Saturday, May 28, 2005

Trip to Two Castle Towns

The Lake Biwa seen from a hotel in Hikone, Shiga. (You can see the real size image by clicking on the image above.)

On May 23 (Mon.) and 24 (Tue.), my wife and I made a trip to small cities of Nagahama and Hikone at the side of the Lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture. Arriving at the JR Nagahama Station, we first walked through Ho Park to look at buildings of Nagahama Castle and the Old Nagahama Station. (Cricking orange characters below, you can see the image of each place.)

Nagahama Castle had originally been built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598) and was rebuilt in 1983 to be used as the Museum of History. The Old Nagahama Station was built in 1882, and is the oldest station building now preserved in Japan. We had lunch and beer at the fancy restaurant of the name " Nagahama Roman Beer" near Hokkoku Kaido Street. Then we visited Shanain Temple and Daitsuji Temple, and enjoyed looking at a number of glassware shops in Kurokabe (Black Walls) Square.

When we took a train at the Nagahama Station to go to Hikone, it suddenly began to rain cats and dogs. After our arriving at a hotel in Hikone, however, it stopped raining. From the window of the hotel room, we saw the Lake Biwa (see the sketch above). The members of the baseball club of a senior high school came to take exercise at the lakeside. I draw them in the sketch; they did not seem to be engaged in hard exercise.

On Tuesday we visited Hikone Castle to look at Genkyuen Garden and other historic spots. Then we walked through Yumekyobashi Castle Road, along which traditional houses of the castle town in Edo Era had been reconstructed as shops. After going down the road to Soanji Temple, which had a red gate, we made toward home. It was impressive that both the two cities well preserve or have reconstructed historic spots and streets.