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Hikone Castle of Shiga

©Omi Tourism Board

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Hikone Castle of Shiga


This charming Edo-period castle is one of Japan’s historical landmarks

Omi Tourism Board


©Omi Tourism Board


Hikone Castle stands on a hill in central Hikone City. Built as the seat of the Ii clan, it was originally almost entirely surrounded by the water of Lake Biwa. A visit to the castle is a fascinating experience. The path climbs steeply through a variety of ingenious fortifications, from simple expedients such as uneven steps to a collapsible bridge. There are waterfowl in the moats, and woodland birds in the forest on the hillsides. From the flat hilltop, you can see all of Hikone City, the vast expanse of Lake Biwa, and the mountain ranges that surround Shiga. Climb the vertiginous steps inside the keep, and you can look down on the castle defenses, as well as the pretty traditional garden created for the enjoyment of the feudal lords. The views reflect the changing seasons, with white-capped mountains in winter, massed ranks of cherry blossoms in spring, and colorful foliage in autumn. At the end of the feudal period, Hikone Castle was slated for demolition, but Emperor Meiji found it so charming it was spared from destruction.


©Omi Tourism Board

How to get there


From Tokyo Station, take the Shinkansen bullet train to Maihara Station (about 2 hours and 10 minutes). From Maibara Station, take the JR Biwako Line to Hikone Station (about 5 minutes). Hikone Castle is a 15-minutes walk from there.


1-1 Konki-cho, Hikone-shi, Shiga-ken


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