Hikone brings the curtain down on my Golden Week trip to Kansai. At just under two hours away from Osaka it is situated on the shores of Lake Biwa which is Japan’s largest freshwater lake. Hikone’s most famous historical site is Hikone-jo castle. This was my favourite castle of the trip which is perhaps surprising as it was the fourth one in five days for me. What was also nice was visiting a new place and escaping the crowds of Kyoto. The 400 year old structure is three stories tall and surrounded by a double moat which is a simple 15 minute walk from the station.
Perhaps more impressive (for me anyway) was Genkyu-en garden which is at the foot of Hikone-jo and is included in the entrance ticket. The 1994 kids movie ‘3 Ninja’s Kick Back’ was filmed here which is what brought it to my attention. As devoted as I am to tracking down film locations I didn’t go to Hikone just because it appeared in some kids film that most people have never heard of. Oh no, that would be sa-a-a-a-a-a-ad! The filmmakers spent nearly a week in Hikone filming scenes at the castle and in the garden, site of a centuries-old tea house and beautiful pond.