Ask The Local Experts
With a population of 23,000, Hino in Shiga Prefecture is a town of rich natural surroundings and warm, friendly people. It is known as the producer of its namesake hinona, a long and slender turnip and one of the traditional vegetables of Kyoto, and also as the birthplace of Gamo Ujisato, a daimyo during the age of warring provinces.
Hino has a long history. The earth here was first tilled some 2,000 years ago. The town also produced a number of Omi Shonin, or Omi merchants, businessmen who created wealth through commerce during the Edo period (1600-1867). The Omi merchants ran their businesses in the spirit of sanpo-yoshi, which meant, “good for the buyer, good for the seller, and good for society,” always remembering to share their wealth with the towns where they operated.
Taking a hint from sanpo-yoshi, the Omi-Hino Council for the Promotion of Rural Life Experiences offers heartwarming and uplifting exchange with Hino residents in natural settings. Based on the motto, “Renewed confidence and pride to the host (the seller)! Life to the community (society)! Memorable experiences to those who visit (the buyer)!” its program offers tourists a glimpse into the heart of rural Japan.
Of the many things to do in the Omi-Hino Rural Life Experiences program, the activity we recommend most is a farmstay. There are 150 families that take in homestay guests, generally in small groups of no more than four. Experiencing life on a family farm in Hino—sharing one’s thoughts and feelings while cooking, eating, and doing other activities together—provides a wonderful chance to meet people, encounter a Japanese community on a more intimate level, and also learn how people are connected to each other and to the natural environment, and that no person is an island to oneself.
By selecting the “family business experience package,” guests can get their hands dirty doing any one of a range of day-to-day activities in the home, outdoors, or in the workshop. Previous guests have said that spending time with host family members in this way helped deepen their mutual communication. Activities change according to the season and weather, but rice planting and harvesting are on the list of activities that are possible.
Other activities include agricultural work such as tending to crops of Omi-Hino rice and hinona, thinning trees and other forestry work, food and domestic cultural activities, and tasks related to the conservation of terraced rice paddies.
On your trip on Omi-Hino Rurul Life Experience program, residents of Omi-Hino will tell you their reason—and the pride they feel—for living in Hino. You will find it a place where both host and visitor acknowledge each other and the people around them, where you can appreciate the purpose and value of living, and gain inspiration for tomorrow. Come enrich yourself and uplift your spirit. We’re waiting for your visit!
Please talk to a travel agent in Japan to book a reservation.
Spots around Town
・ Hino Machikado Kanno Kan
Long ago, Kanno Kan was a store owned by the developer of a successful combination drug, Kanno-gan, which became one of the core products offered by Hino merchants in their traveling sales business. Today, the building displays old pharmaceutical implements, houses a small tea shop, and provides tourist information.
Hino Festival (May 2-3)
The largest festival in Hino and the spring event of Umamiokawatamuki Shrine, Hino Festival has a history spanning over 800 years.
Over a dozen floats and three portable shrines gather on the shrine grounds and then parade through the streets of Hino, enlivening the town for an entire day.