Shiga prefecture 滋賀県is northeast of Kyoto and is home to Lake Biwa. I live really close, relatively anyway, to Shiga prefecture but have yet to actually visit. Eventually I want to try and visit all 47 prefectures so I planned to come see this land sometime during my visit.
I have weekly Japanese classes and one of the teachers from that group had a free day and invited me to go with him to Shiga. I had told him earlier I was trying to go sometime as the weather got warmer so he was nice enough to invite me. I took the day off from work and meet him at the station in the morning. It was about a two and a half hour drive I want to say up to Hikone Castle where we decided to go first. Hikone castle is a traditional Japanese castle that stands on top of a hill looking out over the beautiful lake Biwa. Unfortunately today it was overcast and had a little bit of rain continuing throughout the entire day. Due to that we couldn’t really see the lake all that well against the whited out sky. On the plus side the visitors weren’t as abundant. I suppose that is a benefit for traveling on rainy days, though I usually try to avoid that.
The castle was nice, not too different from many other castles you can find in the land, but the normal view of the lake probably gave it something special. There were various sakura trees and ume trees surrounding the exterior and interior of the castle grounds. While the sakura still had around another week till they were blooming, the ume trees looked very nice. It was a nice walk around and we headed back to the town before the castle. It had a real nice atmosphere and got to get some food. We found some nice soba since my teacher loves soba.
From there we went to the next spot which was a very scenic river surrounded by beautiful Japanese scenery. I really wanted to come to both these locations a week later so I could see it with the full bloom of the sakura, but it isn’t the easiest trip to make. This location was really quite amazing and I feel like it would be a great place to show someone who is visiting Japan. There was also a beautiful Shinto Shrine further up the road that also had great vibes going for it.
The last part of the trip was a visit to an onsen hot spring back in Mie prefecture. It was a great way to finish the trip with a relaxing bath and from there we went back on home. Shout out to my teacher for taking me to another prefecture and showing me around. Till next time, peace.