News & Events
- National Treasures and Cultural Assets of Shiga - Higashi Omi Area -
- Namura-jinja Shrine is said to be one and the same with the Namura-jinja Shrine (the same pronunciation, but written using different Japanese characters) that appears in a record of all shrines in Japan that was completed in 927, during the Heian period.
The tower gate is quite overwhelming, elegant and stern with its thatched roof jutting above the countryside, and the glory of the view from here has become one of the Eight Views of Ryuo.
Furthermore, the west main temple, showing a construction often seen among the older temples in Shiga, is a designated National Treasure.
The two curved wooden supports with asymmetrical carvings are especially beautiful, and aptly represent the times from which they come.
With careful attention paid to every detail, as well as the use of a front chamber, this stands as a representative example of shrine construction from the middle ages.
- National Treasures and Cultural Assets of Shiga - Otsu 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 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.
- National Treasures and Cultural Assets of Shiga - Kohoku 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 two temples and a shrine in the Kohoku region.
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).
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).
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.
- 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 8 - March 15, 2020 9:30 - 16:30
Houses Closed On: February 12, 17, 25 and March 9
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.
- Cherry Blossom Viewing in Shiga
- 【Ho Park】Early Apr. – Mid-Apr.
About 600 Someiyoshino blossoms burst into bloom around Nagahama Castle Historical Museum. It’s been designated one of the “100 best cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan”. You can see a blanket of cherry blossoms from the castle tower. Cherry blossoms are lit up at night during the season. ※Depending on the degree of blooming.
Address：10-10 Koencho, Nagahama City
Access：5min walk from JR Biwako Line Nagahama Sta.
Contact：Nagahama City Planning Division TEL：0749-62-4111 FAX：0749-63-4111
【Kaizuosaki】Early Apr. – Mid-Apr.
Designated one of the “100 best cherry blossom viewing spots in Japan”, about 800 Someiyoshino blossoms over 70 years old create a 4 km long cherry blossom tunnel at Kaizuosaki by Lake Biwa. It’s a well-known late blooming spot in the Kinki area.
Address：Kaizu, Makino-cho, Takashima City
Access：Take a Makino Community Bus (Makino Kogen Line) from the JR Makino sta. (JR Kosei Line) to Kaizuosaki-guchi. The spot is a 4 min. walk from the bus stop.
Contact：Biwako Takashima Tourist Association TEL：0740-33-7101 FAX：0740-33-7105 Email：email@example.com
【Miidera Temple(Onjoji Temple)・Lake Biwa Canal】Early Apr. – Mid-Apr.
Close to Mii-dera Temple and Lake Biwa Canal, it is one of the best cherry blossom viewing spots in Shiga. The trees are lit up at night in the beginning of April. The illuminated tunnel of cherry blossom is breathtaking.
Opening Hours：8:00～17:00（Lighting Up 18:30～21:30）
Entrance Fee for Mii-dera Temple：¥600
Address：246 Onjojicho, Otsu City
Access：10min. walk From Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line Miidera Sta.
Contact：Onjoji Temple TEL：077-522-2238 FAX：077-522-2221
【MIHO MUSEUM】Mid-Apr. – End of Apr.
About 80 weeping cherry trees are in full bloom along the pass between the Reception Pavilion and the Museum Building.
Address：300 Momodani Tashiro, Shigaraki-cho, Koka City
Access：Take a bus from the south exit of the JR Ishiyama station (Biwako Line), bound for MIHO MUSEUM, for about 50 min. (¥820).
Contact：MIHO MUSEUM TEL：0748-82-3411 FAX：0748-82-3414
- Spring Festivals in Shiga
- 【Sanno Festival】Apr. 12 ～ 14
Sanno Festival, one of the three big festivals of Shiga, takes place at Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine for over a month and half, beginning on March 1st. The main attraction runs from April 12 to 14. The Umanojinji ritual, in which two portable shrines, representing the marriage between two gods, are brought down from Mt. Ushio on the 12th. The Yoimiya Otoshi ritual, where portable shrines are rocked vigorously to simulate gods being born is on the 13th. The Awazu-no-Goku ritual, in which seven portable shrines are loaded onto a boat to cross a portion of Lake Biwa is on the 14th. This Shinto festival is both dynamic and spectacular.
