TOURS
1-Day Tour from Nagoya: Castles and Canals in Hikone and Omi Hachiman

1-Day Tour from Nagoya: Castles and Canals in Hikone and Omi Hachiman

Period

All Year Round

Time

9:00-18:00

Meeting Place

JR Nagoya Station

Price

Adult (13+)28,900 JPY
Child (6 - 12)24,000JPY

1-Day Tour from Nagoya: Castles and Canals in Hikone and Omi Hachiman

Get away from the crowds of the city and embrace the beauty of Central Japan as you journey to Shiga Prefecture. This stunning prefecture is blessed with historic castles, pleasant waterways, lush fields, and Japan’s largest lake. A feast for the eyes and the stomach, this captivating region is also home to the oldest brand of wagyu beef in Japan as well as one of the country’s most unique sweet shops.

This tour will take you to two castle towns, Hikone—with one of the oldest castles in Japan, and Omi Hachiman—known for its charming canals. Taste Matcha, relax in peaceful gardens, and soak in the scenery as you are led by your experienced, English-speaking guide through this picturesque region of Japan.

Highlights

  • View one of Japan’s twelve remaining original castles, Hikone Castle, and tour the inside of the castle keep which has been designated a National Treasure. 
  • Sip Matcha while overlooking a spacious Japanese garden.
  • Taste wagyu beef or any number of other local cuisines at a historic shopping street.
  • Enjoy the views (and the sweets) at a confectionary shop surrounded by nature.
  • Cruise the scenic moats on a boat tour of Omi Hachiman. 

*For those looking to join the tour from Tokyo, please see the FAQ Section below.

Description

This tour will start at Nagoya Station at 9:00 A.M., where your guide will meet you in front of the Silver Clock tower near the Shinkansen Gates. You will have the opportunity to store your belongings on the tour bus if you feel the need. We will then head to the second pick-up point of the tour, Hikone Station, where boarding will begin at 10:15 A.M.

Our first stop of the tour is Hikone Castle—one of the best-preserved castles in Japan and a National Treasure. It is one of only twelve original castles left from the Edo-era. A number of its buildings have been designated Important Cultural Properties.

Your guide will lead you through the castle grounds and into the keep, explaining unique features of the castle along the way.

We’ll then have time for a relaxing stroll through Genkyu-en Garden. The garden,  designed to resemble a palace garden from China, features a central pond with walking trails and offers incredible views of the castle. 

You’ll have the opportunity to taste Matcha tea and a traditional Japanese sweet in a teahouse that was once used to entertain the castle lord’s guests.

Our next stop will be Yume Kyobashi Castle Road, a popular shopping street with black fences and white-washed walls. Here you will have time for lunch and a bit of shopping. The region is famous for premium wagyu, and plenty of shops sell the delicacy prepared as croquettes, skewers, hot pots, and more. Feel free to ask your guide for recommendations, or let your nose lead the way. But don’t forget to leave room for dessert later on in the tour!

After lunch, we will return to our tour bus and begin the drive to Omi Hachiman. Along the way, you will see Japan’s largest lake, Lake Biwa, and a number of other breathtaking views out the bus window. The scenery changes dramatically with each season, making the journey a one-of-a-kind experience.

Our next stop will be La Collina. This confectionary shop is part nature preserve and part theme park. It’s surrounded by nature and serves up a wide variety of popular seasonal confections. 

Originally a bakery, the owners developed a deep appreciation for natural ingredients and thus decided to turn their shop into a nature preserve where they could grow their own ingredients and be in tune with the seasons. The shop has been described as Ghibli-like in appearance and is a great location for photography lovers. Of course, the desserts are not to be missed either.

After the sweet refreshments, we will make our way to the canal district of Omi Hachiman where you can cruise the historic waterways while taking in the picturesque views of the castle town.

Movie lovers may find the sights familiar as this location is often used in historical dramas and films. Of course, your guide will be available to help you take photos that will make your friends and family envious.

Please note, the boat tour may be canceled due to the weather. Additionally, we can not guarantee a seat on the boat tour for guests who book this tour less than one week in advance.

From here, we will return to the tour bus and head back to your meeting point to say our goodbyes there. Guests wishing to end the tour in Omi Hachiman will say goodbye to the group here.

Feel free to ask the guide for dinner recommendations or instructions back to your hotel.

ITINERARY

9:00The tour begins with a meetup at Nagoya Station at 09:00. Guests should wait inside the station, in front of the SILVER clock tower across from the Shinkansen exit gates. Your guide will greet you there.

Guests wishing to store their luggage on our tour bus will be able to do so at this time.
10:15We will make a brief stop at Hikone JR Station to pick up guests who have elected to join the tour in Hikone. Guests should wait outside the station, in front of the Statue of Ii Naomasa (the samurai on the horse) just outside the West exit. Depending on traffic from Nagoya, the tour bus and your guide will likely arrive at the Hikone meeting point between 10:15 and 10:30.
10:30We will tour Hikone Castle grounds before entering the castle keep.
11:30We will stop for a break in the tranquil gardens of Genkyu-en where you will be able to sip matcha tea and enjoy a traditional Japanese sweet.
12:15Your guide will lead the way to Yume Kyobashi Castle Road where you will have some free time to grab lunch or shop for souvenirs.
13:15Back on the tour bus, we will make our way to Omi-Hachiman. But not without first stopping at La Collina for some dessert and views of the stunning architecture.
15:00We will board our boat for a tour of the Omi-Hachiman canal and the historic castle town.
15:40You will have a short amount of time to explore the town on your own or stop for one last serving of soft cream before heading back to the tour bus. Guests wishing to end their tour in Omi Hachiman will say their goodbyes to their guide and the bus driver at this time.
16:50Guests wishing to be dropped off in Hikone will be able to dropped off at Hikone Station at this time.
18:00The tour concludes at Nagoya Station, where the guide will say their goodbyes.

*We cannot guarantee the end time as traffic could cause delays. For guests booking onward tickets to other destinations, we recommend doing so for times of 18:30 or later.

TOUR MEETUP POINT

Option 1: NAGOYA STATION @ 9:00 A.M.

Meet at Nagoya Station's Silver Clock tower at 9am

The meetup point is at the base of the SILVER clock tower outside of the Shinkansen gates. 

If you are arriving via Shinkansen, the clock tower should be located directly in front of you as you exit the gate.

If you are arriving via a JR line, please look for signs directing you towards the Taiko-Dori Gate. The silver clock is located inside the station just before the Taiko-Dori exit.

For those coming from outside the station, you will most likely be entering through the Sakura-Dori gate (the side with the gold clock). In this case, please walk straight through the station towards the Taiko-Dori Gate. The silver clock is located inside the station just before the Taiko-Dori exit.

You may wait nearby there until the tour begins at 9:00 A.M. Be sure to look for the guide holding a SNOW MONKEY RESORTS tour sign. We highly recommend arriving early as Nagoya station can be quite crowded. 

Option 2: HIKONE STATION @ 10:15 A.M.

Meet at the base of the samurai statue outside the West exit of Hikone Station at 10:15

The meetup point is at the base of the Statue of Ii Naomasa (the samurai on a horse with the double-horned helmet) just outside the station’s West exit. If you are unsure which side of the station to exit, follow the signs directing you towards Hikone Castle. The statue is located on the same side of the station as the castle. You may wait nearby there until the tour bus arrives.

Depending on traffic from Nagoya, the tour bus and your guide will likely arrive at the Hikone meeting point between 10:15 and 10:30. Be sure to look for the guide holding a SNOW MONKEY RESORTS tour sign. We highly recommend arriving early as traffic can sometimes be in our favor. 

NOTES

Included

  • English speaking guide
  • Transportation during the tour
  • Entry fee at Hikone Castle
  • Entry fee at Genkyu-en Japanese Garden
  • Matcha Experience
  • Boat tour in Omi Hachiman

Excluded

  • Lunch
  • Accommodation
  • Transportation to/from the meeting points

Other Information

  • The boat tour in Omi Hachiman may be canceled due to the weather. Additionally, we can not guarantee a seat on the boat tour for guests who book this tour less than one week in advance.
  • This tour involves several hours of walking outdoors. We recommend that you wear shoes and clothes which are easy to walk in. Please check the weather forecast before you head to the meetup point and prepare an umbrella or raincoat if necessary.
  • In the summer, temperature highs are around 35 °C (95 °F) and above with extreme humidity. We recommend wearing something light and airy while minding sunburn and heatstroke. A parasol is highly encouraged.
  • Winter temperatures in Central Japan average between 0℃-10℃ (32°F-50°F). Please wear warm clothing and footwear appropriate for cold conditions.
  • There will be free time along the way for guests to purchase souvenirs to remember their trip.

FAQs

I’d like to join the tour from Tokyo. Is that possible?
If you’d like to join us from Tokyo, we’d love to have you with us!

Take the following services on the Tokaido Shinkansen line:

Departing Tokyo Station – Arriving Nagoya Station

Tokyo: 07:00 – Nagoya: 08:38 – Nozomi No. 203

Tokyo: 07:09 – Nagoya: 08:47 – Nozomi No. 9

Rather than heading straight back to Tokyo, we recommend staying in Nagoya after the tour or booking accommodation in Hikone or Omi Hachiman.

For international visitors holding a Japan Rail (JR) Pass, both train services (including reservations) can be used without any additional charge.
Can I add accommodation to my tour booking?
Yes. We can add accommodation in Nagoya, Hikone, Omi Hachiman, or Kyoto. To do so, please contact us any time to discuss options.
What should I wear/bring?
Central Japan’s summers are extremely humid and hot. We recommend wearing something light and airy while minding sunburn and heatstroke. A parasol is highly encouraged. As this tour has extended periods outside, please ensure you bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Guests must take their shoes off upon entering many of the places we visit on this tour, so we recommend wearing shoes that are easy to take on and off or bringing a pair of socks if you plan on wearing sandals.

At all times of year, please ensure you are wearing good quality footwear suitable for walking on uneven ground and we recommend always bringing a small pack or bag to carry water, snacks, umbrella, etc. Of course, your phone or a camera is a must!
Is this tour wheelchair accessible/appropriate for guests with limited mobility?
Some of the historic buildings we will be entering in this tour have stairs, meaning it is not wheelchair accessible and may not be appropriate for guests with limited mobility. Should this be of concern, contact us before booking to discuss options.
Is lunch included on this tour?
No. This tour does not include lunch however there will be opportunities to purchase food and drinks during the tour. If you prefer to, please also feel free to bring snacks and drinks with you.
Can I choose to end the tour in Hikone / Omi Hachiman?
Yes, you may end the tour in Hikone, or Omi Hachiman.

Please contact us before booking to discuss options.

(Travel Agency License No: Nagano 2-562)
Snow Monkey Resorts Tours
Nagano City Kurita 1015-7, NK Copo 202, Nagano, 380-0921 Japan
Tel: (81)26-219-6256
Member of All Nippon Travel Agents Association
Travel Service Supervisor: Tomoko Kasahara