Source: Simon Desmarais
Located at the bank of beautiful Lake Biwa, Hikone is one of the best places near Kyoto for you to appreciate the vibe of a historical Japan, loaded with historical and other places that rotates around the manor itself. Maybe the Hikone Castle which is a national fortune of the country can be a single reason you would visit this quaint town. In any case, Hikone has numerous more places to explore , for example, spots of grand magnificence about which legendary artists used to take their inspirations, sublime temples, and holy places, and roads where history and new era blends congruously. A perfect getaway from Kyoto city, Hikone offers a number of places where you can explore the rich past of Japan. Lake Biwa which is the largest lake in Japan offers a number of outdoor activities and things a tourist can do in Hikone. Below are some best things to do in Hikone, Japan.
1. Hikone Castle
Source: Ross Fowler
Hikone Castle is one of the most famous castle and one of the original castle still standing, means it survived the post-medieval period without experiencing decimation and reconstruction. It been assigned a national fortune, the most noteworthy designation for social properties in Japan, held by just 4 other castle keeps. At the base of the stronghold, slope stands the Hikone Castle Museum whose primary fascination is a halfway remaking of the previous royal residence buildings. Hikone’s cherry trees achieve full sprout more often around a week later than in nearby Kyoto around mid-April. Hikone Castle is one of just 12 Japanese castles with the authentic keep, and one of just four castles listed as a national fortune.
- Name: Hikone Castle
- Address : 1-1 Konkicho, Hikone, Shiga Prefecture 522-0061, Japan
- Timings: 8:30 to 17:30
- Closed: No closing days
- Fees: 600 yen
- Access: 15 Mintute From Hikone Station.
2. Genkyuen Garden – Enjoy the Beauty of Nature
Genkyuen Garden built in 1677 is one of the most beautiful gardens in Hikone located on the grounds of Hikone Castle . It was crafted for the entertainment purpose of castle lord’s visitors and his family. There are four little islands scattered over the lake, associated by scaffolds. Genkyuen Garden is situated at the eastern base of the slope on which the primary keep of Hikone Castle stands, simply outside the inward canal. The best thing tourist can indulge here is to stop at the small teahouse for an amazing green tea, a sweet dishes and to spend some peaceful time in Hikone.
- Name: Genkyuen Garden
- Address: 3 Konki-cho, Hikone, Shiga, 522-0061, Japan
- Timings: 8:30 to 17:00
- Closed : No closing days.
- Entry Fees: 200 yen
- Access: 20 minute walk from Hikone Station
3. Shopping at Castle Road
Yume Kyobashi Castle Road is a street just outside Hikone Castle’s external channel, which has been as of late upgraded in a style consolidating the look and environment of a former castle town with a wonderful, advanced shopping road. Different boutiques, eateries, bistros and gift shops line the road, which makes for a charming walk around a visit to the castle. Tourists can appreciate shopping like in Edo Period.
- Name: Yume Kyobashi Castle Road
- Address: Honmachi, Hikone, Shiga, 522-0064, Japan
- Timings: Depends on Shops but mostly open from 10:00 and 17:30.
- Closed: Most of the shops are closed in Tuesday.
4. Lake Biwa
It is the biggest lake in Japan and stays wonderful throughout the entire year, where local people enjoy picnicking and making barbecues, take a plunge in the water, or basically to appreciate the perspective from the lake. ake Biwa is a home to a number of bird species which is a heaven for birdwatchers and nature lovers. The lake is likewise known for wonderful nightfalls, particularly when seen from the east side of the lake as the sun sets over the mountains toward the west. The surface territory of the lake involves one-6th of Shiga Prefecture’s aggregate zone. Tourist can also ride the boat in Lake Biwa to Takeshima and Chikubushima for which the boats leaves from Hikone Port for the voyage. Lake Biwa is likewise home to numerous well-known shorelines along the north-western shore.
