Uncategorized — October 22, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Visit to the Hikone Castle!

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 After a construction period of twenty years, Hikone Castle (Hikonejo) was completed in the year 1622. It served as the seat of the local Ii daimyo (feudal lords) until the end of Japan's feudal age in 1868.

After a construction period of twenty years, Hikone Castle (Hikonejo) was completed in the year 1622. It served as the seat of the local Ii daimyo (feudal lords) until the end of Japan's feudal age in 1868.

Hikone Castle (彦根城, Hikone-jō?) is the most famous historical site in Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, Japan. This Edo period castle traces its origin to 1603 when Ii Naokatsu, son of the former daimyo 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 Naotake 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. Hikone Castle was designated a National Treasure by the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture in 1952.

Hikone Castle is an original castle, i.e. it survived the post feudal era without undergoing destruction and reconstruction. Most of the castle’s inner moats, walls, guard houses and gates also remain intact, giving visitors a good impression of a relatively complete feudal castle.

Hikone Castle’s three storied castle tower was uniquely constructed, using various architecture styles. This is one reason why Hikone Castle has been designated a national treasure, the highest designation for cultural properties, held by only three other Japanese castles, Himejijo, Matsumotojo and Inuyamajo.

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