Ogaki is one of those stations I’ve passed through a fair few times when travelling by train between Nagoya and Osaka. Admittedly, I had never had any real desire to stop there but it was realistically as far as I could go (en-route to Wakayama where I needed to be the following evening) after watching Kashiwa Reysol win against Shimizu S-Pulse in Shizuoka Prefecture. I then decided to look around the area on Google Maps and perhaps surprisingly came across a fair few places of interest that I wanted to see, and so it proved to be a good decision to stop there for the night.
After arriving at Ogaki Station at about 10 pm I immediately checked into my pre-booked accommodation just a stone’s throw away. I was absolutely exhausted after a long day and was even tempted to skip the Leicester vs Manchester United match which was kicking off at 11 pm Japan time. Thankfully, my blind faith and loyalty were rewarded with an absolutely fantastic match.
After about five hours sleep I woke up and felt obliged to try out the hotel’s hot spring bath on the top floor so I was in there by myself just after 6am. I wasn’t first that morning though as someone was coming out as I entered the changing room. This was the view (below) from the changing room window overlooking the station fringed by mountains in the background.
The Softopia Japan Center (4-1-7 Kagano, Ogaki) was an interesting building that I wanted to see so just after 7 am I took a bus from outside the station (at 7:08 if you must know!) for just eight minutes to see it. Designed by Kisho Kurokawa, this slightly avant-garde building has become something of a local landmark due to its two protruding towers which make it look like a robot or stag beetle depending on your point of view.
There were no return buses for ages but that was fine as I wanted to walk for a bit and see what was around on the 30 min return walk to Ogaki Castle. Not much is the answer but this local shrine was my kind of thing!
In a post about the city of Ogaki it is not too surprising that Ogaki Castle is the answer to the question in the tweet below!
The original Ogaki-jo castle was built on this site around 1535. It was once a National Treasure but WWII put paid to that and it seems that when it was reconstructed in 1959 it didn’t receive such status again. What is most interesting about Ogaki-jo is that it has four levels which is rare. Also, the number four in Japan is sometimes read as shi which also means death. As a result, renting space on this floor in buildings is often slightly cheaper! With this castle, they claim that the first roof you see on the bottom is actually just a canopy in the middle of the first level and that it is actually a three tiered castle with a lower canopy.
The castle is just a short walk south of Ogaki Station. Its close proximity to three major rivers, which were used as moats, meant that its defense was further heightened. It was still very early when I was there so hadn’t opened yet so I returned to my hotel for a bit to pack up and check out. A 24 minute train trip south to Yōrō Station on the private Yōrō Railway was next.
The reason for going there was to see the colourful and architecturally inspiring Reversible Destiny installations within Yōrō Park.
There was actually a bit of time for a short brunch break back in Ogaki before taking the train for just three minutes to Arao Station where I had just 14 minutes to disembark, get to the hat shrine, take some pictures, return to the station to take some photos of that too before heading back to Ogaki.
I left Ogaki for good just after 11 am and saw some beautiful mountain scenery en-route to Maibara where I then went a couple of stops south to revisit Hikone which I previously went to ten years ago on my one and only visit to Shiga Prefecture.
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