- Name: Lake Biwa
- Address:Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, Japan
5. Explore Viva City
One of the best places to spend leisure time in Hikone, Viva City is the greatest shopping center in Hikone which is located just one station away from Hikone Station. It has everything from apparel to embellishments, food outlets , sports shops, a film theater, and so on. There are a number of alternatives where you can spend your time either purchasing a few merchandise or enjoying various Japanese cuisines at various food outlets in the mall. Some well-known shops are Donguri Kyouwakoku, Mameno Hatake an eatery ,Sports court 810 and numerous others.
- Name:Viva City
- Address:Hikone, Shiga, Japan
6. Yonbancho Square
Once occupied by elders like mother and father, Yonbancho Square now has been transformed into a new shopping arcade in Hikone. One can feel the vibe of olden days in the street which is lit by gas lamps. Yobancho Square offers numerous shops and eateries that offer local goods and items. It additionally highlights various performances by local people.
- Name: Yonbancho Square
- Address:Honmachi, Hikone 522-0064, Shiga Prefecture
7. Hikone Castle Museum- Explore Historical Artifacts
Hikone Castle Museum is the incredible historical center of samurai antiques and work of art. Found right by Hikone Castle, this exhibition hall gives an inside voyage through the Hikone Castle, featuring armors, ancient rarities, and additionally tea rooms and gardens that mirror the historical backdrop of Hikone. Hikone Castle Museum is built as the copy of the main palace of the Hikone Clans during the Edo Era.
- Name: Hikone Castle Museum
- Address: 1-1 Konkicho, Hikone, Shiga Prefecture 522-0061, Japan
- Timings:8:30 to 17:00
- Closed: December 25 to 31
- Fees: 500 yen
- Access: 15 Mintute From Hikone Station.
8. Shigaken Gokoku Shrine
Built in 1876 by Ii Naonori, the last ruler of Hikone Clan, Shigaken Gokoku Shrine main interest was to show respect to the Hikone Clan warriors who were killed at Boshin War. Today Shigaken Gokoku Shrine honors thousands of war dead soldiers, and petitions God for the interminable peace and security of the country. The gods of this place of worship truly wish for happiness and peace all around the world. Mitama Matsuri, a celebration for the souls of the war soldiers, is celebrated from the thirteenth to the fifteenth of August every year. Around 5,000 paper lights are hung in the regions and lit during the evening to honor the souls of soldiers.
- Name: Shigaken Gokoku Shrine
- Address: 1-59 Osue-cho, Hikone, Shiga, 522-0001, Japan
- Phone : 81-(0)749-22-0822
- Timings: 9:00 to 16:00
- Entry : Free
9. Ryotan-Ji temple
One of the most famous temple, Ryotanji Temple in Hikone is a Rinsai Sect Zen shrine established in 1617 by Naotaka Ii. It features a beautiful garden of white sand and 48 stones. Ryotanji Temple is situated at the foot of Sawayama Hill. Ryotanji temple is known as an inherent shrine of Ii Family and incorporates a tea house which was used by Ii Family. Beautiful artwork at the doors of the shrine by the craftsman Kyoroku Morikawa can likewise be appreciated here. Ryotanji Temple is additionally well known for its Japanese garden .
- Name: Ryotan-ji temple
- Adress: 1104 Furusawacho, Hikone, Shiga Prefecture 522-0007, Japan
- Timings: 9:00–16:00
- Entry Fees: 400 Yen
- Access: 25 mintue walk from Hikone Station.
10. Boat Trip to Chikubushima Island
Chikubushima Island is a little island on Lake Biwa, which is regarded as a sacred place where god lives. The island is secured by thick woods and individuals can just access the south side of the island, where there are a temple, a shrine and a couple shops and cafe. People work for altar and shops from the mainland as no one lives on the island. You can get to Chikubushima Island by boat either from Nagahama Port or Imazu Port.
Hikone Castle is one of the four most delightful castles in Japan. Hikone is one of the best places to go from Kyoto and explore the rich past of Japan. Lake Biwa additionally makes it a great tourist spot.
Have a good trip and travel!