Hikone castle and garden


If you are on the lookout for a quick and easy half-dat off Kyoto or Osaka, I suggest you look towards Hikone in Shiga prefecture, just east of Lake Biwa. Access is very fast (one hour tops by train) and supported by the Japan Rail Pass. The virtue of Hikone is the combined Japanese landscapes it offers only in a few tens of minutes. Fifteen minutes from the station, lies a large area consisting of an original castle and a beautiful Japanese garden.

The walk through the grounds of Hikone-jo can get you close enough to the castle, although it’s impossible to enter it. Apart from a few renovated or rebuilt parts, most of the original castle remains. This is one reason why it’s classified as a national treasure in Japan, a title shared with only three other castles: Himeji, Matsumoto and Inuyama.

During the visit, don’t forget to admire the view of Lake Biwa.

hikone-1 hikone-2 hikone-3 hikone-4 hikone-5 hikone-6 hikone-7 hikone-8 hikone-9 hikone-11 hikone-12 hikone-10

Going down takes you directly to Genkyûen Japanese garden, built a few decades after the castle (late 17th century). Arranged around a pond, the garden offers different beautiful points of view:

hikone-13 hikone-14 hikone-15 hikone-16 hikone-17 hikone-19 hikone-20 hikone-21 hikone-22

Of course, the whole place is especially recommended if you visit the area during the blooming sakura or momiji (as was our case, at the end of fall). It’s possible to continue the tour with a shopping street a little further south, called “Yume Kyobashi Castle Road” and whose architecture is inspired by the Edo period. Allow about three hours total on site, and don’t forget to say hello to the local mascot, the Hiko-nyan cat!

Related posts
  • Nagoya Castle

    Nagoya Castle

    Despite its status as the fourth largest city in Japan in terms of population size, Nagoya is often forgotten by travelers in Japan. I think it ma...

  • Okayama black castle and Koraku-en japanese garden

    Okayama black castle and Koraku-en japanese garden

    Okayama is located roughly halfway between Osaka and Hiroshima, near the Seto Sea which cuts Shikoku from Honshu. I went to Okayama from Takamatsu...

  • Kyoto Castle: Nijo-jo

    Kyoto Castle: Nijo-jo

    If you are traveling in Kyoto, among your visits of the numerous temples and shrines, don't forget to go to Nijo-jo, once Kyoto imperial castle. L...

  • Kenroku-en garden

    Kenroku-en garden

    Among 日本三名園 "the three most famous gardens in Japan", Kenrokuen in Kanazawa (Ishikawa Prefecture) is often considered the most beautiful Japanese ...

  • Kema Sakuranomiya Park

    Kema Sakuranomiya Park

    When thinking about cherry blossoms in Japan, Osaka is rarely the first city which comes to mind. Very urban, the economic capital of Kansai suffe...

  • Heian Jingu

    Heian Jingu

    Tourists in Kyoto may not know Heian by its name, but many have at least passed before his most famous landmark: a 25-meters high vermilion torii ...

Posted on by Gael
Category : Japan travel guide
Tags : , ,
Cet article existe également en français sur Kanpai.fr : Hikone

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *