Hikone is a small, charming town located on the shores of Lake Biwa, Japan's largest lake. Hikone lies on the Nakasendo, an important trading route during the Tokugawa era. Hikone's biggest attraction is it's castle, one of only 14 remaining original castles in Japan.

Hikone Map

The City of Hikone is in Shiga Prefecture, near the centre of Japan. Hikone lies on the eastern shore of Lake Biwa and, as well as serving as a centre of industry and transportation, also attracts visitors from around Japan and overseas.

Hikone Castle is the city's symbol and its main tourist attraction, standing at the top of a hill in the centre of a double moat. It is one of only four castles in Japan to have been designated a National Treasure, and as such is well worth a visit - although it is much smaller than the likes of Himeji!

Another (more modern) symbol of Hikone is "Hikonyan," the samurai-helmeted, cuddly-faced cat mascot created in 2007 to mark the 400th anniversary of Hikone castle. Many towns and cities in Japan have such mascots, but Hikonyan outpaces all of them (except perhaps Kumamon of Kumamoto) in popularity. In fact, affection for Hikonyan is credited with having increased tourism to Hikone by over 200,000 visitors annually, creating an overall increase in the local economy equivalent to 33.8 billion yen. Not bad for a cartoon cat!

There are also several temples and shrines within Hikone's boundaries that add to its rich culture, and in the 'Old New Town' where you can find a good variety of Japanese restaurants and shops to keep you busy in an area designed to evoke the atmosphere of the Edo period.

Set against the backdrop of Lake Biwa and surrounding woodland and mountains, Hikone is an excellent place to discover the atmosphere of a small Japanese castle town.

Weather in Hikone

The Climate Guide for Hikone, Japan is perfect for planning your holiday. Monthly weather averages give the best indication of what the weather is usually like for every month of the year including figures for temperature, rainfall and sunshine.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Max Daytime Temperature (°C) 6 6 10 17 21 25 29 30 26 20 15 9
Min Night-time Temperature (°C) -1 -1 1 6 11 16 21 22 18 11 6 1
Hours of Sunshine (Daily) 3 4 5 6 6 5 5 6 5 5 4 4
Hours of Daylight (Daily) 10 11 12 13 14 14 14 13 12 11 10 10
Heat and Humidity Discomfort None None None None None None Moderate High Low None None None
Days with some Rainfall 23 22 21 17 15 18 19 17 18 16 17 21
Monthly Rainfall (mm) 96 96 127 140 147 221 242 135 219 116 86 73
UV Index (Maximum) 3 4 6 8 9 10 11 10 8 6 3 2