UserWiki:Eric/Hiki Castle Sites
by User:Eric (2017/07/19)
Background: Hiki Castle Sites (比企城館跡群) This was a small day trip from Tokyo to 4 National Historic Sites in the Hiki county of Saitama Prefecture. 3 of the 4 castles are not easy to get to by public transportation or walking, but I discovered that Tobu rents bicycles from Shinrin Koen Sta. so I decided to give this trip try. In fact, you can get a dscount ticket at the Tobu ticket window in Ikebukuro for a round trip train ticket and one day rentacycle. When I told the guy at the station my plan for the day he thought I was a bit crazy, buthappily enough helped me with some maps and advice for the roads. If you want to do the same trip though I would recommend finding more detailed maps that the free ones, or relying on an iPhone/Smartphone as I did. Starting from Shinrin Koen Sta. I first biked to Sugaya Castle which was easy enough. I think this is the best place to start because it is the only castle museum and gives you some background (and good brochures) for all four castles.
Next, I headed out to Ogura Castle after confirming the directions and the best route with an overly helpful woman in the museum. There was one mountain to get over on the bike, and at one point I had to stop and walk about 100 meters to get to the top (it was an old rentacycle after all!). Ogura Castle was not easy to find and there were no signs, but very fortunately I looked at some Japanese sites and blogs that showed a picture of the temple that you need to start from. Hopefully my own pictures and map will help future travellers. The trip to Sugiyama Castle and then to Matsuyama Castle was pleasant and uneventful. The total of walking and biking (mostky biking) for the day came out to 37km by my GPS.
|Matsuyama Castle (Saitama)