Siege game app for those who want to “attack” Hikone Castle

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HIKONE, Shiga Prefecture – Feudal Era Enthusiasts keen to learn more about Hikone Castle in a fun way can do so by attacking Impregnable Fortress with an informative app.

The National Treasure Hikone Castle Explorer app was produced by the Omi Tourist Board amid growing calls for the castle, a national treasure, to be added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The app contains a siege game where users can attack the castle. Soldiers automatically appear onscreen to thwart any invasion when users brandish their smartphones in any of four locations, from the front door to the main dungeon.

The app also contains videos that explain the castle’s defense system and other features, using CGI to recreate battle scenes. The video clips explain the secrets of the castle which are so easily missed by tourists unless an explanation is offered.

Using an augmented reality (AR) function, users can also take a picture of themselves wearing the “kabuto” helmet of Ii Naomasa, the first feudal lord of the Hikone domain, adorned with an ornament in the shape of a horn.

Developed to attract foreign tourists once the novel coronavirus pandemic is contained, the app is available in Japanese, English and Chinese.

It was supervised by Chris Glenn, 53, an Australian DJ who is a big fan of castles and a tourism ambassador for the Omi region. He also appears in videos to provide commentary.

“It’s designed for non-Japanese who don’t know the history of Japan,” Glenn said. “I hope people can learn more about the castle in a fun way and be proud of it.”

Users do not need to visit Hikone Castle to download the app for free on their smartphones and tablets, but the siege game can only be played on location.

For more information, visit the Omi Tourist Board website at (https://oh-mi.org/).


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