4h $ 70 up to 18 people
Home Japan Shiga Tours Hikone Castle (A Nat...

Hikone Castle (A National Treasure) & Castle Town Tour

(33) Reviews
4h $ 70 up to 18 people


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

Select Date and Travelers

70.40 USD

total price for up to 18 people
FREE cancellation 14 days prior


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!!

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.

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


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

City Shiga

Depart From Shiga , Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Kobe

Meeting Point At JR Hikone Station

Ending Point At JR Hikone Station

Duration 4 hours

Starting time 09:00 AM ( recommended )   Flexible

Number of people 1 to 18
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

Can I make changes after I book?

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

Starting and ending points of the tour.

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.

What happens after I book a tour?

After booking a tour, the guide will accept (or decline) your booking within 24 hours. Then you will be noticed by email from Triplelights.

Can the guide pickup me at the airport?

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.

I'm travelling alone. Can I book this tour?

Yes, you can and you may be able to get a discount if you are traveling alone. Price depends on which guide you choose.

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Cancellation Policy

  • If you cancel at least 14 day(s) in advance of the meeting date, there is a 100% refund.
  • If you cancel between 2 and 13 day(s) in advance of the meeting date, there is a 20% charge.
  • If you cancel within 1 day prior to the meeting date, there is a 40% charge.
  • If you cancel on the meeting date, there is no refund.

Organized by Kazuhiko

National Certified Guide

(33) Reviews

Contact Kazuhiko
Response Time 9 hs

Languages spoken
  • English ( License )

Hello, I’m Kazuhiko Goto. Please call me “Kazu”. I'm a national-licensed tour guide. I have a wife and 4 children.
I was born in Osaka city, although I have lived in many places across Japan, such as Matsue city which is famous for beautiful Lake Shinji and Izumo Great Shrine, Niigata city which is famous for delicious rice and Japanese sake, and Kurume city which is closer to many hot springs and the active volcano, Mt.Aso.
Now, I live in Hikone city which is near Kyoto. This city faces beautiful Lake Biwa, which is the biggest lake in Japan
and the city's main feature is Hikone castle, whose castle keep is a national treasure.
My home town, Osaka city, is one of the largest cities in Japan.
This city has been known as the city of “Kuidaore” which means that people in Osaka ruin themselves by overspending on food.
As the name suggests, there are unique dishes, such as
Tecchiri (globefish boiled in a pot), Kushikatsu (deep-fried skewers of meats or vegetables), Takoyaki (octopus dumplings), and
Okonomiyaki (Japanese pancake with various ingredients).
In Osaka, there are also many famous spots, such as the huge Osaka castle complex, bustling Dotombori pleasure resort area and the Umeda Sky Building whose twin towers have a unique shape
Moreover, Osaka is near the historic cities of Kyoto and Nara and the port city Kobe, which is filled with an air of exoticism.

I have guided many foreign tourists as an English tour guide for 2 years since taking an early retirement.
Why did I aim to obtain this license ?
While working for an electric company, I often went abroad on business trips to the U.S.A., Thailand, Hong Kong and China,
I received a lot of kind support from local people.
Therefore, I have thought I should return the favor and I have been thinking about how to do it.
Fortunately, I have a depth of knowledge of many places across Japan, since I used to live there as mentioned above.
Moreover, I am interested in Japanese history, culture, and geography, and I also like intercultural exchanges.
I decided to become a tour guide for foreign tourists, because
I would like to make them happy.
I think that this is a suitable job for me to return the favor to people.
Now, I take delight in doing this job, and I have found out that I can take advantage of my experience and knowledge .
I believe that you will fully enjoy your tour in Japan with me.
Please join my tour !!
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