News & Events
- The Rice Terraces of Shiga
- Shiga Prefecture has some truly beautiful rice terraces.
Particularly famous examples include the Hata Rice Terraces in Takashima City, and the Oogi Rice Terraces in Otsu City. The Hata Rice Terraces have been selected among the 100 beautiful rice terraces of Japan, and have also been used for the filming of movies. A small settlement there of around 40 buildings maintains the terraces under harsh conditions, at a height between 300 and 400 meters and an incline of 10 degrees.
Incredibly enough, it is said that people started to live in this region more than 2,000 years ago, during the Jomon Period. In modern times, the advancing age of those living in the settlement has created issues with the maintenance of the terraces, leading to the introduction of a terrace owner system which enables exchanges with visitors from the cities through planting and harvesting experiences.
Local Tour Operators :
- Three Islands on Lake Biwa
- Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, has three islands that can be visited, with regular routes sailing between them and the mainland.
A place of worship since ancient times, and also more recently popular as a spiritual power spot. It’s said that if you write a wish on a small tile and manage to throw it through the Torii gate then that wish will come true.
5 min. on foot from JR Imazu Station, approx. 15 min. by ship from Omi-Imazu Port
Charges: Adult 2,590 yen, elementary school child 1,300 yen
10 min. on foot from JR Nagahama Station, approx. 30 min. by ship from Nagahama Port
Charges: Adult 3,070 yen, elementary school child 1,540 yen
The only inhabited lake island in Japan. With no cars and no supermarket on the island, it allows you to take a look at life from olden times. Also famous for food using fish from Lake Biwa.
Take the Kyukamura-bound bus via Chomeiji Temple and alight at the Horikiriko bus stop. Approx. 10 min. by ship from Horikiri Port.
Charges: 500 yen one way.
An uninhabited island with sheer cliffs, the entire island is said to be a spiritual power spot. There are numerous famous places to see, including the Nichiren school Kentoji Temple and the stone monument said to have oozed blood when key Shogunate figure Naosuke Ii was assassinated.
Approx. 10 min. by free bus from JR Hikone Station, approx. 20 min. by ship from Hikone Port.
Charges: Without landing on the island 1,000 yen
With landing on the island 1,500 yen
*Children half price.
- Castles of Omi
- Due to being close to Kyoto and a key point for travel, the Omi region saw numerous battles featuring famous feudal warlords, including Nobunaga and Hideyoshi. The importance of the region also led those seeking to unify Japan to build castles here. These are a few of the castles that are truly representative of Omi.
Hikone-jo Castle is not only a National Treasure but is also exceptionally well preserved, even if all castles in Japan are considered, and attracts a large number of visitors throughout the year.
Azuchi-jo Castle is said to have been the first wooden high-rise building in the world, but it was burnt down only three years after being built and now only the ruins remains.
Nagahama-jo Castle is where feudal warlord Hideyoshi Toyotomi spent the end of the warring states period. It was abandoned at the start of the Edo period (1603 - 1868) and is now an archeological museum featuring a restoration of the castle from its glory days.
- O'pal Water Sports Experience
- A sports facility located on the shores of the lake at Ogoto. Here you can enjoy a wide range of lake-based marine sports, under the skilled and watchful eye of an instructor.
[Use by Schools for School Trips etc.]
Offers Lake Biwa Experience Courses aimed at school trips, out of school learning, and integrated learning. All sorts of courses are available, including learning about the environment along the shores of Lake Biwa or experiencing water sports. Plans can be tailored to suit the requirements of each school. * Capacity for 20 - 300 participants.
[Use by Families and Friends]
A marine sports school that caters to all, even beginners. Skilled instructors lead you safely through a range of possible experiences, including canoes, SUPs and yachts.
- Friendship Adventures Water Sports Experience
- At Friendship Adventures you can enjoy leisure water sports throughout the year.
Particularly popular are the water sports on the Setagawa River during summer!
■Setagawa River Rafting: Shiga is excellently located for access from across the Kansai region, making this rafting course on the Setagawa River the perfect way to enjoy a thrill ride with family and friends!
■Water Tubing: The explosively popular number one attraction! A heart-stopping adventure that takes you over waves and between rocks! This is the only place in all of Kansai to experience it!
■River Bugging: A new river sport fresh from New Zealand. Having first arrived in Japan in 2012, this is still the only place in the entire country to experience it!
- 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
- Recuperate in a Foot Bath!
