|Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, Japan|
Hikone Castle Keep
|Controlled by||Ii clan (1622–1874)|
|Condition||Largely intact. Lord's Inner Palace rebuilt in 1987.|
|Built by||Ii Naokatsu|
|Materials||Wood, stone, plaster, tile|
Hikone Castle (彦根城, Hikone-jō) is a Japanese Edo-period castle in the city of Hikone, in Shiga Prefecture. It is considered the most significant historical building in Shiga. Hikone is one of only 12 Japanese castles with the original keep, and one of only five castles listed as a national treasure.
The current site of the castle was previously occupied by a Buddhist temple called Hogon-ji. Hogon-ji was claimed to have been built back in 1080. The temple was a popular pilgrimage site for the worship of Kannon.
Hikone Castle traces its origin to 1603 when Ii Naokatsu, son of the former daimyō Ii Naomasa, ordered its construction. The keep was originally built in 1575, as part of Ōtsu Castle, and was moved to Hikone by the Ii clan. Other parts of the castle were moved from Nagahama Castle. Hikone Castle was completed in 1622. Naokatsu's lands had been taken from him in the interval by the Tokugawa shogunate, and when his brother Naotaka assumed control of the area around Ōmi Province, he was able to complete the castle by collecting stones from the former Sawayama Castle.
When the Meiji era began in 1868, many castles were scheduled to be dismantled, and only a request from the emperor himself, touring the area, kept Hikone Castle intact. Today it remains one of the oldest original-construction castles in Japan. The main keep of Hikone Castle was designated a National Treasure by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture in 1952. Hikone Castle also has several parts which are designated Important National Cultural Assets: Umaya (Stable), Tenbin Yagura (Balance Scale Turret), Taikomon Yagura (Drum Gate Turret) and Nishinomaru Sanju Yagura (West Bailey Three-story Turret).
Hikone Castle moat in spring 2018
- List of Special Places of Scenic Beauty, Special Historic Sites and Special Natural Monuments
- List of National Treasures of Japan (castles)
- List of National Treasures of Japan (paintings)
- Hikonyan, mascot of Hikone Castle, based on the Maneki Neko folktale about Ii Naotaka.
- Schellinger, Paul; Salkin, Robert, eds. (1996). International Dictionary of Historic Places, Volume 5: Asia and Oceania. Chicago: Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers. p. 338. ISBN 1-884964-04-4.
- Nagahama Castle Archived 2016-12-29 at the Wayback Machine
- Hikone Castle
- Benesch, Oleg and Ran Zwigenberg (2019). Japan's Castles: Citadels of Modernity in War and Peace. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 374. ISBN 9781108481946.
Media related to Hikone Castle at Wikimedia Commons