News & Events
- National Treasures and Cultural Assets of Shiga - Otsu 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 shrine and two temples in the Otsu region.
■Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine
Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine is the head shrine of approximately 3,800 Hiyoshi, Hie and Sanno shrines throughout Japan, and has developed into the local deity of Mt. Hieizan.
(2 National Treasures, 16 Important Cultural Assets)
Mii-dera Temple features National Treasures and Important Cultural Assets of overwhelming quality, even when considered nationally.
(10 National Treasures (64 items), 42 Important Cultural Assets (720 items))
Home to a large number of National Treasures and Important Cultural Assets, including a two storied pagoda and a variety of religious texts, Buddhist statues and scrolls, not to mention the wooden main temple itself which is the oldest of its kind in Shiga.
The east side of the main temple also includes the room in which Murasaki Shikibu is said to have stayed while writing The Tale of Genji.
- Kinomoto Jizo Ennichi Festival
- An "Ennichi" is a day thought to have links to a specific deity, and the Kinomoto Jizoin Temple Jizo Ennichi is held from August 22 to 25 every year.
This is one of the largest scale Jizo Ennichi festivals in Japan, and is famous across the entire country.
The streets of the town are packed with more than 170 stalls, all crammed together as they seek to catch the eye of visitors to the temple, and strolling and browsing among them is another way to enjoy the Ennichi.
In the temple itself there stands a massive 7m tall Jizo statue, inspiring awe in all visitors.
One of the three great Jizo of Japan, it was demanded to be handed over to be melted down during the Second World War, but was successful defended by the monks.
【Date】Generally August 22 - 25 9:00 - 22:00 (17:00 - 22:00 on 22)
【Address】Kinomoto, Kinomoto-cho, Nagahama City, Shiga
【Access】5 min. on foot from JR Kinomoto Station
- Isaki Pole Diving
- Isaki pole diving is a Buddhist rite held on the 1st of August every year at Isakiji Temple, located 9.2km to the north of JR Omi-Hachiman Station.
A thick, square 13m pole protrudes out in parallel to Lake Biwa, about 7 meters above the water.
On the day of the event young trainees at the temple dive boldly from the end of the pole, or drop into the water after hanging by their feet from the metal ring also attached to it.
The rite is said to date back more than 1100 years, to when the monk Konryu Daishi trained at the temple.
He would throw a bowl down onto the lake in order to collect charity from the fishermen below, and then dive down into the water to pick it up again.
- Water Sports Experience at J and F Sports
- Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, is the perfect place to experience the latest marine sports fresh from America.
The jetpack and jet blade are propelled into the air by jets of water, provided through a hose connected to them from a jet ski.
With water streaming from your shoulders and legs, experience what it's like to fly freely through the air.
People who aren't strong swimmers or beginners can still easily get up into the air, with additional instruction provided by an experienced instructor, meaning that anyone age 12 and over can give it a go!
Some items available for rental (wetsuit / drysuit: 10,000 yen)
(Lifejacket / helmet: free)
- Karasuma Peninsula Hot Air Balloon Flight Experience
- This thrilling event allows you to take to the skies in an elegant hot air balloon and look out across all of Lake Biwa.
The balloon will rise to a height of 20m - 25m, giving you a 360 degree panoramic view of the lake and its environs.
After coming back down to earth you can also enjoy the delightful sights of one of the largest lotus growing operations in Japan.
Every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday between July 22 and August 8 (a total of 12 times)
From 6am to 9am (flight lasts about 5 minutes)
Karasuma Peninsula, Kusatsu City, Shiga
[Number of Places]
Approx. 250 on Fridays and Mondays / 350 on Saturdays and Sundays * Some spaces set aside for people without reservations
With Reservation: Adult (Junior High and older) 2,000 yen, children (4 and older) 1,000 yen
Without Reservation: Adult (Junior High and older) 2,500 yen, children (4 and older) 1,500 yen
Kusatsu City Tourist Association TEL: +81-77-566-3219
- BSC Water Sports Experience
- Amid the lush natural environment provided by Lake Biwa, enjoy lessons and events centered in such thrilling water sports as yachting, kayaking and wind surfing.
They also provide a program intended to awaken in young people the desire to protect the environment and nature, through interaction with the great outdoors.
* Sunrise kayak tour & baking melon bread
* Lake Biwa canoe experience & making sunrise loco moco
* Team challenge corporate training
* Group plans
* Course for acquiring certification as a canoe instructor
* Yacht school
* Wind surfing school
* Boat license school
* Kayak school
- Lotus Flower Cruising
- One of the largest lotus groves in Japan grows on the Karasuma peninsula in Kusatsu, Shiga.
The boat takes you very close to the blooming lotus flowers in summer.
