For his participation in the Battle of Sekigahara, Ii Naomasa was awardded Sawayama castle and surrounding lands. Due to its inconvenient locationa and poor condition, he soon started planning for a new castle on a new location that would become Hikone Castle.
Unfortunately, Naomasa died soon after and the castle was actually begun under his son Naotsugu. It took 20 years and was completed under Naotsugu's brother Naotaka who had become lord of the castle in 1615. The main keep of Hikone-jo is famous for having used several types of gables and construction techniques to make it well fortified. The main keep and connected yagura are designated National Treasures. I find it amazing that the ii family magaed to maintain their rule over Hikone Castle over 250 from the beginning of the Edo Period until the Meiji restoration.
A beautiful castle inside and out with many small interesting points here and there. Take your time to explore and enjoy it. Don't miss the various yagura and gates in a rush to get to the main main keep. With the reconstructed lord's palace and the original gardens on teh grounds of this castle, in some ways it demonstrates what a castle was really like even more so than Himeji Castle.
|English Name||Hikone Castle|
|Castle Condition||Original main keep|
|Designations||Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, has National Treasures, Special Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Main Keep Structure||3 levels, 3 stories|
|Artifacts||Tenbin Yagura, Taiko Gate and Tsuzuki Yagura, Nishinomaru 3 level yagura and tsuzukiyagura, tenshu, Tsukiyagura, Tamon Yagura, umaya, Ninomaru Sawaguchi Tamon Yagura|
|Features||main keep, gates, turrets, palace, water moats, stone walls, walls|
|Access||Hikone Station (Tokaido Honsen), walk 15 minutes|
|Location||Hikone, Shiga Prefecture|
|Coordinates||35° 16' 35", 136° 15' 6"|
|Year Visited||1996, 2004|
|Visits||April 1996, February 21, 2004|