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.