Home Japan Shiga Hikone Castle (A Nat...

Overview

You can enter the Hikone castle keep, turrets etc.
I believe that you feel like you have slipped back into the Edo Period ( about 200~400 years ago).
Hikone city is near Kyoto city. It takes about 50 min. by JR train. Please vieit Hikone while you visit Kyoto.
Of course, I can guide you in Kyoto, Nara and Osaka.
I look forward to meeting you.
Thank you!!

Highlights

  •   Hikone Castle keep (A National Treasure), Genkyu-en Garden
  •   Hikone Castle Museum, Temple complex and Castle Town
  •   Japanese Traditional Restaurant

Information

City Shiga
Depart From Shiga , Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Kobe
Meeting Point At JR Hikone Station
Ending Point At JR Hikone Station
Departure 09:00 AM ( recommended )   Flexible
Duration 4h   Flexible
Languages English (License)
Tour Type Private Tour ( only for you )
Number of people 1 ~ 18

I will suit it to a guide starting time that is convenient for you.

Booking
4h
When?

People

73.60 USD

final price

FREE cancelation 14 days prior

What to Expect

Before this tour, for your better understanding, I would like to explain the history regarding Hikone castle and Hikone to you.
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 Japan.
Moreover, confrontations between a group whose leader was Ieyasu Tokugawa and another group which wanted to maintain Toyotomi family escalated.
Finally, they fought each other at the battle of Sekigahara.
It was to decide who would rule Japan.
After the battle, Ieyasu Tokugawa won the battle and established the Tokugawa Shogunate. Moreover, 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 the Hikone castle and constructing Hikone castle town.
It took about 20 years to be completed.
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, this castle would be built as a base of the Tokugawa Shogunate and was built to prepare for a battle with the Toyotomi family.
This castle had excellent defensiveness and offensiveness as military facilities.
This castle is now a National Treasure and located in Hikone city in Shiga Prefecture.
Hikone faces Lake Biwa which is the biggest lake in Japan.

Next, the most famous feudal lord among Ii family was Naosuke Ii who was 13th feudal lord of the Hikone domain.
He was Tairo or chief minister of the Tokugawa Shogunate as well as 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.
Ii Naosuke signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce between the United States and Japan without the Emperor's permission.
Therefore, discontent of the Imperial Court and some feudal lords grew.
Moreover, he 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 Edo Castle.
However, it is said he played an important role in Japanese history.
Ii family has been popular among ordinary people in this area and there are many temples or historic sites related to Ii family.

Based on the above information, I will inform you of detailed itinerary.

After meeting you at the JR Hikone station, I will show you a statue of warrior on a horse with armor and helmet. This statue’s image is Naomasa Ii who was 1st feudal lord of the Hikone domain.
Along a street which leads to Hikone castle, you stop by stone dealer’s stores dating back to the Middle Age. At these shops, there are garden lanterns, gravestones etc. of Japanese style and Buddha statues.
After about 15min. walk from the station, you will visit a Gokoku-shrine which enshrined person killed in wars.
After that, you will see middle moat and stone wall soon which are an entrance of Hikone castle complex. After watching Sawaguchi-Tamon Yagura turrets and stable which are important cultural assets and crossing a bridge over inner moat,
you will arrive at ticket office. After purchasing entrance tickets, you will confront a slope. Because this slope and steps were designed irregular to prevent invaders from entering the castle ground easily, you will run out breath.
This design is one of excellent defensiveness of this castle.
After going up the slope gasping for breath, you will see stone wall, bridge and entering road which is bent in to a right angle. These construction also show
excellent defensiveness and offensiveness of this castle.
After passing under two turrets (Tenbin Yagura turret and Taikomon Yagura turret) which are Important Cultural Assets, you will arrive at Hikone castle keep.
Though this castle keep which is national Treasure is small comparatively, this keep was designed to focus on the outside beauty.
Inside the keep, you will find interesting castle constructions.
Moreover, since this keep was built on the top of Mt.Hikone, you can get a full view of the surrounding area.

After leaving the keep and going down another slope, you will visit Genkyu-en feudal lord’s garden which was created in 1677.
This garden style is typical Japanese garden style which features a circular walking path around a central pond.
You can enjoy the view during each of the four seasons and each scenery should be breathtaking beauty.

After leaving Genkyu-en garden, you will see statue of Naosuke Ii who opened
the country to the world and you will arrive at Hikone Castle Museum.
Since there are many arts and crafts collected by the Ii family, such as Japanese swords, Noh masks and costumes, red armor, tea ceremony utensils, you can see the Edo period’s culture and Japan’s beauty.
Walking along the inner moat and cross the middle moat, you will arrive at Yume (dream)-Kyobashi-Castle-Road and a temple complex.
In the temple complex, there are several temples which associated with Ii family.
During emergency, the temple complex was important defensive positions where soldiers stay and prepare for a battle.
The Yume (dream)-Kyobashi-Castle-Road was built for tourists where both sides of the street are lined with black colored old Japanese style houses and the atmosphere of Edo period is well expressed. You can buy traditional Japanese souvenirs and eat Japanese traditional dishes, such as Soba noodles, O-mi beef sukiyaki.
On your way back to the JR Hikone Station, you will find Kimono shop, antique shop, etc. and you also find that streets in the castle town were designed to prevent invaders from attacking the castle complex.
At the end of the tour, you will browse many shops in a small department store in front of the station.
In the department store, you will find modern Japanese life style, because many citizens visit there to buy something for their daily life. Moreover, you will find interesting shops, such as 100 yen shops which is become popular among foreign tourists.


What‘s included

Tour guide fee


What‘s not included

Transportation fee, Entrance fee, fee of Meals

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there interesting spots around here?

Yes. This area is close to Kyoto and Nara geographically and has been culturally influenced strongly by Kyoto and Nara since ancient times. Therefore, there are many famous temples and shrines around here. Moreover, this area was important military spot for feudal lords who tried to rule Japan in the Civil Wars in around the 16 century.
Therefore, there are many ruins of castles.

What is the admission?

Adults: JPY 600 Children: JPY200

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes! If you need to make changes such as removing or adding someone to your booking or changing the date or time of your tour, contact us by phone or email
After you secure your booking, the starting and ending points of your tour can be customized to your convenience (ex.: your hotel, nearby stations, etc.). Don't worry, we will take care of you!

Some tours may have an extra fee for this service, make sure to check the tour page.
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You’ll be able to see the guide’s e-mail address and phone number. You can contact your guide directly before the tour starts, and enjoy your tour on the day!
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Your credit card or PayPal account will be charged upon booking. However, if the guide does not accept your booking, the amount will be credited back to the account from which the charge was drawn.
No, our prices are 100% booking fee free – meaning the price you see is the amount you pay.
It depends on the location of your hotel and places you visit. But to give you an idea, it costs about 200-300yen for one place to the other, and the total is about 1,000yen for a full day tour.
Yes, but there will be additional charge for that and it is not by car. The guide will go pick you up using public transportations. For further details, please contact your guide directly.
Yes, you can and you may be able to get a discount if you are traveling alone. Price depends on which guide you choose.
Yes you can, but you have to pay an extra charge per person. The price depends on which guide you choose.
More Frequently Asked Questions

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Reviews

Farahin Farahin
6 days ago , ( Family ) , From: Singapore

“ A very fulfilling 1-day Kyoto Trip ”

Goto-san was very intellectual and had a lot of things to share about Kyoto and the history of Japan, which my father enjoyed very much. Our objective of the trip was to take nice pictures of the cherryblossoms and Goto-san was very knowledgeable about which spots would be good for sakura viewing & for taking pictures . Though we ran a tight schedule, with about 5 places to visit (including kimono wearing which takes about an hour!), Goto-san was very patient and did not rush us for anything. He was also very flexible when we suddenly had a change of plans; offering us different alternatives so that we could meet deadlines (of returning the kimono) and at the same time visit all the places in our check list. Though he may take a while to understand you, his english is rather decent. Overall, we had an enjoyable one-day trip to Kyoto, which didn't feel rushed or jam-packed at all. Thank you Goto-san for your good service and showing us around Kyoto!