Thrusting into the grove while feeling the summer breeze on Lake Biwa is almost like a jungle cruise and has become a very popular attraction.
The tour is led, in Japanese only, by our beloved tour guide and at certain points the leaves of the lotus will shade the visitor during the cruise. Don’t miss this unique experience.!!
From mid July to mid August
※Reservations accepted from mid May
【Time of Departure】
(1)7：00 (2)8：15 (3)9：30 (4)10：45
※Duration ：About 40 minutes
※Minimum of 4 passengers
Adults￥ 2,000 Children￥ 1,000
【Reservation / Contact】
Kusatsu City Tourism Association
http://kanko-kusatsu.com/ ※Reservations can be made on our website
- Large Shopping Malls in Shiga
- June is the rainy season in Japan.
Here is a list of large shopping malls in Shiga where you can enjoy your day despite the bad weather.
●MITSUI OUTLET PARK Shiga Ryuo●
1178-694 Oaza Kuzushi Aza Sunayama, Ryuo-cho, Gamou-gun
In front of the Ryuo IC on the Meishin Expressway
271-1 Yamashinacho, Nagahama
About 1 min. From Nagahama IC by car
●AEON STYLE Kusatsu●
300 Shinhamacho, Kusatsu
[Car]Turn left at the east end of Omi-ohashi bridge
[Train・Bus]15 to 25 min. bus ride from the Seta, Minami-Kusatsu or Kusatsu sta. (JR Biwako Line)
or the Keihan Hamaotsu sta.
3-7 Takakaichominami, Omihachiman
Directly connected to the Omihachiman sta. (JR Biwako Line)
(Shops and Restaurants)10：00～21：00
2620-5 Imahamacho, Moriyama
[Car] Turn left at the east end of Biwako-ohashi bridge
[Train･Bus] 15 min. bus ride from the JR Katata sta. (Kosei Line) or 30 min. bus ride from the JR Moriyama sta. (Biwako Line)
●AL. PLAZA Kusatsu●
A Square South Area 1-23-1 Nishishibukawa, Kusatsu
In front of the Kusatsu sta. (JR Biwako Line) West Exit.
- June-Strolling among waterside flowers
- In japan, June is the start of summer.
This is a time when the lake shore displays many vividly colored flowers.
●Lake Yogo Hydrangea Garden (Yogoko Ajisai-en)●
As Lake Yogo has a calm surface, it is also known as “Mirror Lake.” About 10,000 hydrangea shrubs grow along the shore. (Hydrangea flowers are at their best from late Jun. to early Jul.)
A 30-min. walk from JR Hokuriku Line [Yogo Sta.].
Rental bicycles (500 yen per bicycle) are also available at [Yogo Sta.].
Okubiwako Sightseeing Association TEL:0749-82-5909
●Biwako Otsukan （Yanagasaki Kohan Park）●
Biwako Otsukan is an early modern structure facing Lake Biwa. It has a restaurant café, and the adjoining English Garden offers visitors a display of roses and other flowers.
(Roses are at their best from mid-May to early June.)
10-min. by bus from JR Biwako Line [Otsu Sta.]
15-min. walk from JR Kosei Line [Otsukyo Sta.].
【English Garden Admission Fee】
9:00～18:00 The garden is closed from Dec. through Feb..
Biwako Otsukan TEL:077-511-4187
●Kusatsu City Mizunomori Suisei Botanical Park●
The lake waters spread out on three sides of the park. Visit the Lotus Pavilion, which offers an encounter with diverse aquatic plants, and enjoy flowers in each of the four seasons throughout the park. The shore of Lake Biwa, on the edge of the park, has one of the finest lotus fields in Japan.
＜Flowers from spring through summer＞Pond lily, lotus, iris, hydrangea, delphinium, marguerite daisy, and more.
From JR Biwako Line [Kusatsu Sta.] ,25-min. by bus to [Mizunomori Stop].
9:00～17:00（Visitors are admitted until 16:30）
Closed on Mon. / Year end & New Year （Open daily in summer and during Golden Week）
Kusatsu City Mizunomori Suisei Botanical Park TEL:077-568-2332
- Famous Spots For Wisteria in Shiga
- ■Sandai Shrine■
the end of April ～ the beginning of May
It is said that the trees were planted to pray for the prosperity of the Fujiwara family who was serving as Regent. After they burnt down in battle with Oda Nobunaga, they bloomed from the root again. It is a wisteria floribunda and since the ears can be as long as 2m, the trees are called “sand scuffing wisteria”. Once bloomed, beautiful purple flowers attract many visitors. Together with the wisterias at nearby Shina Shrine (Shinacho, Kusatsu) and Soja Shrine (Shinanakacho, Kusatsu), it is also known as three local wisteria groves in Shina.
