pix: Daniel O'Grady
井伊氏1600 - 1871
彦根城Hikone Castle is classified as a hilltop castle (its layout: Renkakushiki), and is located in Shiga Prefecture. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Ōmi Province. It is associated with the Ii clan. Dates in use: 1603 - 1874.
Hikone's main tower is considered by many as the most graceful of the 12 original Tenshus that have survived to the present day. The completed castle of 1622 was actually a confection of nearby, disused castles and some new construction in order to reduce the amount of time & money required. Ōtsu castle provided Hikone's main tower and Nagahama & Sawaguchi castles contributed other buildings & materials.
This is such a great castle to visit, and easily accessible should you be sightseeing in Kyōto or Nagoya. Entering the grounds from the train station, you'll pass between two long turrets then an old horse stable. From here, a wooden bridge will take you to the rebuilt palace & the other buildings of the inner defensive enclosures.
Surrounding the castle still are substantial sections of moat, several rings in fact. Also, on the East side of the castle is a picturesque little stroll garden & the former lord's residence.
|1603||Construction started on Hikone Castle following the death of Ii Naomasa.|
|1606||A second phase of castle construction was completed.|
|1616||A third phase of construction was started.|
|1622||The castle was finally finished with the completion of the palace.|
|1854||Repairs were made to the Tenbin Turret down to the stone foundations.|
|1874||The castle was decommissioned.|
|1952||Several buildings including the main tower were awarded National Treasure status.|
|1957||A three-year restoration of the main tower commenced.|
|1987||The palace was rebuilt. It now serves as a museum displaying items relating to the castle & the Ii clan.|
|Site||Special National Historic Site|
|Main Tower||National Treasure|
|Tsuki & Tamon Turrets||National Treasure|
|Nishinomaru 3 story & Tsuzuki Turrets||Important Cultural Property|
|Ninomaru Sawaguchi Tamon Turret||Important Cultural Property|
|Taiko Gate & Tsuzuki Turret||Important Cultural Property|
|Tenbin Turret||Important Cultural Property|
|Horse Stable||Important Cultural Property|