Hikone Castle, a national treasure was completed in 1607, just after that decisive battle at SEKIGAHARA (関ケ原合戦), when many building materials were transported from Otsu castle where the early skirmish was fought. It is said that the castle has not only a perfect beauty of the external appearance but also deep ingenuity on the military matters.
There are 4 valuable Yaguras, all of which are important cultural properties. (Yagura refers to a turret, built in the castle, as a guard tower or a watchtower.) A stable in a castle is very rare, and has remained only in this castle. Twenty-one horses used to be kept here for the domain’s head and chief retainers under that neat shake roof.
The gorgeous cherry blossoms at Hikone Castle is chosen as one of the top 100 sites in Japan. Guests can meet the cutest mascot Hikonyan at the Castle.
Genkyu-en (玄宮園）is an attached circuit style garden to the castle, built in 1677. The path is skillfully laid for leading guests to 4 teahouses, which reminds us that the garden used to be a social arena those days for Daimyos.
Guests can visit and take a walk along “Yumekyobashi Castle Road”, after enjoying Hikone castle. It is said dividing and distributing the town started from this area when the castle began to be built. The street is unified like merchant houses in Edo Period with white board and black grating, so that guests can feel as if they were walking in the castle town in those days. There are many Japanese-style and western restaurants and confection stores, and locally produced goods as well.
Hikonyan, the CUTEST Mascot of Hikone Castle
Old Nagahama area used to be under the Azai’s up to 1573, when Nobunaga beat Nagamasa at the War of Ane River. Hideyoshi, who contributed a lot during the war too, was given the KOHOKU area, and built his own castle here in 1576. The castle was built just in front of Lake Biwa, so a part of the stone-walls were founded from the shore so boats were able to go in and out from the water gate in the castle.
For the hero of the Provincial war era, it was the first castle built by his own power. Though Hideyoshi had been almost away from home, going into battles even to the Korean Peninsula, he was said to have been able to acquire management skills for people from his first domain. (Hideyoshi became Kanpaku, a chief advisor to the Emperor in 1585, building Osaka-jyo castle.)
After Hideyoshi, several warlords had lived in the castle, but it was abolished at last in 1615.
Nagahama Castle of today was reconstructed at Ho-koen Park (豊公園) in 1983, and has been managed as “Nagahama Castle Hisorical Museum” and also become the symbol of the main city of KOHOKU.
The elegant cherry blossoms in the Park is chosen as one of the top 100 sites in Japan, too.
After Nagahama castle, guests can enjoy walking excursion in central Nagahama, such as Kurokabe and Hikiyama Museum.
At Ho-koen Park
- 18,000 JPY
- 1 ~ 5people
Meeting PointJR Hikone Station
- Hikone Castle
- "Yumekyobashi Castle Road"
- JR Nagahama Station
- Ho-koen Park
- Nagahama Castle (& "Nagahama Castle Hisorical Museum")
- Old Nagahama Railroad Station
- Keiun-kan Guest House
- Hikiyama Museum
Ending PointJR Nagahama Station
What to Expect
1. Sophisticated and Artistic Appearance and Military Ingenuity of the Castle Designated as a National Treasure
2. Four Valuable Yaguras, All of Which are Important Cultural Properties
3. To Meet with the Cutest Mascot, Hikonyan
4. To Walk along “Yumekyobashi Castle Road” and Enjoy Shopping
1. To Walk around Ho-koen Park, Remembering the Days when the Basis of the Castle Town was Founded
2. To Learn More about Nagahama, Visiting to “Nagahama Castle Hisorical Museum”
3. To Actually See and Experience the Deep Culture that the Town People have Created so far
Inclusions & Exclusions
1) Admission / Entrance Fee (For Tourists): Approximately 2,000 (Two Thousand) JPY Each at a Maximum for One Day.
2) Transportation (For Tourists): Less than 800 (Eight Hundred) JPY Each at a Maximum for One Day.
3) Lunch and/or Dinner (For Tourists): Less than 1,500 (One Thousand and Five Hundred) JPY Each at a Maximum.
4) Any Unexpected Cost (For Tourists): Less than 1,000 (One Thousand) JPY Each at a Maximum.
1) The tour consists of 7 hours walking excursion, basically starting from 9:30 AM to 16:30 (4:30 PM), including 1 hour lunch.
2) Meeting & “Good-bye” Place:
9:30 AM at JR Hikone Station (Tour start)
4:30 PM at JR Nagahama Station (Tour end)
3) Lunch: A Set Menu of Local Foods from 12:00 AM to 1:00 PM
4) Peak Season: The destination spots may slightly change due to seasonal situation, after getting an approval from the guests
5) Longer or shorter Excursion time and other specific regions are available, on your request.
