Hikone, Japan : Castle, Cat and Beef

Hikone Castle 彦根城
10th December 2010. Written by Xin Li.
Hikone, Shiga Prefecture

Located next to Lake Biwa, Hikone is most famous for its castle, the Hikone Castle built in 1622. The castle is one of the oldest original-construction castles in Japan. It is one of the only four castles to be designated as a National Treasure, the highest designation for cultural properties in Japan. The other three are Himeji-jo, Matsumoto-jo and Inuyama-jo.

Hikone Castle 彦根城
Autumn Colours at Hikone
Hikone Castle 彦根城 - Tenshu
Tenshu of Hikone Castle
Hikone Castle 彦根城 - Rokabashi Bridge
One reason why this small castle was unique was because it combines three different types of gables into the castle keep’s exterior. The admission fee cost 700 yen.
Hikone Castle 彦根城
View of Lake Biwa from the Tenshu of Hikone Castle.
Hikone Castle 彦根城 - Lake Biwa
Furthermore, the castle also offers nice views of Lake Biwa, the largest inland lake in Japan. The castle is only a 15 minutes walk away from JR Hikone Station.

Hikone Castle 彦根城


Hikone Castle 彦根城 - Hikonyan
The mascot of Hikone is an adorable Samurai Cat called Hikonyan with a website dedicated to it. They have it in menus in restaurants, toys, key chains, train calling for ecological awareness, stone statues and even tombstones.
I find it irresistible to purchase a soft toy for 1000 yen from the souvenir store. Apparently the mascot is quite popular. We found it in Kyoto, Nara and Osaka as well.

彦根 Hikone - Hikonyan


Hikone Castle 彦根城
Hikone 彦根 - Yume Kyobashi Castle Road
Below: Soan-ji Temple.
Hikone 彦根 - Yume Kyobashi Castle Road
We went for a walk along Yume Kyobashi Castle Road, a road outside Hikone Castle’s outer moat which has an atmosphere of a former castle town with Edo Period style architecture. It looked very pleasant indeed with an old world charm while being a modern shopping street at the same time. It has the atmosphere similar to Duxton and Ann Siang Hill.

近江牛と近江鶏の店 近江や
近江牛と近江鶏の店 近江や
OMI BEEF @ 近江牛と近江鶏の店 近江やWe had lunch at 近江牛と近江鶏の店 近江や along the Yume Kyobashi Castle Road as we were attracted by the fact that they serve Omi Beef at affordable prices.
近江牛と近江鶏の店 近江や
I had the Steak Set for 1700 Yen. It came with a bowl of well-dressed, tangy salad, some pieces of takuan, a bowl of miso soup, a bowl of rice and a plate of Grilled Omi Beef Steak with dipping sauce and sautéed vegetables.
近江牛と近江鶏の店 近江や - Steak Set
The beef was heavenly, so tender, juicy and flavorful. It felt very delicate as it just melts in the mouth leaving behind a fragrant aroma. The vegetables were nicely grilled with the right amount of seasoning.
近江牛と近江鶏の店 近江や - Steak Set
近江牛と近江鶏の店 近江や  - Hamburger Steak
My friend had the Hamburger Steak set for 1000 Yen. It was served with shaved white radish and the beef patty has a very smooth even texture. It was well minced with not fatty bits and adequately seasoned. The texture was much better than the one in Ma Maison and UCC Café.
Hikone 彦根
REFLECTIONS ABOUT HIKONEIf you have the chance to visit Hikone, do visit this pleasant little town for a day trip before heading off for Kyoto or Nagoya. The castle is a must-visit, I read that the castle also have a pleasant garden that we missed due to the rain and time constraint.
Hikone Castle 彦根城
Moreover, the Omi Beef here is a must-try for beef lovers. There are two decent restaurants (according to rtablelog) along Yume Kyobashi Castle Road that opens around 1100-1130 Hours that serves omi beef. The one we tried was the cheaper of the two. The other one is 近江肉せんなり亭 伽羅
Hikone 彦根
There are lockers provided at the JR Hikone Station, 400 Yen for medium, 600 Yen for large. The town is easily accessible by JR lines from Kyoto or Nagoya.
Hikone Castle 彦根城 - Outer Moat
Those ‘rocks’ are actually ducks.

2 comments:

  1. I envy you being in a food haven like Japan! Enjoy your holidays! Merry Christmas and happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  2. thanks! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you too! Take care in Europe too, read that the weather had been quite bad recently.

    ReplyDelete

 

the moose & snowman

the soft toy. the soft toy.

makan corner

Follow Us on Facebook

Google+ Followers

Total Pageviews

Follow by Email