Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hikone Castle

Hikone Castle is among the 100 Best Sightseeing Places in Japan and one of the four Japanese castles listed as national treasure. The castle was constructed on Mount Hikone between 1603 and 1622. It took almost 20 years to build it. The height is 50 m, and the circumference is 4 km. It was designated as National Treasure in 1952, and it became a Special Place of Historical Interest in 1956.

Style: Hirayama-jiro (plateau style)

Though small, of only three storeys, the structure demonstrates the superior design required during periods of war. There are different roof styles, kirizuma-hafu, irimoya-hafu, kara-hafu, and elaborate windows – katomado.




ようこそ hikone  へ = welcome to Hikone, a message at the train station nearby:




Hikonyan is the cat-samurai mascot of the castle:




A miniature maquette of Hikone Castle just outside the train station, on the way towards the castle:








The unusual Nobori Ishigaki – uphill stone walls – were built in five places nationwide, and Hikone Castle is one such place.










Otokkuri ichigo is a unique kind of raspberry found only here, near Hikone Castle:




Amazing, there are 100 selected soundscapes of Japan - landscapes with special sounds of insects, mountain streams, bells and festivals that are preserved for the future - and Hikone Castle is one of them for its bell showing the time every three hours, the chorus of crickets in the garden nearby (called Genkyu-en), and the cicada songs on summer evenings.






 


Hikonyan was created in 2007, for the celebration of 400 years of Hikone Castle. Hikonyan visits the castle four times a week, so it was nice to watch its appearance unexpectedly.






A throng of people gathered to watch Hikonyan and take its photo.








The main castle tower is called Tenshu.






Inside the castle:


















This triangular window called teppouzama was meant for shooting the enemy approaching the castle.
















The beauty of Hikone-jo in the moonlight is well-known as one of the eight scenic beauties of Lake Biwa.
The ending -jo means castle. And 城 shiro is castle.




The moat around the castle (and I think moat is 堀 hori) - so beautiful, and only one duck floating there:



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