JCMU, located in Hikone, a city of approximately 100,000 people in Shiga Prefecture, is situated on the eastern shore of Lake Biwa. Hikone is a castle town, tracing its origins to the early seventeenth century, when a cluster of samurai residences and commercial establishments grew up at the foot of the castle. The original castle buildings survive, as do many of the traditional industries. Off the beaten tourist track, Hikone preserves much of its charm and traditional values. At the same time, Hikone is a 45-90 minute train ride from the large cosmopolitan cities of Kyoto, Nagoya, and Osaka. Given this location, students and visitors have easy access to a wide range of cultural resources.
Shiga Prefecture is located almost in the center of Honshu, the largest island of the Japanese archipelago. Shiga has long been important strategically and economically because it lies at the crossroads of the major east-west and north-south transportation routes. It is important culturally and historically as a province immediately adjacent to the ancient capital city of Kyoto. Shiga is the site of innumerable temples and private villas built over the centuries by the court and military aristocracy. Today, the prefecture government is positioning Shiga as an important national tourist and high technology region to foster future economic growth, while preserving the natural beauty for which the region is famous. The Prince Hotel, the largest hotel in Hikone, is located next to JCMU. The proximity of this hotel and the accessibility of this location via the Japan Rail network from Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto make JCMU a prime site for hosting conferences, seminars, and symposiums.