Hikone castle is the one of five castles in Japan which the TENSHU are listed as the national treasure of Japan. Actually there are more than 100 castles in Japan but the castles listed on the list of the national treasures are only 5, including Hikone castle. Many castles are not listed due to the castle complexes, including the Tenshu are not the original ones.
Hikone castle was the seat of Ii family, feudal lord ruling the Hikone province, current a part of Shiga prefecture. Ii family was the right hand of Tokugawa shogunate since its beginning.
Hikone castle is located in Hikone city, which nearest station Hikone station is on JR Tokaido main line. Unfortunately Shinkansen does not stop at Hikone station but Hikari and Kodama trains of Tokaido shinkansen stop at the next station, Maibara.
If you are traveling from Kyoto to Hikone, take the New Rapid trains bound for Nagahama or Omi-Shiotsu. The journey time is 50 minutes. If you take the Shinkansen to Maibara and change to Tokaido line train to Hikone, it takes 25 minutes from Kyoto and 31 minutes from Nagoya, excluding transfer and waiting time. From Maibara, you can take limited express Shirasagi bound for Kanazawa. Therefore Hikone castle is an ideal place for tourists to stop over on the way to Kanazawa, Kyoto and Nagoya.