News & Events
- Sawazen Green Tea Experience
- How about a green tea experience in the town of ceramics famous for Shigaraki-yaki?
Sawazen offers a popular ceramics making experience, but that isn't all. There's another Japanese cultural experience that you can only have here.
Making green tea can look a bit complicated to start with, but the staff will guide you carefully through it, allowing anyone at all to take part. You can also enjoy some Japanese confections that go well with green tea.
Once the green tea experience is over, you can take a tea cup home as a souvenir.
This cup is, of course, made in the Shigaraki style, making it the perfect memento of your experience!
Participation Charges：2160yen per person
Required Time：Approx. 30 min.
- Hino Festival
- The traditional spring festival of Umami Okawatamuki-jinja Shrine, this is the largest festival in Hino with a history dating back more than 800 years.
It is held across May 2 and 3 every year. On the evening of May 2 "hikiyama" floats are dragged out into the streets across the town, their lanterns lighting up the night and setting the tone for a wonderful festival atmosphere.
During the main event on May 3, the Shinchosha and Kamiko who oversee the festival start their procession from early in the morning, and by noon dozens of floats from around the town are thronging within the shrine grounds. Three portable Mikoshi shrines also join the festivities, and for the entire day Hino is completely taken over by the festival.
Day Held：2017 May 2, evening - 22:00, May 3 8:00 - 20:00
Access：Take a bus from Ohmi Railway Hino Station, 3 min. on foot after alighting at "Mukomachi" bus stop
Location Held：Umami Okawatamuki-jinja Shrine, 711 Murai, Hino Town, Gamogun, Shiga
- Finding Fireflies!
- Blessed with beautifully clean air and water, taking in the sight of fireflies dancing in the night has become a summer tradition in Shiga.
Moriyama City and Maibara City both hold events related to fireflies.
Moriyama has long been known as region where Luciola "Japanese fireflies" gather,
and during the Taisho period (1912 - 1926) it was designated the first Natural Monument in Japan.
During the flying season at the end of May, you can see fireflies even close to the station.
Best Time for Viewing：Late May - early June
Access：A free shuttle bus departs from Moriyama Station to the firefly viewing spot (only during the period of the event)
The "Heavenly River Firefly Festival" is held in early June, during which you can watch Luciola "Japanese fireflies" dancing over the Amanogawa River.
Firefly lanterns are also placed along the walk routes in the vicinity of the venue, allowing the viewing of illusory firefly dances.
Best Time for Viewing：Early June - mid June
Access：5 min. on foot from JR Omi-Nagaoka Station
- The Best Soba Noodles in Shiga!
- An introduction to soba noodles from Shiga, a region blessed with rich nature and water.
■Honke Tsuruki Soba
A soba restaurant with more than 300 years of history, located in the town that flourished as the gateway to Hieizan Enryakuji Temple.
[Access]1 min. on foot from Keihan Sakamoto Station
■Tsuruki Soba Hieizan
A soba restaurant popular with visitors to Hieizan Enryakuji Temple. They opened around 280 years ago, when the founding owner opened a soba restaurant in Sakamoto.
[Access]Immediately on foot from Hieizan Enryakuji Temple
Seriously fundamental soba, passionately created using the spiritually rich waters from the foot of Mt. Ibukiyama and using no artificial additives of any kind.
[Access]15 min. by taxi from JR Omi-Nagaoka Station
■Kenjo Ibuki Soba Tsurukian
Carefully prepared buckwheat soba that uses wheat grown by contracted farms around the foothills of Mt. Ibukiyama, in combination with the famous subsoil water from the mountain.
[Access]8 min. on foot from JR Hikone Station
- Learn About Japanese Technology! Factory Tours!
Here you can view the history of KOKUYO, going back more than 100 years, through a range of rare and valuable materials. This is one of the largest notebook factories in Japan.
[Access]15 min. by taxi from Ohmi Railway Echigawa Station
[Participation Charges]100yen (reservation required)
Take a tour of a Kirin plant, where both soft drinks and beer are made. You can even sample freshly made beverages for yourself.
[Access]15 min. on foot from Ohmi Railway Screen Station
Observe toilets being made. You can also experiencing pouring a mold for a miniature toilet.
[Access]10 min. on foot from JR Mikumo Station
[Participation Charges]Free (reservation required)
UCC were the first company in the world to create canned coffee. A concierge will join you in experiencing how their delicious coffee is made.
[Access]15 min. on foot from Ohmi Railway Echigawa Station
[Participation Charges]Free (reservation required)
- Hachiman Festival
- The Hachiman Festival is a traditional event with more than a thousand years of history, starting from when Hidetsugu Toyotomi founded the town.
The festival takes place over 2 days, April 14 and 15 each year. April 14 is the eve of the festival, known as the Torch Festival, and has been selected as a national Intangible Folk Culture Asset. More than 30 torches are lit, including one over 10m, and the grandeur of them against the spring night, accompanied by a barrage of fireworks, is truly a sight to behold.
April 15, the main festival, sees a performance by large drums carried into the temple from across the region.
When compared to the grandeur of the Torch Festival from the night before, the main day features a more solemn atmosphere, and is also known as the Drum Festival.
[Day Held]April 14 Fire Offering 20:00 - (until around 23:00), April 15 15:30 - (around 19:00)
[Location Held]Himure Hachimangu Shrine, 257 Miyauchi-cho, Omi-Hachiman City, Shiga
[Access]10 min. on bus from JR Omi-Hachiman Station, alight at the "Osugi-cho" bus stop
- 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)