Hikone Castle, located in Shiga Prefecture, is considered by many as the most significant building in the prefecture. It was built over 400 years ago–410 to be exact–to house the great "daimyo" (feudal lord) Ii Naotaka. It’s special in that it’s an original castle, meaning it has survived the past four decades without major destruction that required reconstruction.
Let’s be honest, though – Shiga Prefecture is not one of Japan’s most popular tourist spots, even among Japanese people. Despite its close proximity to Kyoto, its main attractions can be counted on one hand: Hikone Castle and Lake Biwa. Oh, and there’s Hikone Castle’s mascot, better known as Hikonyan.
Hikonyan was born on Hikone Castle’s 400th anniversary in 2007, meaning he’s 10 years old this year.
That’s why the Hikone Sightseeing Association had to get creative when advertising Hikone Castle’s 410th anniversary. After all, they have to attract more than just history buffs in order to make some extra bucks. They enlisted the help of Japanese rapper Chinza Dopeness, producer HIFANA, vocalist Keyco, and art director MAHARO to create this mind-blowing advertisement (see video below).
This advertisement, directed by Kota Iguchi (TYMOTE/CEKAI), is based on the Japanese aesthetic concept of wa (“harmony”). Japanese mythical creatures such as kappa make their appearance. Of course, Hikonyan plays a part in the story as well.
Hikone Castle’s 410th anniversary festivities will be held between March 18 and December 10. As of now, they have a couple of special historical and theatrical exhibitions planned to be held at the Hikone Castle Museum (located on the castle grounds).
There will also be a special NHK drama that starts airing on March 18, plus more movie, commercial, and product tie-ups are expected to follow. It’s an exciting time to be in Shiga. It’s no wonder Hikone Castle was ranked ninth among Japan’s 20 most popular castles of 2016.
Hikone Castle Information Hikone Castle / 彦根城 Address: Shiga-ken, Hikone-shi, Konkichō 1-1 滋賀県彦根市金亀町1-1 Open 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Admission fee: 1,000 yen for adults, 300 yen for elementary school students and under Website
Sources: Hikone 410th, PR TIMES
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