Tsumago-juku to Hikone
A tale of 2 castles
Saturday 11 April 2015
After a fantastic breakfast at our Ryokan, we set off up a long, steep climb before enjoying the extended descent the other side that eventually met back up with route 19, which we'd been on the previous day.

This road was carrying much more traffic than I had anticipated when planning the route back in UK though. It can be tricky to identify suitable roads when planning a route many thousands of miles away and I'd got this one a bit wrong! After consulting various maps we agreed we weren't far from a town called Nakatsugawa, which looked like it was on a train line to Nagoya. So we re-planned the day and hopped on the next available train.
The time saved taking the train enabled us to visit Nagoya castle which, in hindsight, should always have been on the itinerary.

Leaving our bikes locked at the station, we walked the couple of miles to the castle. The original building was built as the seat of the ruling Tokugawa family at the start of the Edo Period and was one of the largest castles in Japan. Destroyed by fire during a 1945 bombing raid, the current ferro-concrete version is a reconstruction from 1959. It contains a good museum with exhibits from the castle's history.
We made it back to the station in time for our Shinkansen connection, a short hop to Hikone, where we had another few kilometres to pedal to our hotel. It was getting late but before we got to our hotel we stopped to check out the amazing Hikone Castle.

In contrast to the modern day rebuild of Nagoya, Hikone is one of the oldest original-construction castles in Japan. Completed in 1622, it's one of only 4 castles considered a Japanese national treasure.