News & Events
- Shiga Regional Cuisine
- If you're visiting Shiga, don't miss out on the regional delicacies on offer!
Funazushi is a type of preserved food with more than 1000 years of history in Shiga. It has even been registered by the Prefecture as an Intangible Folk Culture Asset. Salted crucian carp is mixed with rice and slowly pickled, allowing it to ferment, which creates a unique fragrance akin to fermented beans or cheese.
Winter time in Shiga brings ducks to Lake Biwa, providing a chance to sample duck hotpot containing tofu, onions and other vegetables. Ducks have plenty of fat in order to make it through the cold winter, and these dishes are characterized by the firm texture and fatty sweetness of the meat.
Shiga is blessed with a rich natural environment and plentiful water, and the Japanese Black cattle that have been reared here the longest are known as Omi Beef. Characterized by their high ratio of marbling, the meat has a mellow fragrance and soft tenderness, so delicious as to just melt in your mouth.
Restaurants information: http://en.biwako-visitors.jp/spot/eat
- Three Great Buddha of Koka
- Daichiji Temple is known for its formosa gardens, Rakuyaji Temple is known for the largest seated Eleven-Faced Kannon statue in Japan, and Jurakuji Temple is known for its standing statue of Maya, the mother of Buddha. These three temples have now come together to name their "joroku Buddha" statues (indicating their size) as the "Three Great Buddha of Koka," seeking to bring exposure to these pieces that have generally gone overlooked until now and with the ultimate goal of creating a stable holy region in Koka. Upon viewing all three of them, you can pray for tranquility in the three worlds of the past, present, and future. The Buddha statues in each temple are all designated national and city cultural assets, and having three so close together is rare for anywhere else in modern Japan. How about experiencing this new side to the appeal of Koka city?
10 min. by taxi from JR Mikumo Station
10 min. by taxi from JR Aburahi Station
20 min. by taxi from JR Koka Station
- Tsuchiyama Saio Princess Procession
- In the Heian Period (794 - 1185), the Saio (Princess) travelled from Heian-kyo (modern Kyoto) to Ise in order to become a priestess at the shrine there.
The Saio made this long journey seated in a palanquin called an "Oyoyo" and accompanied by a couple of hundred retainers, making it more than worthy of the name "procession."
This epic journey is now recreated by the "Tsuchiyama Saio Princess Procession."
It includes a traditional ceremony performed by the Princess and a dance by her female retainers, and takes place between Ono Elementary School and the remains of Tarumisaiotongu.
[Date] March 19 , 2017 11:30 - 16:00
[Location Held] Tsuchiyama Town, between Ono Elementary School and the remains of Tarumisaiotongu
[Access] 25 min. by bus from JR Kibukawa Station, 3 min. on foot after alighting at "Ono Higashiguchi"
- “Feel the ZEN SPIRIT” Ascetic Training
- Teachings of Zen, the starting point of Japanese culture. Learn about the spirit of Zen Buddhism, practice Zen meditation, transcription of sutras, and other Zen practices at the pilgrims’ lodgings in Enryaku-ji Temple, a World Heritage Site on Mt. Hiei. Try the healthy shojin (vegetarian) meals that are an integral part of Zen.
1person ：¥1,000 (before tax)
Reservation Only (A reservation cannot be made for the same day.)
Approx. 1Hour *Preliminary explanation takes around 20 minutes, and the actual experience lasts about 40 minutes.
1person ：¥1,000（before tax）
Approx. 90min. Transcribe the Hannya Sutra.
¥1,650～¥3,300 *Reservations should be made at least three days in advance.
*An additional Enryaku-ji Temple Pilgrimage fee is required.
Inquiry ： Enryaku-ji Kaikan Hall, within Enryaku-ji Temple
（4220 Sakamoto Honmachi, Otsu City） 9:00～17:00 TEL:077-578-0047 URL:http://syukubo.jp
【Access】JR Kosei Line to [Hieizan Sakamoto Station], or Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line to [Sakamoto Station].
Then take the Kojak Bus displaying [Sakamoto Cable-iki] to the bus stop [Cable Sakamoto-eki]. From there, take the cable car to the cable car stop [Enryakuji-eki], and walk about 10 minutes to the temple.
- Ikehara Soba Dojo Soba Making Experience
- "The Ikehara Soba Dojo is located in a village at the foot of the mountains, overflowing with nature along with beautiful water from Lake Yogo.
All of the instructors and staff for the soba making experience are local men and women aged 60 or more, and the proceedings have a very at-home and relaxed atmosphere.
Experience making soba noodles while enjoying warm interaction with the locals, all amid the rich natural scenery of the Kohoku region. This is a valuable opportunity to come into contact with authentic Japanese culture.
Furthermore, the experience takes place in a home built more than 100 years ago, letting you take a trip back in time.
It goes without saying that you can also eat your delicious, freshly cut buckwheat soba right there on the spot. (Requires a separate charge of \500)"
■Soba Making Experience■
Weekdays 10:00 - 16:00 (Reservation required at least 3 days in advance)
Saturday, Sunday, Holidays 10:00 - 15:00 (reservation required)
- Yoshibuki Gallery Yuraku Japanese Tea Brewing Classroom
- Yoshibuki Gallery Yuraku, located in a 250-year-old house, also holds a regular "Japanese Tea Brewing Classroom." Led by a Japanese tea instructor, the intent is to allow tourists who love Japan to experience more of traditional Japanese culture for themselves.
The classroom has proven popular not only with those visiting from overseas but also Japanese people, and brings satisfaction to both those visiting Japan for the first time and those have been here many times.
After the class you will be given an original tea cup made by the ceramics studio in which the class is held, along with some carefully selected Japanese tea leaves, allowing you to relive this wonderful experience and also drink some healthy Japanese tea even after returning home.
