Japanese castles are one of the many prides of the country, and when you’re around Kansai area, Hikone Castle in the Shiga prefecture is a must-go location for anyone interested in Japanese culture and history. Located half way between Kyoto and Gifu, easily accessible by train, Hikone is a popular pit-stop for a half day trip. Hikone Castle is a national treasure and one of the rare Japanese castles standing strong in its original built throughout history, bringing you the perfect samurai days immersion.
About Hikone Castle, a National Treasure of Japan
From my experiences with Japanese castles, Hikone Castle stands out with its elevation. Hikone castle was built on a hill, and the steps and overreaching bridge give the visitors a lookout of the castle’s ground and Hikone city from a new height. The walk up is relaxing with the cool breeze consistently coming in and plenty of photo chances of the stunning view.
It is also recommended to have a picnic in Hikone Castle. Picnics and events often take place for a fun time with family and friends. Feel free to bring your own sheet and drinks for a party! During spring, beautiful cherry blossom trees line up along the moats at full bloom. You can even board the little boat to tour around the castle on water.
Highlights of Hikone Castle
The structure of the castle itself is nothing short of impressive too. The overarching castle walls immerse us in the historical sengoku period of Japan as we walk towards the main palace at the top of the hill. Inside the palace, everything is kept in its original form. You get to see and feel the interior as they were from the samurai days. Unlike many castles nowadays, the historical exhibitions are displayed separately at the museum close-by so the atmosphere of the castle can be excellently preserved, which personally I really respect.
From the inside, the steep stairs and the creaking floor display the genuine history of the castle. You see each pillar that has been supporting the castle since hundreds of years ago. From the top of the castle, you get a 360 degrees panoramic view of Hikone city and Japan’s largest lake, Lake Biwa. This lake is a short 20 mins walk from the castle, so be sure to give it a visit. The lake is so wide that you’d feel like you’re staring out into the sea. Enjoy a peaceful and calming walk along the lakeside before leaving Hikone city.
Hikone Castle remains one of my favourite visiting locations for its beautiful and the impressive castle keep. If you’ve admired the samurai culture, Hikone castle will for sure bring you the immersive fun experience you have always longed for.
Opening Hours and Entrance Fees of Hikone Castle
The entrance fee is 800 yen for castle’s ground and 1,300 yen including the Hikone Castle Museum. Hikone Castle opens from 8:00 to 17:00 and it opens all year round.
How to Get to Hikone Castle
You can get to Hikone Castle with a 15 mins walk from Hikone JR station.Upon arriving close to the castle, you’d be immediately impressed by the huge spacious park surrounding the structure.
- Spot name: Hikone Castle
- Street address: 1-1 Konki-cho, Hikone-shi, Shiga 522-0061
- Access: 15 minutes walk from JR Hikone station
- Wi-Fi: Available
- Language: English, Chinese, Korean
- Ticket Purchase: At acceptance
- Credit cards: Not accepted