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

69.60 USD

total price up to 18

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

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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.
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Reviews

J
Jolene
1 month ago , ( Family ) , From: Hong Kong

“ So much to see in Kyoto ”

We really enjoyed our day out in Kyoto with Goto (Kazuhiro). Upon booking the tour Goto stayed in regular email contact, providing personalized suggestions of additional sights to see. The tour is a combination of walking and public transportation which would have been difficult to plan ourselves. Goto has a lot of energy so make sure you can keep up with him! He met us at our hotel in the morning and we finalized the details of the day. He was very flexible and even helped us with booking train tickets to Tokyo. Goto was also very knowledgeable and able to answer any questions we had. One day was not enough as there is so much to see in Kyoto! I would definitely recommend Goto to anyone.

Kazuhiko:
Hello!! Thank you for your message. I also enjoyed this tour with your nice family. This tour has became my memorable tour. Thank you!! I hope ttha you will visit Japan again in near future. I would like to guide you in other spots in Japan. Best regards, Kazuhiko Goto

J
Joan
1 month ago , ( Couple ) , From: United States

“ Customized six hour tour in Kyoto ”

Kazuhiko Goto-San was a very good tour guide for us. He was responsive in our planning; knowledgeable about the places we visited; answered our many questions; and was very kind.

Kazuhiko:
Hello!! Ms.Joan Thank you for your message. I also enjoyed this tour with you. I hope that you will visit Japan again in near future. Moreover, I hope that this tour will become your memorable tour. Thank you!! kazuhiko Goto

J
Jennifer
4 months ago , From: United States

I had 9 hours in Kyoto and wanted to make the most of my time in the area. Kazuhiko layed out a custom itinerary that covered the major sites I wanted to see. During our email exchanges, Kazuhiko was always responsive and when I arrived, he had a great and efficient itinerary mapped out for the day. He started off by meeting me at the train car when I arrived inKyoto, coordinated all of our public transportation from site to site, shared his knowledge of the culture and local sites, and planned a nice lunch stop. We moved efficiently from site to site, but I did not feel rushed. We finished off the day with a refreshing desert and then he escorted me back to Kyoto Station. He also assisted with updating my seat reservation for the bullet train and saw me off at the train platform. Thank you Kazuhiko for sharing your knowledge of the local sites and the Japanese culture. It was a great experience.

Kazuhiko:
Hello!! Thank you for your message. I'm glad that you enjoyed this tour. I'm also enjoyed this tour with you. I spent nice time/ I hope that this tour become your memorable tour. Moreover, I hope that you will visit Japan again in near future. Thank you!!

D
Dung
4 months ago , From: United States

Our guide is very helpfull. Mr Goto know exactly where to take us and show us where to get good food.

Kazuhiko:
Hello!! Thank you for your message. I'm glad to receive you message. I also enjoyed this tour with your nice family. I think that this tour becomes memorable tour for me. Please visit Japan in near future. I would like to guide you in breath taking spots in Japan. Thank you!! Kazuhiko Goto

Solomon Solomon
6 months ago , From: United States

He was on time and very friendly and informative. We recommend him highly.

Kazuhiko:
Hello!! Thank you for your message. I'm glad that you enjoyed this tour with me. I'm also enjoyed that I guided you. I hope that you will visit Japan in near future again, and I would like to guide you again. Thank you! Best regards, Kazuhiko Goto

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