Historic Spot of Ii Naosuke


Between the ages of 17 and 32, Naosuke spent most of his time in the home known as Umoregi-no-ya. It was here that he devoted his energy to studying Zen Buddhism, military science, poetry and the literary classics, ceramic arts, flower arrangement, political science, and foreign relations… among other things.

Keyaki Palace (Rakurakuen)

Naosuke was born on October 29, 1815 as the 14th son to Ii Naonaka, 11th Lord of Hikone Castle. It was here that Naosuke was raised until the age of 17. Three years prior to Naosuke’s birth, Lord Naonaka had gone into retirement at Keyaki Palace and was succeeded by his second son, Naoaki. A connoisseur of the Noh Theater, Naonaka built his own Noh stage and invited famous Noh performers to perform there. As a result, Naosuke became familiar with the art as well.

Ohama Palace (The Daimyo Villa)

Built by the 11th Lord, Naonaka, Ohama Palace is the Lakeside Villa built in about 1810 along the shore of Lake Biwa. It stands apart from any other structure within the castle grounds with its superior location as well as its elegance. Naosuke had four tea rooms constructed during his time there. While they no longer exist, some of the foundation stones still remain.

The Bronze Statue of Naosuke

Adjacent to Genkyuen Garden, within the Konki Children’s Park, is the Bronze Statue of Naosuke. This statue depicts Naosuke standing out in his formal dress, carrying the court rank of 4th Lieutenant General, which was bestowed upon him by the Emperor. One can only assume from this that Naosuke was a true servant to the Emperor, trusted to take the reins of the country. For those interested in the restoration of Naosuke’s dignity…this depiction appropriately illustrates how it was never Naosuke’s intent to disregard the Emperor’s wishes during the disputed signing of the treaty which ultimately “opened Japan”.

Tenneiji Temple Memorial Tower

The blood soaked soil and the clothes that Naosuke wore upon his death at the Sakuradamon Incident were brought back to Hikone and buried on the grounds of Tenneiji Temple. Next to the tower is the grave of Naosuke’s trusted retainer, Nagano Shuzen. Behind the tower lies the stone marker for Murayama Taka.

Ryōtan-ji Temple

In the garden at Ryōtan-ji Temple is a tea ceremony room, "Hyōhyō An", allegedly made from the entry gate of the nearby Sawayama Castle. While living at the Umoregi-no-ya, it is said that Naosuke frequently performed the tea ceremony here. This is the only tea room affiliated with Naosuke that is still in existence outside of the castle grounds,.

Yoshitoki Jizō

Under orders from the domain, on September 20, 1862, Naosuke’s most trusted confidant, Nagano Shuzen was executed (for his role in the Ansei Purge) by decapitation before the jailhouse at Shiro Machi. His remains were laid to rest in the garden in front of the jail. A follower of Shuzen, Nakamura Chouhei placed a stone Jizo statue at the location.

Konki Hall

Konki Hall is the last remaining lecture hall of the Kodokan (domain school). It was dismantled and reconstructed at its present location in 1924. Naosuke himself studied at the Kodokan… and in turn, initiated changes at the school as part of an overall reform of the domain just one year after becoming the 13th Lord of Hikone.

The Kotō Ware Kiln Ruins

The Kiln at Hikone produced fine pottery between the latter part of the Edo Period until about the middle of the Meiji Period, spanning across the golden age of Ii Naosuke. Naosuke himself initiated a new system of management with a number of reforms. He sought out the best materials and fuel sources, in addition to recruiting the most excellent of artisans from various locations… with a focus on the discovery of new talent.