Hikone Castle (National Treasure)

by Kazuhiko - Japan Licensed Guide
(92) Reviews

Around the 16th century many feudal lords were fighting to rule this country. Finally Hideyoshi Toyotomi came to rule Japan. However, after his death, Ieyasu Tokugawa attempted to overthrow the Toyotomi family and rule over the country. Moreover, confrontations between a group whose leader was Ieyasu Tokugawa and another group that wanted to maintain the Toyotomi family escalated. They fought against each other in the battle of Sekigahara.

Ieyasu Tokugawa won the battle and established the Tokugawa Shogunate. This was the beginning of the Edo period (1603-1868) and was the time when unique Japanese culture flourished. Naomasa Ii of the Ii family who was serving Ieyasu Tokugawa was transferred to Hikone as the first lord of the Hikone domain. After his death, his successor of the Ii family started building Hikone Castle and constructing the Hikone castle town. It took about 20 years to complete.

The main purpose of this castle was to keep track of the movements of the Toyotomi family and other feudal lords who still continued to show loyalty to the Toyotomi family, and to protect the Emperor. Therefore, the castle was built as a base of the Tokugawa Shogunate and was well-prepared for a battle with the Toyotomi family. It had excellent military facilities for defense and offense. The castle is now a National Treasure and is located in Hikone town in Shiga Prefecture. Hikone faces Lake Biwa, which is the biggest lake in Japan.

The most famous feudal lord among the Ii family was Naosuke Ii who was the 13th feudal lord of the Hikone domain. He was Tairo or chief minister of the Tokugawa Shogunate as well as a feudal lord. In 1853, the United States Fleet sailed into Japan. The commander, Matthew Perry, asked Japan to open the door to the United States. It was Ii Naosuke who signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and Japan without the Emperor's permission. Therefore, discontent grew in the Imperial Court and among some feudal lords. Moreover, Ii Naosuke punished over 100 people who opposed his foreign trade policies.

As a result, on March 3, 1860, the Sakuradamon Incident occurred and he was assassinated by masterless samurais outside the Sakuradamon gate of the Edo Castle (Tokyo).

It is believed that Ii Naosuke played an important role in Japanese history. The Ii family has been popular among ordinary people in this area and there are many temples and historic sites related to Ii family.

Did you like my article?

You can send me a message to get a customized itinerary and quotation for an unforgettable experience. Let's explore Japan Together.

I'll be waiting for you, so please check my profile and get your trip plan now


13 Jul 2015

Kazuhiko

Licensed Guide
(92) Reviews

Plan your trip to Tokyo with Kazuhiko

Chat with a local tour guide who can help organize your trip.
Send a message

Recent Tour Reviews in Tokyo

“ Very organized and hellful ”

Excellent
2 weeks ago Traveler: Monica -   Tour Guide: Kazuhiko

10 out of 10
read more

“ Dinner in kyoto ”

Very Good
1 month ago Traveler: Sally -   Tour Guide: Kazuhiko

Kazu was asked to organise a traditional dinner and later karaoke......he picked us up at our hotel. There were 15 in our party in Kyoto. He walked us to a beautiful traditional restaurant where we had a private room with our own waitress, he also arranged for us to pay separately for the bill which seems to be difficult to do in Japan. The setting and the meal were delightful. We then moved...
read more

“ Fabulous guide ”

Excellent
2 months ago Traveler: Lindsay -   Tour Guide: Kazuhiko

We had a great time with Kazuhiko in the Nara region and Deer Park. He was able to find transport options to assist one of our group who had some mobility issues, and paced the day perfectly so that we could enjoy many special attractions. The Deer Park experience was quite unique and fabulous, not to be missed. He provided us with extensive information regarding both the area and also Japanese hi...
read more

“ Kyoto full day, Kobe half a day ”

Very Good
2 months ago Traveler: Roline -   Tour Guide: Kazuhiko

6 of us were guided by Mr Kazuhiro in both Kyoto and Kobe. He was an attentive informative guide, the fastest walker any of us had ever encountered! We covered a lot of ground and thoroughly enjoyed our time with him.
read more

“ Day trip to Nara from Kyoto ”

Excellent
2 months ago Traveler: Tad -   Tour Guide: Kazuhiko

Kazu was organized, friendly, and most knowledgeable. We had a great experience!
read more

“ Kyoto trip ”

Excellent
2 months ago Traveler: Alfredo -   Tour Guide: Kazuhiko

Kazu is an amazing guide, very knowledgeable and experienced. He did his best to keep our large group of 15 on schedule and involved in the tour. He is very kind and a pleasure to spend the day with!
read more

“ Kyoto Sites with Local ”

Very Good
2 months ago Traveler: Alissa -   Tour Guide: Kazuhiko

Kazu-san is extremely well prepared and informed. He is kind and happy to cater to your needs. He is mindful of how you are feeling and checks in throughout.
read more

“ Osaka walking tour ”

Good
2 months ago Traveler: Margaret -   Tour Guide: Kazuhiko

Kazu kindly meet us at the cruise terminal in Kobe where we transferred to Osaka by train. We used trains ,subways & walking during the day. It would have been an advantage saving lots of time to have bought a day pass instead of individual tickets. The time spent waiting to enter Osaka castle & in the castle would have been better spent seeing something else. The majority of our group of 8 found ...
read more

“ Visit to Kobe & Kyoto ”

Very Good
2 months ago Traveler: Christine -   Tour Guide: Kazuhiko

Kazuhiko met us at the cruise terminal in Kobe and took us on a trip around the city visiting a sake brewery, Nunobiki Herb Garden and the Kitano merchant houses. We used public transport on our first day and with Kazuhiko's help, it was quick and easy to travel around. We spent our second day in Kyoto and although heavy traffic prevented us from visiting the last place on our itinerary, we enjo...
read more

“ Excellent Tour ”

Excellent
2 months ago Traveler: Ken -   Tour Guide: Kazuhiko

We recently took a two week cruise to various areas of Japan as part of our trip. For the stop in Kyoto, we arranged a tour for 8 of us to see Nara and our guide was Kazuhiko. He is an excellent guide and all of us thoroughly enjoyed the tour. He picked us up at the cruise terminal in Kyoto and the vehicle he drove was very comfortable and we did not feel cramped or crowded at all and...
read more

Related cities