The Secretariat of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the World Heritage Centre do not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any advice, opinion, statement or other information or documentation provided by the States Parties to the World Heritage Convention to the Secretariat of UNESCO or to the World Heritage Centre.
The publication of any such advice, opinion, statement or other information documentation on the World Heritage Centre’s website and/or on working documents also does not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of UNESCO or of the World Heritage Centre 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
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.