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Hikone City
Hikone (彦根市, Hikone-shi) is a city located in Shiga Prefecture, Japan. It is on the eastern shore of the Lake Biwa. As of October 1, 2016, the city has an estimated population of 113,349 and a population density of 580 persons per km². The total area is 196.84 km². The key industries of Hikone are the manufacturing of butsudan, textiles, and valves. Bridgestone has a tire manufacturing plant here. Fujitec, Ohmi Railway, and Heiwadō (the largest supermarket chain in Shiga) are headquartered in Hikone. Hikone was originally a market town that developed around a Buddhist temple. The temple was called Hogon-ji and was said to have been founded in 1080. Hikone's most famous historical site is Hikone Castle. Its construction was begun in 1603 by Ii Naokatsu, son of the former lord, Ii Naomasa, but was not completed until 1622. Naokatsu's lands had been taken from him in the interval by the Tokugawa shogunate, and when his brother Naotake assumed control of Ōmi Province, he was able to complete the castle by collecting stones from the former Sawayama Castle. When the Meiji period began in 1868, many castles were scheduled to be dismantled and only a request from Emperor Meiji himself, touring the area, kept Hikone Castle intact. Today it remains one of the oldest original-construction castles in Japan. In 1937, Hikone became a charter city and developed into a small centre of light commerce and industry. In 1999, a small area south of the castle, called the Yume Kyōbashi Castle Road, was built in the old style and attracts visitors keen to see modern construction fused with traditional looks. Even the Kansai Urban Bank in this district has remodelled itself to fit in with the surrounding structures. The Chōsenjin Kaidō and the Nakasendō were passed through Hikone. The Nakasendo was one of the most important trading routes during the Edo period and is home to two former post stations, Toriimoto-juku and Takamiya-juku.

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