Hikone-jo Castleand Castle Town Area

Hikone-jo Castle is a delightful castle and a National Treasure. It features a daimyo lord's residence at its base and offers picturesque views all year round. Enjoy its cherry blossoms in spring, its verdant greens of summer, its crimson leaves in fall or its snow-covered beauty during winter. The area surrounding the castle evokes a feeling of the town in ancient times, when it was once prosperous with the castle at its center, and provides visitors with a fun shopping experience. Look out for Hikone's uber-popular mascot character "Hikonyan" – a samurai cat. He can often be seen in Tenshu-mae Square or at the Hikone-jo Castle Museum.

Hikone-jo Castle

One of only five Japanese castles designated as National Treasures, Hikone-jo Castle was the seat of the Ii clan. It has a three-story keep of stone walls with beautifully curved roofs.

Hikone-jo Castle Museum

A restoration of the Omote Goten (front hall) that used to be both the fief office of the domain and the official residence of the daimyo. Here you can find many craft products, archives, arms and famous treasures kept by the successive Ii family lords on display. During spring and fall, Noh plays are also performed on the Noh stage.

Yume Kyobashi Castle Road

A shopping street that extends from Kyobashi bridge, which crosses the inner moat of Hikone-jo Castle. Designed to make you feel like you're back in the castle town with its Edo period machiya townhouses, it is lined with souvenir shops and places to try local Shiga cuisine and also offers hands-on workshops to try making candles, kotoyaki ceramics and Japanese washi paper lanterns.

Genkyu-rakuraku-en (Genkyu-en Garden)

This park consists of the daimyo lord's residence at the foot of the castle and the daimyo's garden (Genkyu-en), a beautiful example of a traditional Japanese garden and designated site of National Scenic Beauty. It's also listed as part of a newly recognized Japan Heritage Site under the title "Lake Biwa and the Surrounding Scenery – The Water Heritage of Prayer and Living."

INSIDER TIPS

Yakatabune

Take a boat trip around the moat in a traditional Edo-era Yakatabune. The 50-min leisurely cruise provides a wonderful perspective of the castle and gets you up close and personal with the local wildlife. Particularly beautiful during the cherry blossom season. ¥1,300 for adults, ¥600 for elementary school students and younger.
(Free for children of age 3 and under.) The fee for adults is ¥1,500 when the cherry blossoms are in bloom.

SEASONAL ATTRACTIONS

  • SPRING

    Hikone-jo Castle Cherry Blossom Festival

    Hikone-jo Castle

  • SUMMER

    Listening to Insects in Genkyu-en Garden

    Genkyu-rakuraku-en

  • FALL

    Hikone Yumetouro (Light and Dream Pathway)

    Hikone-jo Castle

  • WINTER

    Hikone Illuminations

    Yonbancho Square, Yume Kyobashi Castle Road

ACCESS

  • Train or Subway
  • Boat or Ferry
  • Walk
  • Car or Taxi
  • Bus

From Kansai International Airport

2 hr 20 minor 2 hr 10 min

From JR Osaka Station

1 hr 20 minor 1 hr 40 min

From JR Kyoto Station

  • 1.Hikone-jo Castle

    5 minor 15 min

  • 2.Hikone-jo Castle Museum

    5 minor 15 min

  • 3.Yume Kyobashi Castle Road

    5 minor 20 min

  • 4.Genkyu-rakuraku-en

    5 minor 15 min

※Travel times are provided as a guide only. Actual travel times may differ.

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