Hikone Castle 彦根城


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Hikone Castle is one of four castles in Japan designated as a National Treasure. It was the base of the Ii Clan, most notably Ii Naosuke (1815-1860), the 16th lord of the Hikone clan who served as the Chief Minister in the Tokugawa shogunate government. He was a key person in opening Japan to Western countries by signing the Treaty of Amity and Commerce (日米修好通商条約 Nichibei Shūkō Tsūshō Jōyaku) between the United States and Japan in 1858. From age 17 to 32, he lived and trained at Umoregi-no-ya 埋木舎 within the grounds of Hikone Castle. Besides the castle tower, four other original castle buildings are now open to the public. More about Hikone here. Map

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Genkyu-en Garden and Umoregi-no-ya 玄宮園・埋木舎


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Genkyu-en is a Japanese garden next to Hikone Castle. It was built as a castle garden in 1677 by Ii Naooki, the fourth lord of Hikone Castle. In Nov., the fall colors are beautifully lit up at night (6 pm - 9 pm). Admission 500 yen. Umoregi-no-ya is a reclusive house where Lord Ii Naosuke lived and trained in various arts from age 17 to 32. Map

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Little Edo Hikone Castle Festival Parade 2009 小江戸彦根の城まつりパレード


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Called Little Edo (Koedo), the castle town of Hikone holds a Castle Festival on Nov. 3. One highlight is the castle parade of children and adults in historical costumes, especially samurai from the Ii clan. The parade includes demonstrations of matchlock gun firing and fireman's acrobatics. These photos were taken on Nov. 3, 2009.

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Mascot Character Festival in Hikone 2008 ゆるキャラまつりin彦根


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On Oct. 25-26, 2008, the first Yuru-Kyara (Mascot Character) Matsuri was held on Yume-Kyobashi Castle Road in Hikone. About 46 mascots showed up in front of thousands of people jamming this road of shops. The most popular was Sento-kun (boy priest with antlers on his head) from Nara. Hikone's Hiko-nyan was the host of this successful event. The event saw about 46,000 visitors. Also see my YouTube video here. Map

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Mascot Character Festival in Hikone 2009 ゆるキャラまつりin彦根


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The 2nd Yuru-kyara festival was held in Oct. 23-25, 2009. The festival was expanded by a day by including an indoor stage show featuring enka singer Hashi Yukio singing "Yuru-kyara Ondo." From 2013, this mascot character festival was renamed Go-tochi Kyara-haku in Hikone (ご当地キャラ博in彦根).

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Takeshima 多景島


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Takeshima ("Island of Many Views") is a small island (600 m circumference) having many different shapes depending on your viewpoint. A Nichiren temple and the priest's family are on the island. Accessible by boat from Hikone, Shiga Prefecture. Map

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Toriimoto-juku 鳥居本宿


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Toriimoto-juku is the sixty-third of the sixty-nine stations or shukuba post towns on the Nakasendo Road. It is the fourth Nakasendo station in Shiga (following Bamba-juku in Maibara), and one of ten Nakasendo stations in Shiga. Although the Honjin is long gone, there are a few reminders of its shukuba past. Near Ohmi Railways Toriimoto Station. Map

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Takamiya-juku 高宮宿


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Takamiya-juku was the sixty-fourth of the sixty-nine stations or shukuba post towns of the Nakasendo Road. Today, it has a few remnants of its Nakasendo past with a Honjin gate, Enshoji temple (where Emperor Meiji once stayed), and shrines. Near the Ohmi Railways Takamiya Station. Map

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Universities in Hikone 彦根の大学


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Hikone hosts Shiga University's Hikone Campus, the University of Shiga Prefecture, and The Japan Center for Michigan Universities (JCMU).

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Other Sights in Hikone


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Pictures of Hikone Station, Ohmi Railways Museum, Hiko-nyan in Hawaii, lantern floating festival, and Hikoneguchi Station. More about Hikone here.

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