The area of today’s Hikone City was inhabited ever since ancient times (Jomon Period, 8000 years ago) and it was famous because it was producing the rice for the Imperial House. The first castle built here was destroyed in 1600, during the Battle of Sekigahara, when the lord of Hikone was defeated.
As a reward for its services, Hikone was given to Ii Naomasa, one of the Tokugawa-shitennō, the four famous samurai generals who fought on behalf of Tokugawa Ieyasu. One of his sons, Ii Naokatsu, started in 1603 the construction of a new castle, but died because of a war wound, so the castle was finished by his brother, Ii Naotaka, in 1622.
The castle survived until today, being one of the oldest original construction castles in Japan and one of the only four Japanese castles designated as National Treasures:
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: