Established in 1603 by daimyō Ii Naokatsu and completed by his brother Naotaka in 1622, Hikone-jō sits at the eastern end of Shiga-ken's Lake Biwa. Some of the stones used in its construction were taken from Sawayama-jō, a former castle set less strategically in the nearby mountains and abandoned by Naokatsu's father for Hikone. The uniquely decorated donjon was actually originally built for Otsu Castle (at the southwestern end of the lake, close to Kyōto), but was moved to the site by the Ii family. Saved from demolition by the emperor's request at the beginning of the Meiji period, Hikone-jō is now listed as a National Treasure. The castle is viewed here from its western Nishino-maru quarter, a pretty grove packed with cherry blossoms that juts out towards Biwa-ko.