I was taking the train from Nagoya to Kyoto and decided to make a stop half way as I realised it was Culture Day in Japan (November 3rd) and wanted to take in some of the countryside. My first impression of Hikone was of a quiet and tranquil town with narrow windy streets and tiny cars. Then I stumbled across their lively street parade and celebrations. The end of the parade featured Hashigo-nori a century old firefighting display of acrobatic skill and courage. I didn't see any other obvious tourists for the afternoon and it was a nice change to sink into a crowd and feel like a local. This town is situated on the edge of Lake Biwa and is steeped in history from the Edo period. A visit here to recharge is highly recommended before heading onto Kyoto or back to Tokyo.