Take this opportunity to experience Japanese culture for yourself.
■Charges： Starting from 48,000yen (Including souvenirs such as original tea cup, tea leaves etc.)
■Required Time： 1 hour 30 minutes
■Other Details： Classroom times: 13:00 - 14:30 (separate from Gallery opening times)
- Taga Taisha Shrine Okinahajimeshiki
- "The ""Okinahajime"" is held on January 3 each year at Taga Taisha Shrine. It marks the first time in the new year that Noh is performed on the shrine's stage, with Noh and Kyogen performances wishing for peace and a good harvest.
The music danced to is called ""Okina,"" and this has led to the ceremony being called ""Okinahajime"" or ""first Okina"" at Taga Taisha Shrine since ancient times.
Dedicatory performances are made by the Shigeyama Group in the Okura style of Kyogen, and the Katayama Group in the Kanze style of Noh, with masks used from the Taga Taisha Shrine collection.
On the day, a variety of other performances are also dedicated from the Noh stages in the grounds."
Date： January 3, from 11:00
Address： 604 Taga, Taga Town, Inukami District, Shiga
Access： 10 min. on foot from Ohmi Railway Taga Taisha Mae Station
- National Treasures and Cultural Assets of Shiga - Koto Area -
- Shiga Prefecture boasts a trove of cultural assets. So much so, in fact, that the region ranks third in Japan for the number of buildings designated as National Treasures or Important Cultural Assets. Here's an introduction to a castle and two temples in the Koto region.
Work started on Hikone-jo Castle in 1604, and took around 20 years to complete. The castle tower itself used materials brought from the five storey Otsu-jo Castle, and is said to have been completed in 1607. The tower is a designated National Treasure, with a combination of different roofing styles that is truly breathtaking.
One of Shiga Prefecture's representative examples of Kamakura period (1192 to 1333) construction, the main temple is designated as the first National Treasure. Constructed in a stunningly beautiful, highly Japanese style, it features a low gradient cypress bark roof and highly decorative curved wooden supports on all the front-facing latticed shutters and the tops of pillars.
"The elegant main temple was created during the Kamakura period (1192 to 1333) to commemorate victory in the Mongol invasions of Japan. It is a National Treasure, while the three storey pagoda in the upper left and the gate in front are Important Cultural Assets.
The ten pieces inside the main temple, including a standing statue of Acala, are all also from the Kamakura period (1192 to 1333) and are Important Cultural Assets, providing a wonderful opportunity to see real history up close."
- Hot Spring Day Trips
- An introduction to hot springs that you can just visit for the day, providing healing for body and mind while you take in the sights!
A hot spring that can be visited for the day, located right in front of Eigenji Temple and allowing you to enjoy outdoor bathing in natural hot spring water, surrounded by incredible nature.
One of the largest hot spring resorts in Kansai, with one of the largest stone saunas in Keiji. The outside baths have a stunning view over Lake Biwa.
-Shiga's Onsen Information-
- Castles of Omi
- Due to being close to Kyoto and a key point for travel, the Omi region saw numerous battles featuring famous feudal warlords, including Nobunaga and Hideyoshi. The importance of the region also led those seeking to unify Japan to build castles here. These are a few of the castles that are truly representative of Omi.
Hikone-jo Castle is not only a National Treasure but is also exceptionally well preserved, even if all castles in Japan are considered, and attracts a large number of visitors throughout the year.
Azuchi-jo Castle is said to have been the first wooden high-rise building in the world, but it was burnt down only three years after being built and now only the ruins remains.
Nagahama-jo Castle is where feudal warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi spent the end of the warring states period. It was abandoned at the start of the Edo period (1603 - 1868) and is now an archeological museum featuring a restoration of the castle from its glory days.
- Kannon Villages
- Nagahama City in Shiga is a treasure trove of Buddhist cultural artifacts, among which many are statues of Guanyin Bodhisattva (called Kannon in Japanese). In fact, there are almost as many statues as there are separate settlements, and all of them are still reverently protected by the villagers to this day.
Statue of Eleven-faced Kannon (Important Cultural Property)
The statue of Eleven-faced Kannon kept here, said to have been created toward the end of the Heian period (794 - 1185), is a nationally designated Important Cultural Property. Carved from a single block of Zelkova wood, the crimson that remains on its lips even today is an indicator of the vivid colors that once adorned it.
Admission Times： 9:00 - 16:00
Admission Charges： ￥300
Statue of Eleven-faced Kannon (Important Cultural Property)
The main statue of Keisokuji Temple, a bold piece created from a single piece of Japanese cypress, still has its lacquer color basecoat intact. It is thought to have been carved at some point between the start and the middle of the Heian period (794 - 1185).
Admission Times： 9:00 - 17:00 (April - November)、9:00 - 16:00 （December - March)
Admission Charges： ￥500
- Recuperate in a Foot Bath!
- The Ogoto Onsen Sightseeing Park in Otsu City has a healing foot bath where you can wash away the exhaustion of your travels!
Foot baths allow you to enjoy some of the hot spring experience without having to strip all the way down! Rather than submerging your entire body, here you only bathe your feet and lower legs, meaning you're also far less likely to get dizzy after bathing. As you have large veins in your feet, it's also a great way to warm up your entire body! The water here has a pH of 9, making it very mellow and relaxing.
[Effective For] Nerve pain, muscle pain, joint pain, stiff shoulders, motor paralysis, bruises, chronic digestive disease, poor circulation, fatigue etc., also has skin beautification properties
Foot Bath, Ogoto Onsen Sightseeing Park, Otsu City
■Open：8:00 - 18:00
■Access：20 min. on foot from JR Ogoto Onsen Station