The spectacular bursts of cherry blossoms around Hikone Castle will capture your heart in the spring. In autumn, Hikone’s historical
shrines and temples are painted with enchanting shades of red and yellow. And within the ancient waters of Lake Biwa, over 60 unique
species of aquatic life make their home. In Hikone, you will be greeted by a truly unique collection of natural wonders.
With extraordinary views aplenty, Lake Biwa boasts the greatest area of any lake in Japan, and a wide variety of aquatic life.
Lake Biwa is not only the largest lake it Japan–it is one of the oldest lakes in the world, and has been in existence for at least 4 million years. Lake Biwa’s beautiful scenery from sites like Hikone is frequently mentioned in Japanese classical literature, provides a particularly dramatic backdrop for Hikone Castle.
From the castle keep, and the square before the castle, visitors can view a panorama of Hikone.
Hikone City was established as a castle town in the Edo Period (1603-1868), whose residents included not only samurai, but also many merchants, craftsmen, and farmers within the town itself. Among them, there were over 100 different occupations that were divided into specific districts according to their respective place in the social structure. Even now, the design of the buildings and roads in these parts of town still speak of Hikone’s Edo past. Looking down to the east from Hikone Castle keep, the town is visible in its entirety, just as the warriors of Hikone Castle must have seen it centuries ago.
Hikone is also well-known for its natural seasonal spectacle, during which the cherry blossoms and colorful autumn foliage put on lovely displays. Each is also illuminated at night in the area around Hikone Castle.
Hikone shows a different face through each of the seasons, and each is uniquely beautiful. In spring, boughs laden thick with cherry blossoms extend over the moat and encircle the castle in pink. Again in autumn, the trees surrounding the castle and its gardens are set ablaze with warm autumn colors, and the town looks new yet again.
As you admire the foliage of fall, or sail by beneath a tunnel of blossoms in splendor in the yakata-bune boat that periodically circles the castle, feel the ephemerality of each season on your skin, and the coming of a new one.