Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Visit to Hikone 彦根訪問

Nestled about 45 minutes to the east of Kyoto (90 minutes from Osaka) and adjacent to the largest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa, I paid a visit to Hikone City in Shiga Prefecture.  Having not been to Hikone in a few years, I visited the sightseeing landmark, Hikone Castle, located within walking distance from the station for the first time.  The three story castle, which is not yet recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, was built more than 400 years ago by the Ii clan.

A few years ago, Hikonyan (pictured above), Hikone Castle's Samurai cat mascot, was created as part of the city's promotion and branding.  A hit amongst all visitors to the castle, Hikonyan has placed Hikone city on the map and continues to live a busy life by making various cameo appearances at events nationwide.

Before returning to Osaka, I stopped by a local restaurant in Hikone to have some exquisite Omi beef for dinner.  Even though Omi beef is not well known outside of Japan such as Kobe beef, the quality and taste puts it on the same level and is highly sought after domestically.  Planning on having Omi beef is recommended for those of you planning to stop by the area in Shiga Prefecture.  




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