1) Free cancellation – 10 days prior to meeting time
2) 50% Refund – 9 to 3 days prior to meeting time
3) No Refund – Within 2 day(s) prior to meeting time
Yoshi was very informative, knowledgeable, time conscious, kind, humble, and considerate. We asked a lot of questions because we truly wanted to understand the Japanese culture, and he -answered them with honesty. We are 69 years old and he often asked us: can you walk 15 minutes to a certain location or can you walk up the stairs? He seemed to be very sensitive about our health mobility. Although he is about our age, he has great wisdom and much more energy than we did. We would highly recommend him.
Dear Linda san, and Mike san I was so happy to be able to share the time with you on the 18th. Thank you for your lavish words to this amateurish tour guide. I was glad to know that both of you were listening in earnest, when I explained about the histories and the related episodes, with what little knowledge I have. I already sent my "Homeworks" to your e-mail address, and will send all the photos in a week, as I promised. Again, I was really lucky to get acquainted with the nice couple from Louisiana. From Yoshi
Hello, Yoshi. Reached home safely.
Thank you for the lovely photographs. I was able to download them. You may want to use some of the photographs, if you wish to. Thanks again for your help. Subramanium
Re: Tour Guide around Kyoto and Nara for the 5 Wonderful Families from US - KOHOKU Tour
"Massively Wonderful Research Tour around KOHOKU" with Yoshi, a Licensed Tour Guide
The "research tour" conducted by your guide was perfectly fruitful.
Since I have had an interest in Lake Yogo and its surrounding hamlets, I've been eager to make the on-the-spot research there. That's why I asked your help, since you were born and grown at a small village of Kawanami (the north-west of Lake Yogo) and have abundant knowledge about KOHOKU.
My "research tour" was 2days. On the 1st day, you kindly showed me every spot in your home-village of Kawanami and around the Lake, spending no less than 5 hours. I thought afresh Kawanami was wonderful, walking round the fantastic hamlet and seeing its beautiful landscape. And I felt happy enough to be able to have a good chance to exchange greetings with many village people there. And I was lucky to hear very interesting stories as well about their lives and scenes of olden days from a nice old man who has lived there all his life. On the 2nd day, you guided me around the nearby town of Kinomoto, which used to be a post-station town with a long history, didn't you? You brought me to that historically famous old battlefield, Shizugatake, the amazing view from which I'll never forget. And when we walked around the area along the Niu river, I was impressed a lot, imagining about the days of old hamlets that have already disappeared from a map, due to a dam construction schedule. All the spots that you guided were so colorful and informative. Thank you, Yoshi.
And you've been very kind to take actively a proper care of incorporating additional spots that I wanted to visit, even after the initial itinerary. If I had no help of your guide and did it myself, I definitely couldn't visit such wonderful places. I was fully satisfied with your nice guiding around KOHOKU. Thank you, again, Yoshi!
Haruka san, the "Research Tour" with you around KOHOKU was so pleasant and a good lesson for me, too. I was honored to be with a hard-working student like you. Thank you, From YoshiOct., 28 (Fri.), 2022
Yoshi is an excellent guide! He is a hard-working and wonderful ambassador for his country. Yoshi takes his work seriously and is scrupulously prepared. His care for his clients really shows. He went above and beyond for us. Yoshi is very well-informed about so much, including Japanese history, current Japanese affairs, and the flowers and trees of Japan. He is interesting, energetic, kind, and hospitable. Our only wish was that we had more time with Yoshi! We are grateful we met him.
Dear Julie san and Ron san. Thank you very much for your nice feedback. As our mission as a tour guide is, of course, to insure our customers' satisfaction, I've believed (as a former Quality Engineer) that we have to do our maximum effort, sacrificing our short lunch and rest time. I'm so glad to know that you kindly felt a touch of it. Again, I was extremely happy to be able to have an opportunity to go around the best spots with you and Ron san yesterday. Thank you, PS: I will try not to be a "Crybaby" any more. From Yoshi Apr., 19 (Fri.), 2019; 22:23
Yoshi was very knowledgeable on all the places he took us for the two days we were in Osaka. He picked us up at our hotel. Planned the day according to what we wanted to see and the activities we were interested in. I have a bad knee and stairs were a problem, he made a lot of effort to accommodate this. For this I am very impressed. He definitely went over and beyond. Our family had a great time and will be beyond. Thank you Yoshi San! -- Sheila Cemer Houston Texas
Sheila san and your handsome family members: Thank you very much for your lavish word to this amateurish tour guide. I have to appreciate you, giving me the opportunity to go around here and there in the merchants' city under brisk winter sky. I'll never forget the fantastic memory with you and your family. PS: Have you successfully been able to open all the pictures that I took for your family?