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May. 2017

National Treasures and Cultural Assets of Shiga - Kohoku Area -

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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 two temples and a shrine in the Kohoku region.

■Hogonji Temple
The gabled "karamon" gate was originally the Gokuraku-mon gate at Osaka-jo Castle, as built by feudal warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and still garners much attention as the only remnant of that castle. With its cypress bark roof, obsidian black lacquered structure and liberal scattering of gold played ornaments, this is construction highly representative of the Momoyama period (1573 - 1603).

■Tsukubusuma-jinja Shrine
The main temple was transferred from Hideyoshi Toyotomi's Fushimi-Momoyama-jo Castle 450 years ago, and is a designated National Treasure. It is decorated inside with elegant and gorgeous décor representative of the Azuchi-Momoyama period (1573 - 1603).

■Daitsuji Temple
Many of the structures here are national or city Important Cultural Assets, including the main temple and reception hall that are said to have been taken from Fushimi-Momoyama-jo Castle, and the side gate said to have been transferred from Nagahama-jo Castle. There is also a Nanboku-cho period (1334 to 1392) temple bell with an inscription, a prefectural Cultural Asset.