Hikone is located northeast of Lake Biwa, almost in the center of the Japanese archipelago. Hikone has a history that flourished as a castle town, centring on Hikone Castle, which was built around 1620. There are spots where you can feel the history and culture of Hikone, and an area where you can enjoy the fantastic view of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan.
About Hikone City
Hikone has faced Lake Biwa and has been a hub of transportation for a long time, connecting Keihanshin, Tokai and Hokuriku. In the 16th century, the Ii family constructed Hikone Castle and developed it as a centre for politics and economy centring around the castle town.
Weather and Sightseeing Season in Hikone
Hikone has an average annual temperature of around 15 degrees Celsius, making the climate comfortable. It does not get so hot in summer and cold in winter easily. This is because the water in the lake is not warmed so easily and is affected by Lake Biwa.
Therefore, the climate is great for sightseeing throughout the year. However, it should be noted that the northwest seasonal wind can get strong on the shore and the temperature is low.
Things to See and Do in Hikone
Hikone has a lot of historical heritage from the 16th century which still remains, including Hikone Castle, a national treasure, and the castle town that sprawls around it. Here, we will introduce areas where you can feel the history and culture and the Lake Biwa area that is surrounded by abundant nature
Pursue the History of Hikone in the Hikone Castle Area
The Hikone Castle area has lots of historical buildings and beautiful nature. It is located in the central area and was built in the 16th century over the course of about 20 years. It has a history that contributed to the establishment of shogunate politics.
In addition, we would really like you to visit the Umoreginoya house where Naosuke Ii spent his time, the botanical garden where you can feel the seasons from things such as the Ume grove and Iroha pine trees, and Genkyū Garden which was created by imitating the Eight Views of Ōmi.
The Castle Town Area characterized by the Traditional Hikone Townscape
In Hikone, the the townscape with the castle town atmosphere which has a history of 400 years is attractive. There are lots of sightseeing spots such as 13 shrines and temples, historical buildings, and cultural facilities. We also recommend the course on historical heritage using the city tour bus. There are also a variety of events. In October, the Hikone Castle Festival, which is the largest in Hikone, is held. In April, the Daruma Festival is held at Ryōtanji, a famous Zen temple.
Enjoy the Magnificent Scenery of Hikone at the Lake Biwa Area
The Lake Biwa area is an area where you can enjoy the blue and beautiful Lake Biwa and the historical nature that surrounding it. Lake Biwa is the third oldest lake in the world and the largest lake in Japan.
In this area, it is possible to take a cruise around the island which floats on Lake Biwa by taking a sightseeing boat from Hikone Port. You can enjoy the wonderful view of Takeshima (Island) with its temples and rocks, and Chikubujima (Island), which is completely covered with greenery
Food and Restaurants in Hikone
In Hikone, lake fish caught in Lake Biwa and “Ōmi beef” from the Shiga Prefecture are famous. Ōmi beef is one of the three greatest Japanese beefs and has a history of around 400 years. You can also try dishes made using lake fish that can only be tasted at Lake Biwa, such as Biwa Trout, Isaza Goby, Willow Gudgeon.
The restaurants in Hikone are concentrated in the northern area of Hikone, where JR Hikone Station is located
Hikone Hotels and Ryokan
There are many hotels and Japanese inns in Hikone, with more hotels. The area around JR Hikone Station is where many accommodation facilities gather. Reasonable hotels with rates of around 5,000 -7,000 yen are available in this area.
The hotels which stand around Lake Biwa overlook Hikone Castle and Lake Biwa
How to Get to Hikone
If you are aiming for Hikone, head for JR Hikone Station. From the Tokyo area, take the Bullet Train from JR Tokyo Station, and first head for JR Maibara Station. The journey takes around 2 hours and 10 minutes. From JR Maibara Station, take the JR Tokaido Line bound for Kyoto and you will arrive at JR Hikone Station in about 5 minutes.
- Spot name: Hikone (JR Hikone Station)
- Street address: Hikone Shi, Shiga Prefecture
- Access: JR Tokyo Station → [Shinkansen] about 2 hours and 10 minutes → JR Maibara Station → [JR Tokaido Line] about 5 minutes → JR Hikone Station
- Wi-Fi: Available (depending on facility)
- Credit cards: VISA, MasterCard, JCB, AMERICAN EXPRESS (depending on the facility)