There are only 12 castles in Japan whose main keeps remain intact. Standing alongside Himeji Castle, Matsumoto Castle, Inuyama Castle, and Matsue Castle as a castle with a keep that has been designated a National Treasure of Japan is Hikone Castle.
In addition to the castle keep, Hikone Castle's Important National Cultural Asset-listed turrets, garden (Genkyu-en), and dual inner moats remain as they were at the time of the castle's construction. As one of the country's best-preserved castles, it is home to a large number of spectacular sights.
On the orders of the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hikone Castle was built over a period of 20 years beginning in 1604, in order to take the place of Sawayama Castle, which had been the castle of Tokugawa's rival Ishida Mitsunari.
At Hikone Castle, signs of its former residents' preparedness for battle, including secret rooms and a variety of traps, can be seen at every turn.
In the spring, around 1,200 cherry trees bloom on the castle grounds. In the winter, visitors are greeted by picturesque, snow-capped scenery.
Additionally, the moats can be toured on pleasure boats. Rickshaw tours of the areas around the castle are also available.
50 minutes by car from the hotel