News & Events
- Biwaichi Cycling
- Biwaichi Cycling allows you to cycle around the circumference of Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan and the symbol of Shiga, while enjoying nature, history and sightseeing spots along the way.
A full circuit of the lake is approximately 200km in length, taking experienced cyclists a full day. Others often take two days with one night's lodgings, but a three days, two nights plan actually comes highly recommended!
There are lakeside spaces where you can enjoy varied and thrilling seasonal scenery, as well as many historical sites and famous spots along the shores, offering a whole range of fun things to do.
The appeal of Lake Biwa is inexhaustible! Grab as much of it as you can from the back of a bicycle!
Many of the stations and tourist facilities in Shiga offer renta-cycles, making it easy to get your wheels on the ground. How about sightseeing across Shiga from the back of a bicycle, proceeding entirely at your own leisurely pace?
- Ninja Experience
- The Koka Ninja Village feels like an ancient and hidden settlement. Within the wide grounds there is a shinobi shrine, a museum dedicated to ninja techniques, a house full of ninja traps and secret panels, and a shuriken throwing star dojo. The museum in particular is especially rich in materials relating to ninja, housing the most in the world.
You can also rent ninja outfits, allowing you to experience the feeling of becoming a real ninja while undertaking your training.
How about exploring the place where Koka ninja originated?
[Rental Outfits Charges]
Children 610JPY/day, Adults 1030JPY/day
*Outfit rental is on a first come, first served basis.
*Head wraps are an additional 100YPY.
*A deposit is also required for rentals.
■Koka Ninja Village
Adults 1030JPY, Junior High School Students 820JPY, Elementary School Students 730JPY, Toddlers 520JPY, 2 years and under free
- 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.
- Dedicate a “Wish Daruma” doll on Chikubushima Island!
- Chikubushima Island is found on Lake Biwa. Here’s the way to dedicate a traditional “Wish Daruma” doll to the goddess Benzaiten, who is believed to free people from suffering and lead them into happiness.
(1) Write your wish along with your name on a special piece of paper.
(2) After finishing writing on the paper, roll it up into a tube shape.
(3) Insert the paper into the hole on the bottom of the daruma doll.
(4) Have someone from the shrine office seal the wish inside using a special sticker.
(5) Dedicate the doll in the main hall, pay a prayer fee of 500 yen, and you are finished!
Please note that you cannot take the Wish Daruma doll home with you. However, if you make an additional donation along with your 500 yen prayer fee, you can receive a non-retail “Wish Daruma strap” to take home.
Here’s hoping that your wish comes true!
- Celebrating the opening of the “Alps Gym,” the largest facility of its type in west Japan!
- A new athletic facility has opened in Blumen Hugel Farm, Hino-cho, Shiga. The massive German-made athletics structure stands at a height of 17m, making it the largest in west Japan. There are thrills to be found for everyone from children to adults, including authentic bouldering, and attractions such as crossing a log bridge on a bicycle. See if you can defeat the 72 challenges that await you here!
Blumen Hugel Farm Admission fee: Adult 1,000 yen, children 4 year or older 600 yen
Additional charges apply for use of the Alps Gym.
Adults 3,000 yen, elementary school children 2,000 yen
You may use the facilities for 60 minutes. Participants must be at least 125cm tall and no heavier than 120 kilos.
Parking is free.
Business hours: 10:00 - 17:00 (weekdays), 9:30 - 18:00 (weekends)
- Dress up like a hina doll and take a ceremonial photo!
- March 3 is the Hina Festival in Japan.
Around 110 sets of hina dolls are currently on display, including those belonging to the Omi Merchants of Gokasho who were active from the end of the Edo period to the Showa pre-war period. While they are on display, an event is also being held in which you can dress up like a hina doll and take a ceremonial photo. The results should look great on social media!
Period: Until March 20 (Wed)
◆Venue / Time: Nine venues around Gokasho, Higashi-Omi / 9:30 - 16:30
◆Charge: For example, 3 venue ticket for the Omi Merchant Houses (the Shigeru Tonomura House, Uhee Tonomura House, and Jungoro Nakae House) adults 600 yen, elementary school children 300 yen
◆Houses Closed: Feb 12 (Tue), Mar 11 (Mon)
◆Access: From JR Notogawa Station, take the Omi Bus bound for Yokaichi Station and alight at the “Plaza Sanpo Yoshi Mae” stop, then walk for 5 - 20 minutes.
◆Inquiries: Higashi Omi Tourist Association: http://www.higashiomi.net/
- Tour the Hina Dolls Still Kept in Omi Merchant Houses
- Higashiomi City in Shiga is renowned as the town of the famous Omi Merchants. A special event will be held for a limited period, allowing the public an exceptional chance to view the rare and beautiful traditional Hina dolls passed down in some of the remaining houses. Take this opportunity to experience the traditional culture of the Japanese Hina Festival!
