Hike On A Hikone.

I'm slowly working my way through these and 彦根城 Hikone Castle is one of the more picturesque.

My visit to the Castle started with a ten minute wait for a special guest. I had NO idea what everyone was lined up for so I patiently stood by in anticipation. Expecting some Samurai show or something, imagine my extreme joy disappointment when this waltzed out.

Surrounded by the cries of "Kawaii!", my feeling was, "I waited ten minutes for this??"
I thought it was a rabbit but a little research shows that Hikonyan is a white cat. (Click that link for more info...if you dare!)

I ascended the stairs and encountered another cosplaying creature, the name of which I know not.

 Fortunately, I finally got to see the Castle in all its glory.

I took a quick tour of the interior but the lineup was immense and I didn't venture into the inner depths for I had a two hour drive back to my cabin and the sun was soon setting.

The view from the bluff was no bluff. Breathtaking! As these panoramic shots show.

The sakura were just beginning to blossom though the plum trees were still in bloom.

Happily on the way back, I came across a Mandai-clone for some nerdy shopping!


For The Birds.

I"m going to take a break from castles and take a look at some of the birds I saw on my trip. I was seeking out a youth hostel on Lake Biwa but alas it was full up. I did manage to land a cabin in Otsu later.

Some hawks floating around Hikone Castle.

A few ducks swimming in the moat surrounding Hikone.

cormorant fishing before the junk shows up. (Click link for tons of cormorant photos.)

I spent two nights in Otsu outside of Kyoto and travelled around using it as my focal point. I stayed in a beach-side cabin off Lake Biwa and enjoyed kicking back on the beach in the early morn watching the various seabirds flocking around.

Be it ever so humble, my room in the cabin.

The following morning on the beach.

A few days later at Nagoya Castle, a crow was scamming rope from a fence while his spouse looked on approvingly.

A few more days later, some swans at Matsumoto Castle.

Finally, a crow picking away at a garbage bag.
(Full disclosure: this is not a real crow, rather a prize from a capsule machine.)


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