While it's not a mountain castle like Bitchu-Takahashi's Matsuyama-jo, Hikone Castle's main keep does sit atop a hill amidst expansive grounds that includes a stroll garden (Genkyuen), a day palace (that's now home to the Hikone Castle Museum) and various other structures, including the only stables still standing in a Japanese castle. Even though it was on the cold (and snowy!) side on the day I visited, I still felt compelled to spend many hours wandering about in the castle grounds and I must say that Hikone-jo's white walls really appear very photogenic amidst a background of equally white snow and bright blue skies...
I don't think I've seen a moat all frozen up before
until the day I went and visited Hikone-jo... :O
The steps that take one from the ticketing office
up the hill to the inner grounds of the castle
Many of the castle buildings are built atop high mounds of stone
This photo gives an idea how thick
the snow was when I visited!
The staircases in this three-storey original castle keep
are on the distinctly steep side...
View of the back of Hikone-jo's main keep from the plum tree orchard
whose trees were mainly bare of leaves and covered more with snow
The snow came pelting down once more
as I bade farewell to Hikone-jo...