The second day, we rode from Hikone to Makino, the northmost part of Biwako Lake.
The day before, Ito-Maki san said the next day route, the north side of Biwako is the best in Biwako. She was right, we enjoyed the cycling itself and a lot of wonderful scenery.
First, we visited Hikone castle. It was my first visit to Hikone Castle, and I was surprised at the magnificence of the castle.
Hikone Castle was constructed in 1622 by Ii Naotaka, a son of a famous Tokugawa general Naotaka, The family line of Ii produced many members of shogun’s council of elders. The castle is one of only 12 Japanese castles with the original keep and one of only five castles listed as a national treasure.
We went up to the main citadel and enjoyed the view from there. We found a long line from the castle tower and a signboard said it takes 60 minutes to enter. Of course, we gave up.
We went down the steep slopes of the castle.
Then we visited Genkyuen Garden, a Japanese landscape garden next to the castle. It was built in 1677 for the entertainment of the Lord’s family and their guests. I also surprised by the size and the beauty of the garden.
Before leaving the castle, we met again with Ito-Maki san at her rental bike office.
We rode north along the lake. While we were pedaling at a pace over 20 km, a woman on a utility bike, riding at full speed, was keeping pace with us. We were surprised at her pedaling and wondered why she was in such a hurry.
We took a rest at Michino-Eki (roadside station) Omihahanosato. The woman we saw talked to us. She said that she is an editor of the Asahi Shinbun, one of five national newspapers in Japan and trying Biwa-Ichi, a round trip of Biwako lake by bicycle on her day off. She found us and wanted to interview us, so she rode after us.
Some of us were interviewed by her. I hope her article about us will appear in the newspaper in the near future.
We ate Baumkuchen that I bought at Taneya the day before with coffee there.
Just Ride north, No buildings
After taking a break, we pedaled again. There were no buildings along the road.
From the second day, I rode the tandem bike with my son. I could control the bike easier because I have more power than my son.
We stopped at another Michino-Eki, Kohokumizutori station and had lunch.
We were interviewed again by the chief-editor of “Cycle sports” and coincidentally met again with Ma-kun who also joined the Shimanami tandem festival and is working at the same Bike rental shop with Ito-Maki san.
Shizugatake old road
When we stopped in front of the tunnel in Shizugatake and wondered if we should go through the tunnel or climb up the hill, an old man on the car stopped and recommend the hill route. As a result, we rode the lightly trafficked route comfortably and enjoyed the marvelous view of Biwako lake.
The scenery is diverse.
We stayed at Kaitzu-Tenjin Youth-in, the hostel run by The shrine in Makino town. It was very cheap hostel looked like a lodging house. We enjoyed the strange design of the building and drinking local sake, especially Ume-Shu, the shrine’s home made plum sake was tasty and cheap. ( 200 yen ($2) / a full grass)
The host lady said when she served, ” Tipple it.” (Don’t drink quickly!)