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James Clarke | profile | all galleries >> Kansai Sights >> Hikone-jo (Hikone Castle) tree view | thumbnails | slideshow | map

Hikone-jo (Hikone Castle)

In the city of Hikone (Shiga's second largest) there is a beautiful little castle known as Hikone-jo (Hikone Castle). Hikone-jo is an original wooden castle and according to an information board at the castle: it's considered Japan's third best castle after Himeji-jo and Matsumo-jo. While not on the scale of size as Himeji-jo, Hikone-jo has some very unique architectural features making it well worth the visit. Plus there are great views over lake Biwa towards the mountains in Western Shiga.

While making a visit to Hikone-jo make sure you take the time to visit the adjacent Genkyu-en (Gardens) and spend some time soaking in the atmosphere of the delightful little Hikone city. I highly recommend trying some Omi-Gyu (the local beef) if you're a meat eater.

Hikone is on the JR Biwa-ko line, it's 48 minutes from Kyoto via a special rapid service. If you're travelling on a Japan Rail Pass you could catch the Shinkansen to Maibara (20 minutes from Kyoto) then change on to a local train there. Hikone is only 5 minutes via local train from Maibara. If you're coming from Nagoya it's 71 minutes via the JR New Rapid to Maibara, again if you have a Japan Rail Pass you could take the Shinkansen (28 minutes from Nagoya).

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From under a Maple Tree
From under a Maple Tree
The Main Building against a Blue Sky
The Main Building against a Blue Sky
A Portrait at the Castle
A Portrait at the Castle
Sturdy Walls and Blue Sky
Sturdy Walls and Blue Sky
Collapsible Entry Bridge
Collapsible Entry Bridge
Battle damaged building
Battle damaged building
Hikone-jo from Genkyu-en (Genkyu Garden)
Hikone-jo from Genkyu-en (Genkyu Garden)
A small turret
A small turret
Hikone-jo Framed
Hikone-jo Framed
A white Peak
A white Peak
Towards Lake Biwa and Beyond
Towards Lake Biwa and Beyond
Up close to Hikone-jo
Up close to Hikone-jo
On the watch
On the watch
One side of Hikone-jo
One side of Hikone-jo
The Castle from along the wall
The Castle from along the wall
Walking in History
Walking in History
Along a corridor
Along a corridor
Through the branches
Through the branches
An outer guard building
An outer guard building
A Black Swan at the Castle
A Black Swan at the Castle
Two Black Swans at Hikone-jo
Two Black Swans at Hikone-jo