Place：Around Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine 5-1-1 Sakamoto, Otsu City
Access：20 min. walk from JR Kosei Line Hieizan-sakamoto Sta. or,5 min. from Keihan Sakamoto Sta.
Contact：Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine TEL：077−578−0009
【Nagahama Hikiyama Festival】Apr 9 ～ 16 (every year)
Nagahama Hikiyama Festival is one of the three largest float festivals in Japan as well as one of the three big festivals of Shiga, and has been designated one of the nation's intangible folklore cultural assets. The children’s kabuki theater, performed by 5 to 12 years old boys on the night of the 13th, morning of the 14th and throughout the days of the 15th and 16th, astounds adults and captivates entire audiences. The parade of the child actors in costume on the night of the 14th and all the four Hikiyama floats illuminated by lanterns on the night of the 15th are a sight to see.
Place：Around Nagahama City 10 min. walk from JR Biwako Line Nagahama Sta.
Contact：Nagahama city Tourism Promotion Division
【Kusatsu Post Town Festival】Apr 26 around 10：00～19：30
Kusatsu Post Town Festival is one of the main spring events in Shiga. It is the 48th festival this year and nearly 80,000 people visit every year. The main attraction is the Procession of the Age where people in exquisite costumes strolls through the beautiful historic town. With local gourmet foods, stage performances by local participants and more, the festival continues to expand.
Place：Near 1 Kusatsu, Kusatsu City
Along previous Tokaido and Nakasendo routes, and around Kusatsu City Office.
Access：10 min. walk from JR Biwako Line Kusatsu Sta.
Contact：Kusatsu Post Town Festival Executive Committee（Kusatsu City Tourism Association）
- The Exciting Journey - Stunning Views - Shiga, Japan
- We are proud to announce the launch of our brand-new promotional video clip on YouTube!
Search on YouTube with #gobiwako.
Main Video : https://youtu.be/CAygjMripbc
Short Version : https://youtu.be/1TJqnfw6EBA
Filming Locations :
0:16 Hikone Castle
0:29 Azuchi Castle Ruins
0:40 Biwako Terrace
0:48 Tonda Puppet Hall
1:03 Matsukiya (Omi-beef)
1:12 Kanekichi (Omi-beef)
1:23 Shirahige Jinja Shrine
1:28 Koka Ninja Village
1:40 Omihachiman Waterway Cruise
1:45 Omi Jingu Shrine
1:56 Lake Yogo
2:02 Shigarakiyaki Ceramic
2.12 Hieizan Enryakuji Temple
- Special Experiences in Temples in Shiga
- Visiting temples in Shiga Prefecture can be about more than just sightseeing. A variety of experiences are on offer that allow you to come into contact with Buddhist teachings, including but far from limited to Zen meditation and hand-copying sutras.
You can select the beads for the rosary yourself, from materials that include power stones and natural wood. Once the rosary is completed a monk will pray over it, allowing you to commune with Buddha by wearing it and bringing you lasting peace.
Time Required: Around 30 minutes
Charge: From \1,000
Inquiries: Mii-dera Temple firstname.lastname@example.org
Tosenkyo is a darts-style game played by the Japanese nobility, sometimes called “fan tossing” in English. Other experiences on offer include wearing a kimono and the tea ceremony, allowing you to enjoy various facets of Japanese culture.
Time Required: 2 hours 30 minutes
Inquiries: Enmanin email@example.com
[Experience the Diet of a Buddhist Monk]
The diet of a Buddhist monk is similar to a vegetarian diet, using no meat or fish, and was originally created for the purposes of the monks as they undergo their harsh training. It is suitable for everyone, including vegetarians.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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 1800yen, children 1600yen, infants 1400yen
Strawberry & Blueberry Farm Felice
All you can eat for 30 minutes
Adults 1600yen, children 1400yen, infants 1000 yen
All you can eat for 30 minutes
Adults 2000yen、Children 1600yen、Infants 1000yen
Rock Bay Garden
Entrance free：100g/350 yen