14th August 2018: On the road… I mean railway again! Tokyo → Nagahama → Hikone {Japan, summer 2018}

One of the things I did on Saturday in Shinjuku [新宿] before the J concert was activating my JR Pass, and I had a week of travelling in store, so there I went. After getting to Shinagawa and being told that there were no seats to be reserved, I travelled to Maibara on a seat in a very-empty unreserved car (keep in mind, this was the end of the Obon festivals, and lots of people travel around these dates).

In Maibara I left the Shinkansen and jumped onto the local line that headed off to Nagahama [長浜] in Shiga Prefecture. This trip was mostly organised around my need to be in Kyoto on the 16th of August, so when I looked up things to do, Nagahama popped up for having a castle at the shore of Biwa-ko [琵琶湖], Lake Biwa, which is the largest freshwater lake in Japan.

Nagahama Tourist Office at the station provided me with a very handy map that featured a walking route to see the most important areas of the town, which I set to almost immediately.

First, of course I head to the castle, Nagahama-jō [長浜城]. Between the station and the castle there was a cage with monkeys. I did not realise that until one of them popped up staring at my lunch.

Then I walked around the surrounding park and got to the lake front. Biwa-ko is big enough to have waves.

Then I continued on the proposed route to the Nagahama Railway Square, Nagahama Tetsudo Square [長浜鉄道スクエア], and the Railway Museum.

In front of that there was the Keiunkan [慶雲館], a beautiful traditional house and garden.

Then, after deciding to modify the walking route to fit my interests, I headed out to the town centre to find Nagahama Betsuin Daitsū-ji [大通寺], the biggest temple in town (with confusing indications). To get here I passed by the central commercial streets.

Afterwards I decided to go to Hokoku Jinja [豊国神社].

And before heading to the station, the Kaiyodo Figure Museum [海洋堂フィギュアミュージアム] had really caught my attention so I decided to come in.

On my way back to the station I saw the Hideyoshi to Mitsunari deai no zō [秀吉と佐吉 出会いの像], the Statue of (Toyotomi) Hideyoshi and (Ishida), important historical figures in the area.

Finally there was the Aqua Tree before I took the train to go to my next destination, Hikone [彦根].

Hikone is twenty minutes by train using via Maibara, so I basically backtracked to Maibara and continued in the opposite direction. At Maibara our train joined another one so it became twice as long in a very interesting process.

Once I arrived in Hikone, I found my hotel and I checked in. However, having heard that sunset at Lake-ko was really beautiful, I decided to sprint for 35 minutes, and headed off to the lake, racing the sun. I managed to see a beautiful dusk indeed, even if coming back to the hotel was a bit lonely once the lights were out. I had no idea. Yet.

Then I diverted towards Hikone-jō, Hikone-jō [彦根城] to try and catch a glimpse of it at night. Everything was locked down, so this is the best I got, and that’s a lot of zoom.

Finally, just before turning in I walked by Shigakengokoku Jinja [滋賀縣護國神社] and the Mitama Matsuri it was holding.