News & Events
- 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
- Experience the New Year’s Eve bells in Shiga
- A Buddhist ritual involving the ringing of the temple bell 108 times is an annual event which is performed on the New Year’s Eve, and there are numerous temples in Shiga too where the bells ring out during the middle of the night on December 31st. The following is an introduction to the temples were the public can also participate in the bell ringing.
Tickets to ring the bell are distributed from 21:30, given to those who purchase an auspicious arrow (\1000).
Gate opens at 00:00, and after the ringing by the monks the public may continue to ring the bell, in order of arrival, from 2:00. Stops at 108 rings. Admission to the temple is free for Jan 1 - 3.
The bell is rung from 23:45. \100 is required for sweet sake.
The bell is rung from 23:45, starting with the monks.
- Recommended Hatsumode Spots in Shiga
- At the start of a brand new year, why not make your traditional Hatsumode (first shrine visit) in Shiga? Here’s an introduction to some of our top picks to visit!
Visits for Hatsumode can be performed at any time. The shrine shop (selling protective amulets and other items) is open from 0:00 - 17:00 on Jan 1, and 8:00 - 17:00 on Jan 2 - 5.
Omi Jingu Shrine
Protective amulets and other items are available from 0:00 until around 18:00 on Jan 1 and 9:00 - 17:00 from Jan 2 onward, with the New Year’s lottery held between Jan 1 - 3 and sweet sake on offer until Jan 5.
Reception is open all day Dec 31, right up until 22:00 on Jan 1. On Jan 2 it is open 6:00 - 21:00, and then 6:00 - 20:00 on Jan 3.
You can find out about other Hatsumode spots here:
- Hatsumode on Chikubushima Island
- Lake Biwa is the largest lake in Japan and rising on it is the spiritual power-spot of Chikubushima Island. How about welcoming the new year by making your first visit to this Shinto shrine (a tradition called “Hatsumode” in Japanese) a uniquely special one?
Omi Marine “Chikubushima Island - Hatsumode Ship”
Operating period: Jan 1 (Mon / holiday) - Jan 6 (Sun) 2019
Ship 1 / Departs Hikone Port 9:30 - Chikubushima (arrives 10:10 / departs 11:20) - arrives Hikone Port 12:00
Ship 2 / Departs Hikone Port 12:30 - Chikubushima (arrives 13:10 / departs 14:20) - arrives Hikone Port 15:00
Adult \2,900 Child \1,450
*Includes “beckoning cat” merchandise
*Separate shrine admission fees of \400 for adults and \300 for children are required on Chikubushima
For more about Chikubushima Island: https://en.biwako-visitors.jp/spot/detail/2472
- Enjoy the Changing of the Leaves in Shiga! (1)
- Many people enjoy the changing of the leaves during fall in Japan, and Shiga Prefecture has many spots famous for their crimson foliage. Numerous events, including illuminations, are also held during this period. Come to Shiga to see the leaves!
Hieizan Enryakuji - The Maple of Hiei
Until November 25
The leaves at Yokogawa are said to be particularly special, even for Mt. Hiei, and a variety of events are held here.
Hiyoshitaisha Maple Festival
November 1 - 30, 2018
As well as illuminations of the leaves during this period, there are also performances for Noh and Kyogen theater and a chrysanthemum exhibition.
Kotosanzan Original Goshuin Paper
Special Goshuin stamped paper can be purchased for \500 until December 2018.
- Enjoy the Changing of the Leaves in Shiga! (2)
From November 10 - November 27, \200 charge during the changing leaves period
An old temple originally opened in 735, with the Sando (path leading to the temple) dazzling in crimson during the changing of the leaves, making it a popular spot to take photos.
Ishiyamadera - Atarayo Maple
The maple at Ishiyamadera are best viewed from mid-November. You can also enjoy illusory illuminations.
From November 16 - December 2, 2018.
Konansanzan - Divine Favor Wooden Plaque Tour
Konansanzan is a spot renowned for its crimson foliage among those in the know, and also offers special wooden plaques with Goshuin stamp. The Goshuin stamp costs \2500 (which includes admission fee).
Hikone City - Genkyuen Garden Illuminations
18:00 - 21:00, From November 17 - December 2, 2018.
During this period, Hikonyan will make an appearance on November 17, 21, and December 2.
- Try Funazushi!
- Fermented food products are said to be good for your health, and perhaps the ultimate example is Shiga Prefecture’s unique Funazushi.
Funazushi is made from the Nigoro-buna fish, also known as the “round crucian carp”, which is only found in Lake Biwa. Combined with rice, it is then fermented, and is also said to be the origin of sushi.
It was created as a way to preserve fish in a time before refrigerators existed, and seems to be eaten during the Heian period (794 - 1185).
Although some people don’t like its unique smell, it can be enjoyed accompanied with some Japanese sake, just like blue cheese!
List to stores where funazushi can be purchased:
A video from Only in Japan “This is Funazushi!”: