News & Events
- 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!
- A Sea of Clouds at Mysterious Onyudani-toge
- The “sea of clouds” is a phenomena you can only see on cold, early mornings during November, at the start of winter. Onyudani-toge in Takashima City, Shiga is known as a particularly mysterious spot to view the sea of clouds.
If you get lucky you may even be able to capture the perfect photo of this incredible sight.
All due care should be taken as cold mornings from November onward can cause the road surface to freeze.
Address: Kutsuki Onyudani, Takashima shi, Shiga Prefecture, 520-1443
Access: Approx. 90 mins by car from JR Adogawa Station, approx. 60 mins by car from Roadside Station Kutsuki Shin-Honjin
- Ishiyama-dera Temple Fall Moon Festival
- It is said that Murasaki Shikibu, the author of The Tale of Genji, visited Ishiyama-dera Temple around 1,000 years ago and started to write The Tale of Genji while looking at the full moon reflected in the waters of Lake Biwa. This has led to Ishiyama-dera Temple holding their Fall Moon Festival around the time of the harvest moon each year.
More than 2,000 lanterns create an illusory and ethereal world inside the temple grounds, while the two storied pagoda National Treasure is wonderfully floodlit. A variety of events are also held during the period of the festival, including events related to The Tale of Genji in the main temple.
[Date] September 25, 26, 27 18:00 - 21:00
[Location Held] Ishiyama-dera Temple (1-1-1 Ishiyamadera, Otsu City, Shiga)
[Access] 10 min. on foot from Keihan Ishiyamadera Station
[Admission Charges] 600 JPY
- 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!
- Water Sports Experience at J and F Sports
- Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan, is the perfect place to experience the latest marine sports fresh from America.
The jetpack and jet blade are propelled into the air by jets of water, provided through a hose connected to them from a jet ski.
With water streaming from your shoulders and legs, experience what it's like to fly freely through the air.
People who aren't strong swimmers or beginners can still easily get up into the air, with additional instruction provided by an experienced instructor, meaning that anyone age 12 and over can give it a go!
Some items available for rental (wetsuit / drysuit: 10,000 yen)
(Lifejacket / helmet: free)
- 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.
- The special ”Stay Home Discover Shiga” website is now open!
- As people refrain from traveling to aid in preventing the spread of COVID-19, we have opened the Stay Home Discover Shiga website in order to bring special products from Shiga and Lake Biwa to the world.
The site features an introduction to a range of products from Shiga Prefecture that can also be ordered by customers overseas.
While Shiga is located adjacent to Kyoto, and can be reached from Kyoto in just 10 minutes by regular train, it has none of the congestion of its neighbor, while also boasting verdant nature and the largest lake in Japan, Lake Biwa.
Once the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, we hope to be able to welcome you in person to Shiga and Lake Biwa.
You can view Stay Home Discover Shiga from the following link.
- Glamping in Shiga!
- Introduction to facilities on Lake Biwa and in the surrounding area where you can enjoy some glamping.
L' Hôtel Du Lac
Experience glamping while looking out over Lake Biwa and Chikubushima island.
Okubiwako Makino Grand Park Hotel
Enjoy standup paddle boarding and kayaking on a private beach.
Glamping facilities that allow BBQs and standup paddle board yoga to be enjoyed without the need to bring in any of your own equipment.
The largest glamping facility in Shiga.
- Experience Rural Life in Shiga
- How about experiencing a home-stay or life in a farming village amid the rich nature of Shiga?
You're sure to experience something that can only be found here.
■Koka City Countryside Experience
Koka City offers a "Countryside Experience in the Koka Ninja Village," aimed at educational trips (school trips, outside activities) and allowing junior high and high school students to experience life in agricultural villages and home-stays.
■Higashi Omi City Countryside Experience
In Higashi Omi City you can experience traditional family businesses, cooking, planting and harvesting.
Warm interaction with the household that takes you in will provide a precious experience that you can't get in the city.
■Omi Hino Countryside Experience
Requests for educational trips, training trips and just simple visits are proactively accepted.
The Omi Hino Countryside Experience is also open to the general public.
You can experience life in an agricultural village and a home-stay.
- 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!
- National Treasures and Cultural Assets of Shiga - Yasu 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 shrines in the Yasu region.
The main shrine at Mikami-jinja is the first National Treasure for shrine construction in the prefecture.
Approximately 700 years old, it uses so-called "Mikami construction," combining shrine, temple and palace styles in one.
The shrine construction is fused with numerous elements you would be more likely to see on a Buddhist temple, including a gabled, hipped roof, plaster walls and lattice windows.
Though simple, its striking appearance makes it truly representative of shrine construction in the middle ages.
Osasahara-jinja Shrine is said to have been founded in 986, but the plaque in the National Treasure main shrine states that it was constructed in 1414.
The use of a front chamber and the plane format, with a pronounced edge around the four sides and then a second edge one step lower, is common among the shrines from the middle ages that remain in Shiga.
The attention to detail on the carvings is also truly breathtaking.
- National Treasures and Cultural Assets of Shiga - Koto 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 castle and two temples in the Koto region.
Work started on Hikone-jo Castle in 1604, and took around 20 years to complete. The castle tower itself used materials brought from the five storey Otsu-jo Castle, and is said to have been completed in 1607. The tower is a designated National Treasure, with a combination of different roofing styles that is truly breathtaking.
One of Shiga Prefecture's representative examples of Kamakura period (1192 to 1333) construction, the main temple is designated as the first National Treasure. Constructed in a stunningly beautiful, highly Japanese style, it features a low gradient cypress bark roof and highly decorative curved wooden supports on all the front-facing latticed shutters and the tops of pillars.
"The elegant main temple was created during the Kamakura period (1192 to 1333) to commemorate victory in the Mongol invasions of Japan. It is a National Treasure, while the three storey pagoda in the upper left and the gate in front are Important Cultural Assets.
The ten pieces inside the main temple, including a standing statue of Acala, are all also from the Kamakura period (1192 to 1333) and are Important Cultural Assets, providing a wonderful opportunity to see real history up close."