English Français

Hikone-Jo (castle)

Date of Submission: 01/10/1992
Criteria: (i)(ii)(iii)(iv)
Category: Cultural
Submitted by:
Agency for Cultural Affairs - Government of Japan
State, Province or Region:
Hikone-Shi, Shiga Prefecture
Coordinates: N35 16 E136 15
Ref.: 374
Export
Word File Word File
Disclaimer

The Tentative Lists of States Parties are published by the World Heritage Centre at its website and/or in working documents in order to ensure transparency, access to information and to facilitate harmonization of Tentative Lists at regional and thematic levels.

The sole responsibility for the content of each Tentative List lies with the State Party concerned. The publication of the Tentative Lists does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the World Heritage Committee or of the World Heritage Centre or of the Secretariat of UNESCO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its boundaries.

Property names are listed in the language in which they have been submitted by the State Party

Description

Castle architecture of Japan was established in the mid-sixteenth century. Hikonejo belongs to the golden age of castle architecture of the early seventeenth century. It has retained well the entire form of the castle, including its defensive sections and the lord's residential area.

Hikonejo consists of an inner block with a hill facing Lake Biwa in its center and surrounded by a moat and an outer block vvhich surrounds this inner block. The defensive sections and the lord's residence are built within the inner block, making good use of the natural land formation of the hill. Houses of upper-class samurai-are found in the outer block. A moat also surrounds this outer block. Beyond this moat is the joka-machi consisting of a residential district for ordinary people and a commercial district. A third moat surrounds this area.

Castle structures like the castle tower, yagura and gates, as well as Raku-raku-en and Genkyu-en (both gardens in the residential section) remain in the inner and outer blocks, and the two moats as well as the stone block walls (ishigaki) and the castle walls are well conserved. Although the outermost block, the joka-machi, has been changed into a modern urban district, the layout of the streets retain the framework of the old joka-machi.

Conservation measures have been taken today for the inner and outer blocks and parts of the area outside these blocks. Parts of the residential sites have been restored according to old maps, pictures and the results obtained through excavation studies, and these sites are now being used as museums.