Period: February 1 - March 21, 2019 9:30 - 16:30
Houses Closed On: February 12, March 11
Venues: The Omi Merchant houses of Gokashocho, Higashiomi City, Shiga
(The Jungoro Nakae House, Uhee Tonomura House, Shigeru Tonomura House, Hikoshiro Fujii House, Kondo Townscape Preservation Exchange Center, Omi Merchant Museum etc.)
Admission: From 200 yen
Access: From Osaka / Kyoto Station, 1 hour 10 minutes on the JR Biwako Line Rapid Service to Notogawa Station. From Notogawa Station, take the bus and alight after approximately 10 minutes at the “Plaza Sanpo Yoshi” bus stop.
- Experience Japanese Izakaya Bars in Shiga
- Japanese izakaya bars provide cheap sake and light meals, as well as allowing an exciting glimpse of Japanese culture. Take your chance to enjoy the nightlife in Shiga.
A stylish izakaya where you can enjoy a charcoal grilled menu, including yakitori skewers made with local chicken.
Address: 2-6-18 Bamba, Otsu City, Shiga
Access: 3 min. on foot walk from Zeze Station on the JR Biwako Line or Keihan-zeze Station on the Keihan Keishin Line.
Omi Umaimon Seisakusho
Serves local sake alongside food prepared mainly with local ingredients, such as Hiei yuba (tofu skin).
Address: Ueda Building 1F, 1-3-3 Bamba, Otsu City
Access: 4 min. on foot from Zeze Station on the JR Biwako Line or Keihan-zeze Station on the Keihan Keishin Line.
An izakaya where you are welcome even for a single drink, and that also holds live jazz performances. The owner has a wide knowledge of sake, meaning this is the best place to learn about the alcohol Shiga has to offer.
Address: 1-8-16 Chuo, Otsu
Access: 4 min. on foot from Hamaotsu Station on the Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line.
- Enjoy an Auspicious Latté at a World Heritage Site
- Hieizan Enryakuji Temple is a registered World Heritage site. At the Enryakuji Temple Kaikan located in the grounds, if you let the staff know your Chinese zodiac while placing your order, you can enjoy a latté adorned with Siddham script art relating to your guardian deity.
Three types are available - caffé latté, green tea, and caramel. Each for \700 (including tax).
Hieizan Enryakuji Temple Kaikan “Kissa Reiho”
Address: 4220 Sakamotohoncho, Otsu City
- The Shrine in Hino-cho just perfect for the Year of the Boar
- 2019 is the Year of the Boar. The boar is an animal known as an embodiment of the messenger of the god and is said to being better fortune and victory. A shrine dedicated to worship of such boars can be found in Hino-cho, Shiga Prefecture.
Why not start the Year of the Boar with a visit to Umami Okawatamuki-jinja Shrine?
Address: 705 Murai, Hino-cho, Gamo-gun, Shiga Prefecture
[Access by Public Transport]
●From the south exit of JR Omi-Hachiman Station, take the Omi Bus bound for Kitabata-guchi and after approx. 50 min alight at the “Mukaimachi” stop, the shrine is right there
●From Ohmi Railway Hino Station, take the Omi Bus bound for Kitabata-guchi and after approx. 15 min alight at the “Mukaimachi” stop, the shrine is right there
*As there are a limited number of buses operating on this route, please check the schedule in advance of your departure
[Access by Car]
●Approx. 20 min from Yokaichi interchange on the Meishin Expressway
●Approx. 15 min from Gamo Smart interchange on the Meishin Expressway
●Approx. 20 min from Koka-Tsuchiyama Interchange on the Shin-Meishin Expressway
- Sightseeing in Shiga While Wearing a Kimono
- Kyoto isn’t the only place that tourists can get dressed up in a kimono. Shiga also offers plenty of spots where visitors can take commemorative photos or enjoy a stroll while wearing traditional Japanese garments. Here’s an introduction to a few of them.
*Hikone Romantic Walk
Enjoy an extraordinary experience as you stroll through Hikone dressed in a hakama.
Adults: \4,000 (men \5,000)
*Omi Jingu Twelve-layered Ceremonial Kimono Wearing Experience
A wonderful experience best offered by Otsu, the mecca of the Japanese card game called karuta. You can even take a commemorative photo that looks just like a karuta card. \1000 per person.
- Let the Strawberry Picking Start!
- Shiga is a treasure-trove of fruit-picking opportunities. The earliest strawberries can be harvested from around the start of January.
Roadside Station Aguri Park Ryuo
All you can eat for 30 minutes
Adults \1800, children \1600, infants \1400
Strawberry & Blueberry Farm Felice
All you can eat for 30 minutes
Adults \1600, children \1400, infants \1000