For those travelers looking to explore Hikone beyond the central area and combining a visit to the historic landmarks with the scenic views of Lake Biwa, there is a bicycle route easy enough for leisure riders, and achievable within a day.
Starting from Megurinko Bike Rental, bike southbound towards Seribashi. This neighbourhood was left intact during bombings and still preserves the charming architecture of pre-war times. Cars are not allowed into the grid of alley ways and biking or walking are the only means to explore it. From here, head on over to Hanashobu-dori (street of irises) to checkout the wooden storefronts. The street is adorn with quaint lanterns and the spirit of yesteryear. Follow the lanterns and you will soon reach Nanamagari Street, an old road so-called because the drive is interrupted by seven corners that were meant to protect the castle from intruders. Zigzag along and keep your eye out for hidden torii gates, and other interesting details representative of the Edo Era. If at this point you are feeling hungry, a delicious bowl of Nishin Soba is waiting for you at Bunkyugura.
On occasion, you might catch Bunkyugura’s chef while he handcrafts the noodles right before
serving them to his guests.
After lunch, head back towards the town centre but turn onto the path bordering the Seri River. This scenic waterway flows into Lake Biwa, and during cherry blossom season is a favorite hanami spot for locals but is usually overlooked by tourists, meaning full blooms but
without the crowds. At the end of the river you will run into Japan’s largest lake and the
amateur fishermen who gathered all day along the shores. The lakeside views are amazing on clear days and having a break here is a good idea.
Pedal alongside Lake Biwa on Route 2 and once you hit Matsubara Beach, turn right into the city and ride through this part of town for about 20 minutes until you hit Ryotan-ji temple at the foot of the Sawayama Mountain. Nestled in the mountain, Ryotan-ji houses a large
quantity of “Darumas”, a mystic zen garden, and traditional tatami rooms looking onto the
secluded landscape. This is a perfect location to recharge for the remaining ride.
As you make your way back into the town centre, bike through Yume-Kyobashi Castle Road to admire the old-style shops. You can breeze past the crowds or stop to pick up an Omi Beef croquette or handmade sweets for a snack at Hikone Castle. To enter the castle grounds there are several bridges to ride over the moats, pass the ancient stone walls, and into the historic area. Go around in style like a local, hopping off to get photos of the major
landmarks here, and relishing the beauty of one of Japan’s national treasure. Your day rental
will be almost over by this time so bike back to Megurinko, drop off the bike, and enjoy Hikone’s night on foot.
Hikone City - Bicycle Sightseeing Itinerary
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR