News & Events
- Japanese Hatsumode in Shiga
- Hatsumode is the first visit made to a shrine or temple at the start of the year, to pray for happiness in the year ahead.
◆Taga Taisha Shrine
A shrine that has attracted worshippers since ancient times due to its connections to the god of long life, relationships and warding off disaster. The premiere shrine in Shiga, the god Izanagi and goddess Izanami, who were the parents of Amaterasu herself, are enshrined here.
Charge: Entry to the grounds is free (Okushoin Garden 300yen)
◆Hieizan Enryakuji Temple
A temple globally renowned for its 1200 years of history and tradition, in 1994 Enryakuji became a registered UNESCO World Heritage site. From New Year’s Eve to New Year’s Day both the Okuhiei and Hieizan Driveways remain open all night, allowing you to drive through from the city and see the first sunrise of the New Year from Hieizan.
One charge for admittance to the East Tower, West Tower and Yokawa: Adult 700yen, junior and high school student 500yen, elementary school student 300yen
◆Tsukubusuma-jinja Shrine (Chikubushima-jinja Shrine)
A shrine located on the mysterious Chikubushima Island, and known as one of the three major shrines in Japan enshrining Benzaiten. It is visited not only on the first day of the New Year but also throughout the year by many worshippers, and is popular as a spiritual power spot.
Charge: Free (Island entry charge: Adult 400yen, child 300yen)
- Ski Slopes in Shiga
- <Biwako Valley>
A slope at the peak of a mountain at a height of 1,174m. Using the most advanced large carriage cable car in Japan, which opened in February 2008, you can reach the slope in just three and a half minutes. From there you can take in the stunning panorama of Lake Biwa while enjoying activities for everyone from beginners to experts.
Skiing and snowboard lessons can also be provided in English. Rates start from 3,000yen.
One of the largest snow resorts in the Kansai area, boasting superlative access. The high elevation offers the ultimate in deep, high-quality powder. There are also no less than twelve varied courses to choose from, catering to everyone from beginners to experts.
<Mt. Hakodateyama Ski Resort>
A stunning slope that lets you look out across all of Lake Biwa. The wide main slope with its array of varied courses caters to everyone from beginner to expert.
- The Nagahama Plum Tree Bonsai Exhibition
- In accordance with their blossoming, around 90 from among a total of 3 million trees are exhibited in a pure Japanese-style tatami mat room. The collection includes large trees reaching almost 3m tall and ancient trees said to be over 400 years old. Having started in 1952, making this the 67th event, this is both the largest in scale and longest in the history of plum bonsai exhibitions in Japan, and is loved as one of the traditions of spring in Shiga.
[Date]January 10 – March 10 2020
[Open]Open every day during the exhibition 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. (final entry 4:30 p.m.)
[Entry fee] Adult 800yen, elementary or junior high student 400yen, 20% discount for groups of 20 or more
- MIHO MUSEUM
- The Miho Museum opened in 1997, and was designed by the world-famous architect I. M. Pei, also responsible for the glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris and the Washington National Gallery's East Building.
With a fused theme of "the art of nature and buildings," "the traditional and the modern," and "East and West," more than 80% of the building's volume is submerged underground, and great care was taken not to destroy the natural environment around it and also to restore the nature above the building.
The museum opens seasonally three times per year, and allows special exhibitions and permanent installations to be viewed.
The café and restaurant on-site provide meals made with ingredients grown without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilizers, and with no artificial additives of any kind.
- World Heritage! Visit Hieizan Enryakuji Temple!
- As a place of prayer for world peace and tranquility, and as a place of learning and training for some of the greatest, national-treasure level monks across all sects, Hieizan Enryakuji Temple is absolutely fundamental to Japanese Buddhism. Furthermore, Mt. Hieizan's location on the border between Kyoto and Shiga allows for some epic scenery, looking out over the expanse of Lake Biwa in the east and the city of old Kyoto in the west.
This beautiful natural environment, combined with 1,200 years of history and tradition, has received recognition and praise from around the world, and in 1994 it was finally registered as a Unesco World Heritage site.
- National Treasures and Cultural Assets of Shiga - Konan Area -
- National Treasures and Cultural Assets of Shiga - Konan 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 three temples in the Konan area.
The main temple at Chojyuji is quite literally a treasure-trove of history, containing many Important Cultural Assets, including a decorative cabinet that is a National Treasure. The repository behind the main temple also houses a large statue of a seated Amitabha, almost 3m in size and made from gold.
The main temple has a cypress bark roof and is a designated National Treasure. Immediately behind it there is a perfectly formed three storey pagoda, to which the trees beyond provide a beautiful backdrop. The interior of the lowest section features a Zen dais, and the walls, four pillars and other locations are all decorated with Buddhist images and bright colors.
The palace-style, solemn and solid main temple is representative of Tendai Buddhist construction. It barely survived the war fires of Nobunaga Oda, and is now a designated National Treasure. The interior also features no less than 15 Buddha statues, including representative pieces from the Tempyo period (710 - 794) and the Heian period (794 - 1185) and a wooden seated Bhaisajyaguru that is a Important Cultural Asset. All of them are more than worth making the trip to see!
- 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?
- Sutra Copying & Zen Meditation Experiences
- ■Hieizan Enryakuji Temple
・Sutra Copying Experience
You will copy the Heart Sutra.
Brush, ink, ink stone, paper and everything else you need will be provided.
[Participation Charges]1,000JPY (not including tax) per person
[Required Time]Approx. 90 min.
・Zen Meditation Experience
May not always be possible depending on venue and instructor availability.
Please make a reservation in advance.
At least 2 people are required to take part.
[Required Time]1 hour (including explanation)
[Inquiries]077-578-0047 (9:00 - 17:00)
■Remains of the Enmanin Temple Gate
・Zen Meditation Experience
If you are unable to relax and always worrying, some Zen Meditation might be for you.
Providing control of your body, mouth and will, this is the fastest way to get closer to Buddha.
[Day Held]Every week Saturday & Sunday
[Participation Charges] ¥1,000
[Required Time]1 hour - 1 hour 30 min.
[Inquiries]077-522-3690 (9:00 - 17:00)
- National Treasures and Cultural Assets of Shiga - Kosei 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 in the Kosei region.
Shirahige-jinja Shrine is the oldest shrine in Omi, said to have been founded around 2000 years ago. People come here to pray for long life, relationships, pregnancy, and good luck. The head of all Shirahige shrines across Japan, it is also known by the nicknames "Shirahige-san" and "Myojin-san." Creation of the buildings currently in the grounds was overseen by Hideyori Toyotomi during the Momoyama period (1573 - 1603), and the perfectly square main shrine is a designated Important Cultural Asset. The current complicated roof shape came about when the hall of worship was rebuilt during the Meiji period (1868-1912), in order to connect it to the main shrine.
The crimson torii gate that stands out in the waters of Lake Biwa is often called the "Itsukushima of Omi," evoking as it does the World Heritage site of Itsukushima Shrine in Hiroshima.
- Mountain Climbing & Trekking Information! <<Biwako Valley>>
- "Meet the First Drop of Lake Biwa! Water-Source Discovery Trekking" has become such a famous trekking expedition, it has even set up collaborations with big outdoor gear manufacturers. There's also a full range of other outgoing trekking courses, including the Kojorogaike Course that lets you look out over the beauty of Lake Biwa while heading to an ancient pond with 6,000 years of history and legends, and the Hiradake Course that takes you through some glorious forest valleys while bird calls soothe your senses.
If you're looking to take a stroll that's a little more relaxed, the course around Biwako Valley itself comes highly recommended. If you start to feel tired you can even take a rest in a forest hammock.
- Kanou Shoujuan Sunai no Sato Japanese Confection Making Experience
- Kanou Shoujuan Sunai no Sato is a longstanding Japanese style confectioner, now synonymous with Shiga. Along with delicious delicacies, they also offer a chance to make your own confections.
Using ingredients carefully selected by the highly skilled Kanou Shoujuan staff, this classroom provides the opportunity to make Japanese confections that are overflowing with a sense of the seasons.
Under the watchful guidance of skilled craftspeople, enjoy this deliciously creative experience in a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere.
[Day Held]Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (*May change depending on the season)
[Time]10:45 - 12:15 (Japanese confection making)
[Participation Charges]2700yen (including tax) per person
[No. of Places]40 people (reservations closed once full)
[Things to Bring ] Nothing in particular (aprons etc. will be provided)
[Applications](Reception 9:00 - 17:00)
*Please make a reservation at least 4 days before the date on which you wish to participate.
- Shigaraki Ceramics Festival
- October each year sees the Shigaraki Ceramics Festival held in Shigaraki, the town of ceramics. Spot sales and exhibitions of Shigaraki-yaki are held, attracting ceramics lovers from around the world. Alongside the ceramics, you'll also find booths selling regional produce and local cuisine.
■Shigaraki Ceramics General Exhibition
The "Shigaraki Ceramics Festival" is a highlight in the calendars of all ceramics fans.
The Shigaraki Ceramics General Exhibition, held in the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park's Exhibition Hall of Industrial Ceramics, provides a wonderful chance to come into contact with the culture of ceramics.
A spot sale is held in a special venue in the vicinity of the Shigaraki Chiiki Shimin Center. Take this opportunity to find a new favorite piece!
[Date]October 7~ 9 2017, 9:00 - 17:00
[Place]Special Venue in the vicinity of Koka City Office Shigaraki Chiiki Shimin Center
Shigaraki Ceramics General Exhibition: Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park's Exhibition Hall of Industrial Ceramics
[Access]3 min. on foot from Shigaraki Kougen Railway Shigaraki Station