Date: 25th November 2017
Continuing from my visit to Hikone Castle, I headed to Genkyuen Garden (玄宮園), built in 1677 by Ii Naooki to entertain his guest and family.
The garden features a central pond with a circular walking trail, designed to resemble a palace garden from Tang China. The weather was almost perfect for a stroll in this beautiful garden.
The landscape garden is spacious, having four small islands across the pond, all of which are connected by bridges.
You can see Hikone’s castle tenshu from the garden, a borrowed scenery for the garden.
Genkyuen is a replica of the Eight Views of Omi (Omi Hakke), which is inspired by the Eight Views of Xiaoxiang in China.
A tea house, Hoshodai which was used to entertain the guests in the castle in the past is now accessible to the public, serving tea @ 500 yen.
Rakurakuen Palace, the former residence palace of the Ii family stands beside the garden and is currently being renovated, scheduled to be completed by 2025.
A special event, “Meet to Hear the Sound of Insects in Genkyuen”, to hear the sounds of insects chirping is held in the garden in September.
Additionally, Genkyuen is illuminated in autumn, from mid to late November. Check out this post for the beautiful pictures of the illuminated garden.
Nearby in Konki Park there is a bronze statue of Ii Naosuke, who was assassinated outside Edo castle in what is called the Sakuradamon incident for signing the Harris Treaty which allowed access to ports to Americans.
If you are visiting Hikone Castle, be sure to stop by the garden as well, you will be amazed by how beautiful the garden is!
Opening hours: 08:30 – 17:00
Admission fees: 200 yen (garden only), 600 yen (garden and castle), 1000 yen (garden, castle and castle museum)
Autumn Night Illumination: Mid to late November, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Admission fee: 700 yen
Genkyuen is located right beside Hikone castle which is a 15-20 minutes walk from Hikone Station, my recommendation is to go through the Yume Kyobashi Castle Road, giving you a feel of Hikone’s old town. Stop by one of the shops for souvenirs, snacks, lunch or tea.
To Hikone Station:
From Kyoto: 50 minutes on the local line (1,140 yen), if you take the bullet train from Kyoto to Maibara then transfer to the local line for Hikone, it could save you 15 minutes, but would cost 3,580 yen.
From Nagoya: Take the bullet train from Nagoya to Maibara, then transfer to JR Haruka / Biwako line to Hikone. The total trip will take 37 to 45 minutes depending on whether you take the Kodama / Hikari shinkansen and Haruka / Biwako lines, and will cost 3,220 to 3,450 yen. A cheaper option (1,490 yen) will take at least 1 hour and 20 minutes, via the JR Tokaido and Biwako lines, with transfers at Ogaki and Maibara stations.
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