Hikone lies on the Nakasendō, which 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. Today, a small area south of the castle, called the Yume Kyōbashi Castle Road, is built in the old style and attracts visitors keen to see modern construction fused with traditional looks. Even the Biwako Bank in this district has remodeled itself to fit in with the surrounding structures.
Hikone is the home of the Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU), a facility operated jointly by a consortium of the fifteen public universities in the State of Michigan and the government of Shiga Prefecture that offers programs for American university students and scholars for the study of Japanese language and culture, as well as courses in English for the citizens of Shiga Prefecture. The Michigan Center, as it is known, was founded in 1989, under the auspices of the Michigan-Shiga Sister State Agreement, the oldest such relationship between a US state and Japanese prefecture.