view spread before us.
The beautiful lake Biwako
The green trees of the mountain Hachiman
The town view of Omihachiman, which is surrounded by rice fields.
The view was so breathtaking that I kept on looking at the view without saying anything for a while.
After Omihachiman, we went to Hikone castle, which is one of the signatures of Shiga prefecture.
It’s designated as a national treasure along with Himeji castle, Matsumoto castle and Inuyama castle.
It took about 20 minutes by train to Hikone from Omihachiman.
And it’s about 20 minutes to Hikone castle from Hikone station on foot.
While walking to the castle, we saw many trees planted on the premises of the castle. And a man-made canal wrapped around the castle.
The scenery with water healed my heart.
On the way, there were some shops and cafes.
We entered one of them and had tea and “Dorayaki,” which is one of the traditional Japanese sweets!
The name of the shop is “Kotetsu”
It’s close to Hikone castle and the staff is nice!
So, if you are tired of walking, I recommend taking a break here.
You can take away some specific sweets if you like.
After we cooled down and recharged ourselves, we started exploring again.
It was just 30 minutes before closing time when we arrived at the entrance of the castle.
The entrance fee is 1,000 yen! It’s expensive, for only 30 minutes.
“Oh, my gosh! Although we came to Hikone to see Hikone castle, we can’t see it!”
I said to myself.
Anyway, we gave up on going inside the castle and started walking around the castle to look for a good view of the castle instead.
As many trees were planted around the castle, just walking there was relaxing.
A while later, we found a stone staircase.
It looked like it connected to some part of the castle.
“Where can we go if we go up this staircase?” I couldn’t resist the curiosity.
Then, we started going up the steps to see what it was.
We kept on going up about 10 minutes.
When we arrived at the end, the castle appeared right before us!
It’s Hikone castle!
“What a lucky person I am!” I said to myself.
I gave up seeing Hikone castle once. Nevertheless, I happened to find another route to see it!
“Everything is gonna be OK.” My heart was full of positive feelings.
We excitedly took a picture with Hikone castle in the background.
Then, we went home happily.