For those who are thinking,
「I want to see the cherry blossoms at Hikone castle！」
「Is there anything I should know about when I go to see the cherry blossoms at Hikone castle？」
then this article is for you!
Hello! WABI SABI here, to give foreign visitors the information they need to enjoy Japan to its fullest!
What we, the information brokers of Japan, would like to introduce to you today are the cherry blossoms in Hikone castle, located in Shiga Prefecture.
Even if it isn’t cherry blossom season, there isn’t anyone who doesn’t know the popular tourist spot that many people go to: Hikone castle!
Hikone castle is famous for its beautiful cherry blossoms that bloom when spring comes.
Now let’s look right into the information that you would want to know about Hikone castle!
【First】What Kind of Castle is Hikone Castle？
As Hikone Castle is located in Hikone, Shiga prefecture, it is one of the historical buildings that have been standing since the Edo period.
Because of his contributions in the The Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, Ii Naomasa, who was part of the Four Heavenly Kings of Tokugawa, was given 180000 stones in kokudaka.
The 180000 kokudaka worth of land was the Sawayama land, and after that, Hikone castle was built.
In the stead of the younger Ii Naotsugu, who succeeded the family, Naomasa’s old retainer, Kimata Morikatsu, consulted with Tokugawa Ieyasu, and took over his will.
The castles construction started a year after Ii Naomasa died, which was in 1602.
It could be said that the castle was essential for the Tokugawa shogunate, but due to the “Disposal of Castles” law each areas castles were being destroyed one by one.
Due to the Meiji emperor passing by on a pilgrimage though, Hikone castle was luckily not destroyed or even stolen.
In fact, the cherry blossoms weren’t even planted in the Showa period and in 1934, as a symbol of tourism, 1000 yoshino cherry blossoms were starting to be planted.
It has been acknowledged as a special historic site, Tenshu was specified as a national treasure, and the castle is a famous and historical castle.
Here is more detailed information about Hikone castle.
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Cherry Blossom Viewing Info
During the cherry blossom viewing season, the cherry blossom festival is held from March 30th to April 18th.
Furthermore, during that season, special products and bento are sold from March 16th to May 6th.
Though there may be changes due to weather conditions, when the season comes you can enjoy seeing gorgeous cherry blossoms!
You Can Enjoy Night Cherry Blossoms!
From 6:00pm to 9:00pm, the cherry blossoms are lit up so you can enjoy them after dark.
You can’t enter the castle, but you can fully enjoy cherry blossom viewing.
During the festival there are stands that sell beer and Japanese sake, so you can enjoy the cherry blossoms with alcohol in one hand.
Ofcourse, drinking and driving is against the law and even if you can still drive back home.
One More Step Until National Treasure!
There has been talk of it becoming a national treasure in recent years, but no recommendation is being sent off due to registrations becoming stricter.
Even if it doesn’t become a national treasure, that doesn’t change the fact that it is a fantastic and historically rich castle.
Not only national but international tourists come to visit as it is a very popular and fulfilling tourist destination.
It is related to the Battle of Sekigahara, it was made after Ii Naomasa’s death with the Kokudaka that he made, etc. As such, history buffs be sure to come to Hikone castle.
Even looking at it is great and it isn’t spacious when you go inside, but it does make you wonder how it looked in the past.
Due to the renovations this year, you can’t fully see it as one part is covered in platforms, but it is still fantastic to look at.
We are not playing up the national treasure assessment: it really does have an impressive impact when you look at it up close.
Going for that national treasure status, they have cleaning and guide services.
Because of the structure of the castle the stairs inside are very steep but other than that, you should be able to calmly spend some time there.
Viewing the cherry blossoms up close is good and looking from the top of the castle is great!
Business hours are until 5:00pm and you can’t enjoy the lit up cherry blossoms at night but, there is some merit in coming and enjoying it at noon.
The local character comes out and you can take a free picture with it. This can be a memory for both adults and children.
You can enjoy the miraculous Hikone castle both during the day and night, and you can see the different faces of it at different times.
Prices & Discount Info
Going in costs 800 yen for adults and 200 yen for elementary and middle schoolers.
When going in a group of 30 and up people, you get 80 yen off per person, 100 and up get 160 yen off, and 300 and up get 240 yen off.
The museum separately costs 1200 yen for adults and 350 yen for elementary and middle schoolers. Of course the group discount also works so it is recommended.
Those who live in Hikone city that are older than 65 and those who are handicapped are allowed in for free if you show them your health record booklet.
Even for faculty and staff led by school events to caregivers and students in the city, the fee will be waived by presenting the designated documents.
There are two ways to access JR Hikone Station or by car via the Meishin Expressway Hikone IC.
The former gets off at JR Hikone Station and it’s about a 15 minute walk to Hikone Castle.
On the other hand, the latter aims at Hikone IC from each direction of the Meishin Expressway, and you can see the castle after running about 7 minutes from the IC.
In any case, Hikone Castle is a national treasure that stands out from a distance, so you won’t get lost unless you have the right location.
By the way, the parking fee is 400 yen per time, and you can park up to 1,000 cars.