- The Ogoto Onsen Sightseeing Park in Otsu City has a healing foot bath where you can wash away the exhaustion of your travels!
Foot baths allow you to enjoy some of the hot spring experience without having to strip all the way down! Rather than submerging your entire body, here you only bathe your feet and lower legs, meaning you're also far less likely to get dizzy after bathing. As you have large veins in your feet, it's also a great way to warm up your entire body! The water here has a pH of 9, making it very mellow and relaxing.
[Effective For] Nerve pain, muscle pain, joint pain, stiff shoulders, motor paralysis, bruises, chronic digestive disease, poor circulation, fatigue etc., also has skin beautification properties
Foot Bath, Ogoto Onsen Sightseeing Park, Otsu City
■Open：8:00 - 18:00
■Access：20 min. on foot from JR Ogoto Onsen Station
- Stay in Traditional Homes in Shiga
- There are probably many who don’t know of Shiga Prefecture, but in fact Otsu, the city where the Shiga Prefectural Office is located, is just two stations and 9 minutes from Kyoto Station.
Kyoto is so packed with tourists, and if you stay there and sightsee there, it may be difficult to achieve a true feeling of relaxation amid all the crowds of people.
If you want to see Kyoto, but are also looking for lodgings where you can really relax, why not stay in Shiga Prefecture?
Here’s an information-packed introduction to a selection of Shiga lodging facilities that have been created by refurbishing traditional homes.
Hotel Koo Otsuhyakucho
Lodgings created by refurbishing a number of old homes, and conveniently located close to JR Otsu Station. A nationally registered tangible cultural property. Stylish lodgings that fuse Japanese traditional culture with the modern.
Japanesque Villa Ichien
This is your chance to stay in a building that’s a nationally registered tangible cultural property. Take a relaxing break in a peaceful mountain village. Requires prior booking and only operates on Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and during the spring and summer holiday periods.
A lodging facility created by refurbishing a house of around 100 years in the city of Omihachiman. The entire house is offered to just a single party at a time. You can watch the boats sailing the Hachiman Canals right from your window, and during the spring blossom season you can also enjoy the cherry blooming along the water.
Lodgings in an old-time traditional Japanese house with a striking thatched roof, as though you’ve slipped back into history. The owners will also provide meals, made with the best seasonal ingredients and delicious rice.
- 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
- Seasons Greetings from Inbound Tourism Department, Biwako Visitors Bureau
- Happy Holiday Seasons!
Wishing you peace, love, and joy this holiday season and throughout 2021.
Pray to end Covid-19 soon....
Visit our website : http://en.biwako-visitors.jp/
- Webinar “Reasons why Shiga and Lake Biwa should be your top travel destination post-COVID-19”
- The COVID-19 pandemic faced by the world in 2020 has left many people unable to enjoy travel overseas. Even those traveling domestically are showing a tendency to avoid activities that crowd people into smaller spaces, and the overall awareness of “travel” is starting to change.
Shiga Prefecture can be reached in just nine minutes by train from the popular tourist destination of Kyoto, and yet is rich in nature and open spaces. At the center of the prefecture there lies the largest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa, and the region offers ample opportunities for a relaxed and laid-back trip in the clean air and while avoiding any crowds.
We have now created a webinar introducing a relaxing stay in Shiga in a completely private lodging facility for just you and your family or friends, as well information on some of the activities the prefecture has to offer. Please check it out!
We are also currently accepting applications for familiarization trips for employees from travel companies or tour operators, social media influencers, and members of the media. If you wish to make such an application, please complete the form below and send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reasons why Shiga and Lake Biwa should be your top travel destination post-COVID-19
go.biwako Official YouTube
- Dedicate a “Wish Daruma” doll on Chikubushima Island!
- Chikubushima Island is found on Lake Biwa. Here’s the way to dedicate a traditional “Wish Daruma” doll to the goddess Benzaiten, who is believed to free people from suffering and lead them into happiness.
(1) Write your wish along with your name on a special piece of paper.
(2) After finishing writing on the paper, roll it up into a tube shape.
(3) Insert the paper into the hole on the bottom of the daruma doll.
(4) Have someone from the shrine office seal the wish inside using a special sticker.
(5) Dedicate the doll in the main hall, pay a prayer fee of 500 yen, and you are finished!
Please note that you cannot take the Wish Daruma doll home with you. However, if you make an additional donation along with your 500 yen prayer fee, you can receive a non-retail “Wish Daruma strap” to take home.
Here’s hoping that your wish comes true!