【Address】 309 Shinacho, Kusatsu
【Access】 10 min. bus ride from the Kusatsu sta. (JR Biwako Line) to “Kitaogaya”.
The Shrine is another 7 min. walk from the bus stop.
【Contact】 Kusatsu City Tourism Association TEL：077-566-3219 FAX：077-566-3219
■Shoho-ji Temple (Wisteria Temple)■
the beginning of May～Mid of May
A dazzling wisteria tree over 300 years old resides by the main hall. The pendulous racemes can be longer than 1 meter and the best season is mid-May. The tree, also known as Gokofuji (Glory Wisteria) has 5 stems and the beautiful flowers fill the trellis in season. It is believed that Zen master, Duzen, who established the temple transplanted the seeding from Kyoto in the Edo period.
【Address】 2145 Kaigake, Hino
【Access】 30 min. bus ride from the Ohmi Railway Hino station to “Kaigake”.
The temple is another 10 min. from the bus stop.
【Contact】 Hino Town Tourist Association TEL：0748-52-6577 FAX：0748-52-6017
- Special Activities in Shiga
- List of facilities recommended for the season of fresh greenery!
【Open】 28 Apr (Tur)～6 Nov (Fri)
※Closed for maintenance at certain times
Seven Views! Seven Thrills!
All-day fun with many more attractions
【Fees】 ¥ 3,200 (7 Lines)
※Fees for cable car (Adult: ¥1900 for round-trip) required separately
【Open】 Weekend and Holidays 9:30～15:00 (Every 30 minutes),
Weekdays 10：00～14：30 (4 times a day)
Weekdays during Summer Holidays (Except Bon Holidays) 10：00～15：00(Every 1 hour)
【Inquiry】 Biwako Valley 077-592-1155
【Adress】 1547-1 Kido, Otsu
【Access】 About 10 min. ride of Kojyaku Bus from the Shiga Sta.(JR Kosei Line)
【Open】24 Jun(Fri)～31 Aug (Wed), 10 Sep(Sat)～10 Oct(Mon)
For adults and children, enjoy off-road buggies at the top of the mountain!
【Fees for 2 rounds】 19 and older¥1,500
Young Children to High School Students¥1,000
※Children need to be at least 120 cm tall
※Entrance fees (Adult: ¥1850) required separately
【Gondola Hours】 9：00～Outward16：30・Return17：00
【Inquiry】 Hakodateyama 0740-22-2486
【Adress】 4201-4 Imazucho-hiokimae, Takashima
【Access】 About 20 min. ride with an Imazu Community Bus from the Imazu Sta.(JR Kosei Line)
【Open】5 Mar (Sat)～Early Dec
Midair Athletics next to a Large Shopping Mall!
【Fees(All course day pass including zip-line)】 Adults¥4,600 Children¥3,600
【Open】 Weekdays 10：00～18：00 Weekend and Holidays 10：00～21：00
【Closed】 irregular holidays ※Check with our website
【Inquiry】 Biwako SKY Adventure 077-585-0122
【Adress】 2620-5 Imahamacho, Moriyama
【Access】 [Car] Turn left at Biwako Ohashi tollgate exit
- Ｆｉｒｅｆｌｙ Ｖｉｅｗｉｎｇ Ｓｐｏｔｓ ｉｎ Ｓｈｉｇａ
- ■Moriyama Hotaru Park and Walk■
22 May (Sun)～29 May (Sun)
Approx. 3 km walk from Moriyama Institute of Firefly's Woods to Moriyama station is set up for firefly viewing. It is a feature of early summer in Moriyama. There are various events taking place during the festival.
【Place】 Around Moriyama Institute of Firefly's Woods and various venues across Moriyama City ,
10 Miyakecho, Moriyama
Take a free shuttle from the rotary at the west exit of the Moriyama sta. (JR Biwako Line)
【Inquiry】 Moriyama Hotaru Park and Walk Executive Committee
■The 33rd Amano River Firefly Festival■
2016. 3 Jun (Fri)～12 (Sun) Scheduled from shortly after 7:30 pm
You can encounter many flying Luciola near the Amano River during the festival. During this time, lanterns will be installed along the walkway around the venue. Viewing spots offer you a view of the astral dance of the fireflies. Enjoy the soft glow of fireflies in the dark. (Fireflies emerge generally from the beginning to the middle of June. )
【Place】 Around Nagaoka, Maibara ,
5 min. walk from the Omi-Nagaoka Sta. (JR Tokaido Main Line)
【Inquiry】 Maibara City Amano River Firefly Festival Executive Committee Secretariat
(Within Maibara City Commerce and Tourism Division)