Hiko-nyan! (=ᵔᴥᵔ=)

Hikone is in the central-eastern part of Shiga and is a center for economy and culture on the eastern shore of Lake Biwa.

The town has been an important traffic point since early times and developed as a castle town of the Ii family.

Ii was a retainer who played an active part in the hereditary Tokugawa shogunate, which began in the early 17th century and lasted for more than 250 years.

 

This is Hiko-nyan. The cute mascot of the Hikonejo, wearing the helmet of Naomasa Ii.

The Castle has a backdrop of Lake Biwa and Konki-zan  and is regarded as one of four national heritage castles.
Its three-layered chalk castle tower still maintains its noble and heroic appearance as a symbol of the city.

Besides being designated as a national treasure, there are other towers of important cultural properties, such as Tenbin-yagura, Taikomon-yagura, and Nishinomaru-sanju-yagura; other historical spots include Genkyu-en.

The castle town of Hikone still has a feeling of olden days, comprising the old houses of ‘ashigaru’ (foot soldiers) at the right bank of Seri-kawa River and Hana-Shobu-dori Street, along with other new attractions, such as Yume-Kyobashi Castle Road and Yonbancho Square, which are surrounded by traditional houses and temples in the atmosphere of “Taisho Roman” (a trend from the Taisho Era and European Romanticism of early 20th century).

Set in the rich, natural surroundings of Lake Biwa, Hikone is a superlative place for you to enjoy the atmosphere of a castle town, full of historical and cultural interest that revolves around the castle itself.

After a construction period of twenty years, Hikone-jo was completed in 1622.
The hilltop castle served as the seat of the daimyo until the end of the feudal age in 1868. 
An original castle,  it survived the post feudal era without undergoing destruction and reconstruction.
Besides the castle’s main keep, most of the inner moats, walls, guard houses and gates also remain intact. Furthermore, parts of the castle’s palace buildings have been reconstructed, giving visitors a good impression of a relatively complete Japanese feudal castle. 
Three different types of gables are incorporated into the castle keep’s exterior.
Its three storied castle keep is relatively small but displays a unique design that combines multiple  architecture styles. This is one reason why the castle has been designated a national treasure, the highest designation for cultural properties in Japan.

 

 

 

This is Mitsunari Ishida.
 
Mt. Sawa, about one kilometer east of Hikone Castle, is where the castle of Ishida Mitsunari , the leader who lost the Battle of Sekigahara, is located.
Due to its inconvenient locationa and poor condition, Naomasa soon started planning for a new castle on a new location that would become Hikone Castle.
Unfortunately, Naomasa died soon after and the castle was actually begun under his son, Naotsugu. It took 20 years and was completed under Naotsugu’s brother Naotaka who had become lord of the castle in 1615.

 

For his participation in the Battle of Sekigahara, Ii Naomasa was awardded Sawayama castle and surrounding lands.
Genkyu-en, the old garden of a feudal lord, which recreates the nostalgic atmosphere of those ancient days.
At the base of the castle hill stands the Castle Museum whose main attraction is a partial reconstruction of the former palace buildings.
The buildings, which include multiple tatami rooms, corridors and gardens, served as the government offices of the lords and have been reconstructed in the 1980s with great care according to excavations.
Ordinary exhibition rooms display the clan’s family treasures, including arms and armor, kimono, music instruments and documents.
 A beautiful katana to match an equally beautiful set of armor.

 

Noh Masks.
 
The approach to the hilltop castle keep is also interesting. It includes a spiral ramp onto a wooden bridge that can be easily destroyed in case of an attack. 

 

There are also several turrets which can be inspected from the inside as well as a large bell that is still rung several times per day to tell the time.
A large store house and a horse stable stands near the castle’s main gate.

 

Lanterns lining up the castle’s walls.
 
Like many castles in Japan, the grounds of Hikone Castle turn into a popular cherry blossom spot in spring.
 
The cherry trees in Hikone reach full bloom around early to mid april.
 Roughly about a week later than in Kyoto.
 彦根城
The donjon of Hikone-jo is famous for having used several types of gables and construction techniques to make it well fortified.
By climbing the steep stairs on the inside of the castle keep to the top floor, visitors can enjoy views over the castle grounds and the city.

A beautiful castle inside and out with many small interesting points here and there.
 With the reconstructed lord’s palace and the original gardens on the grounds of this castle, in some ways it demonstrates what a castle was really like, even more so than Himeji Castle.
 
   
Hikone-jō is the most famous historical site in the 滋賀, and the most famous historical building in Shiga.
 
One of only 12 Japanese castles with its original keep, and one of only 4 castles listed as a national treasure. When the Meiji era began in 1868, many castles were scheduled to be dismantled, and only a request from the emperor himself, touring the area, kept Hikone Castle intact.
Its three-layered chalk castle tower still maintains its noble and heroic appearance as a symbol of the city.
Today, it remains one of the oldest original-construction castles in Japan.
 
A place of considerable scenic beauty is Genkyu-en Garden located at the base of castle, just outside of the inner moat. 
 Too bad it was raining very heavily.
 
 
After the storm.
 
 This is the castle’s gift shop, Omiyage-s located right outside the castle.
 
 お土産
Hiko-nyan!
弁当  to fill my tummy up on the train ride back.
いただきます~
An AMAZING Chef here who prepares an AWESOME Fugu set meal.
 
 Fugu Sashimi.
 
 ごちそうさまでした~♪
 Got lucky!
 
Met up with friends soon after for a couple of drinks.
 
 
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hidekiuriel

About Joshua Hideki

Hi! I'm Hideki. You can call me Josh! ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ Welcome!!~ This is a Travel Blog covering Japan, and many other bits & pieces of my personal life. Photography, Blogging, Fashion & Traveling in Style. A travel guide for everyone with these passions. Absorb the mesmerizing atmosphere, take in amazing sights & let the enchanting ambiance take you away as you embrace different cultures & see the world through my eyes - my Eternal Memories. Visit my Blog at: JoshuaHideki.com ! Come discover Japan from the inside with me and also we'll provide you with the best destinations to visit; and that includes the rest of the World too! Please enjoy! Discover Japan & Travel the World with me!! Life is precious, you only have one so live it to the fullest!

One thought on “Hiko-nyan! (=ᵔᴥᵔ=)

  1. […] and moats and an interesting approach. This is the link to my previous post on Hikone Castle. Hikone Castle And here are links to my previous entries on Kyoto. Kyoto Kiyomizudera Temple A Day in Kyoto […]

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