A grand panorama from the castle
Since the establishment of Hikone Castle in the early Edo Era, it has been one of the few castles in Japan to have retained its beautiful appearance. Among the early modern castles, there are only 12 surviving original castle towers or keeps within the nation, and even within those, Hikone Castle has been selected as a National Treasure. The castle with its massive bearing is built upon the peak of Mt. Hikone as it looks over Shiga and the largest lake in the country, Lake Biwa.
An extravagant garden to enjoy nature
The highlights of Hikone Castle are not limited to the castle tower and the watchtower alone. At the north side of the castle, there is Genkyu-en, a Japanese-style garden with a path built around a pond. The garden has been built to recreate The Eight Views of Omi showing the beauty of the former Omi Province (now Shiga Prefecture). During the season of autumn leaves, it is lit up and the surrounding trees beautifully melt into the surface of the large pond that is in the center of the garden. Genkyu-en is a famous garden that will evoke the splendor of Edo culture from that time. Also every September, there is the Mushi no Koe wo Kiku Kai (Celebration of Listening to Insects) and other events where you can fully enjoy Hikone Castle’s co-existence with nature.
The impish Hiko-nyan from the mascot character boom
There are hugely successful regional mascots who exist to provide PR for their respective region’s products and tourism, and for this current mascot boom, Hikone Castle’s own mascot, Hiko-nyan has lit a fire in its popularity. He has become so much of a hit that tourists come to the castle just to lay their eyes on him.