Kazuhiko:
Dear Ms. Farahin Thank you for your message. I also enjoyed the tour with you. Moreover, thank you for nice photo. The photo reminds me of the pleasant tour. I hope that the tour in Japan will become your memorable tour and I hope that you will visit Japan again. I would like to guide you again. Thank you!! Best regards, Kazuhiko Goto

A
Angela
3 weeks ago , ( Family ) , From: United States

“ Kyoto tour ”

We had a wonderful time with Goto-san in Kyoto. His English is very good. He was very helpful in getting our reservations to the kaiseki dinner/maiko show after our tour and he made sure we got to the restaurant on time. He also gave instructions to the restaurant on getting a taxi back to our ryokan afterwards. We had a very busy day and we were able to see so many sights. Goto-san had us going at a quick pace-good thing we are in good shape :) My husband was happy since we didn't spend too much time shopping at all the siuvenir/gift shops that lined the walk ways to the temples/shrines. My only recommendation is to get a prepaid card for mass transit (ioca, suica, pasmo). It would have been easier to pay for our rides that way instead of having to fish out coins to pay. Overall we had a great time with Goto-san and highly recommend his tour of Kyoto. If we visit Kyoto again, I would definitely book a tour with him.

Kazuhiko:
Hello!! Thank you for your message. I also had a nice time with your nice family. I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the tour, dinner with maiko show. I hope that this tour will become your memorable tour in Japan. Moreover, I hope that I would like to guide you in near future again. Please visit Japan again!! Thank you!!

A
Anja
1 month ago , ( Couple ) , From: Germany

“ Best tour guide we've ever had! ”

Kazuhiko was our tour guide for one day in Kyoto. He did a fantastic job telling us about the Japanese history and traditions while we were visiting several sights in Kyoto. For lunch, he took us to an amazing and really affordable Sushi place. After the extended tour, he even helped us with buying train tickets to our next destination and he gave us origami swans handmade by his lovely wife! (Thank you so much!) Kazuhiko went an extra mile to introduce us to his fascinating country! We would recommend him to anyone visiting Japan! Thanks again for an unforgettable day! :-) Anja & Halim

Kazuhiko:
Dear Ms.Anja & Mr.Halim Thank you for your nice message. I'm glad to receive it. I also enjoyed the tour with you. Thank you!! I hope that the tour will become your memorable tour. Moreover, I hope that I would like to guide you in Japan again in near future. Please visit japan again!! Thank you so much!! Best regards, Kazuhiko Goto

N
Nora
3 months ago , ( Family ) , From: Philippines

“ Kyoto tour ”

Great job done Kazuhiko.

Kazuhiko:
Hello!! Nora Thank you for your message, I also enjoyed the tour with you, i hope that this tour become your memorable tour, Please visit Japan again. Thank you! Kazuhiko Goto

M
Mark
3 months ago , ( Family ) , From: United States

“ Friendly and very informative. ”

We toured Kyoto & Osaka with Goto. On time, flexible to our needs and prepared. Goto had handouts, maps, and a handy langauge cheat sheet. He answered all the questions we had. I would highly recommend him to anyone needing a tour of Kyoto or Osaka!

Kazuhiko:
Hello!! Thank you for your comments. I also enjoyed the tour with your nice family. I hope that this tour will become your memorable tour. Moreover, I hope that you will visit Japan again in near future. I would like to meet your family. Thank you so much!!

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