News & Events
- Beauty Spots in Shiga
- An introduction to some of the best beauty spots in Shiga, where the sunrise and sunset across Lake Biwa are the most beautiful beyound doubt.
■Kohoku Mizudori Station
Kohoku Mizudori Station is located in a water bird park visited by a whole variety of wild birds throughout the year. The illusory sunset across the waters of the lake here is so stunning, it has even been placed among the top 100 in Japan. Once winter comes, birds that have travelled down from the north will also provide lively accompaniment to the sunset.
A shrine devoted to a god said to have seen the waters of Lake Biwa become a reed bed seven times while living on Hira for more than 60,000 years. With a large torii gate in the waters of the lake, it is often also called the "Itsukushima of Omi." Featured in poems by Basho Matsuo and Akiko Yosano, the scenery here continues to inspire people to this day.
- Enjoy Shiga Sightseeing from a Boat!
- Shiga Prefecture is often called "the land of water." How about enjoying some sightseeing from one of a selection of cruise boats?
Experience a cruise down the Setagawa River from a roofed boat while enjoying a meal made using the finest Shiga ingredients.
Hop aboard a retro paddle steamer and enjoy a range of historic and cultural spots, including Ishiyama-dera Temple and Seta no Karahashi Bridge.
Offers a variety of cruise plans, including the Michigan Cruise around the south of Lake Biwa, a complete circuit of the lake, and a cruise to Chikubushima island.
Take a cruise around the mysterious islands of Lake Biwa, including Chikubushima and Takeshima.
Explore Kohoku and the lake from an amphibious bus. A cheerful guide will lead the tour and point out places of interest.
- 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.
- Lake Biwa Flower Fountain
- The Lake Biwa Flower Fountain is one of the largest fountains in the world, located in the offing at Otsu Port, the gateway to Lake Biwa tourism.
Completed in March of 1995, it has become beloved by many locals and visitors alike.
Against the backdrop of beautiful Lake Biwa, the water reaches heights of up to 40m into the air, with varying volumes and angles depicting all sorts of shapes.
During the daytime you can enjoy the cool and refreshing scenery, while at night a fantastical world of colorful illumination is created.
Afternoon: 12:00 - 13:00
Evening (Sat, Sun, Holidays): 15:00 - 16:00 *Not on weekdays
Night: Between 18:00 - 21:00 *Changes depending on the day. The fountain is also illuminated.
4 min. on foot from Keihan Biwako Hamaotsu Station
- Japanese Confections from Shiga
- An introduction to uniquely Japanese confections that have remained popular in Shiga for generations.
They also make excellent gifts!
Watayo's decchi yokan (thick jellied sweets made of red bean paste, agar, and sugar), for which Omi-Hachiman is famous, are a long-standing confection with ties to the land of the renowned Omi merchants. Their uiro mochi (steamed cake made of rice flour and sugar), made with delicious Shiga-grown Omi rice, is also very highly regarded for its perfectly sticky texture.
■Ubaga Mochi Main Store
Ubaga mochi is a local confection representative of Shiga, created using traditional methods that have been passed down for more than 400 years. These innately Japanese confections feature mochi made with locally grown Kusatsu rice, wrapped around a reservedly sweet bean-paste center and then topped with white bean and yam decorations.
■Miidera Chikara Mochi Honke
Miidera Chikara Mochi is a rice-based confection created using traditional methods passed down since the founding of the company in 1869, and is now one of the most famous confections hailing from Shiga. The mochi is served on skewers with a sweet sauce and soy flour unique to the store, meaning you can only get a taste of it right here!
- 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.
- Sawazen Green Tea Experience
- How about a green tea experience in the town of ceramics famous for Shigaraki-yaki?
Sawazen offers a popular ceramics making experience, but that isn't all. There's another Japanese cultural experience that you can only have here.
Making green tea can look a bit complicated to start with, but the staff will guide you carefully through it, allowing anyone at all to take part. You can also enjoy some Japanese confections that go well with green tea.
Once the green tea experience is over, you can take a tea cup home as a souvenir.
This cup is, of course, made in the Shigaraki style, making it the perfect memento of your experience!
Participation Charges：2160yen per person
Required Time：Approx. 30 min.
- Hino Festival
- The traditional spring festival of Umami Okawatamuki-jinja Shrine, this is the largest festival in Hino with a history dating back more than 800 years.
It is held across May 2 and 3 every year. On the evening of May 2 "hikiyama" floats are dragged out into the streets across the town, their lanterns lighting up the night and setting the tone for a wonderful festival atmosphere.
During the main event on May 3, the Shinchosha and Kamiko who oversee the festival start their procession from early in the morning, and by noon dozens of floats from around the town are thronging within the shrine grounds. Three portable Mikoshi shrines also join the festivities, and for the entire day Hino is completely taken over by the festival.
Day Held：2017 May 2, evening - 22:00, May 3 8:00 - 20:00
Access：Take a bus from Ohmi Railway Hino Station, 3 min. on foot after alighting at "Mukomachi" bus stop
Location Held：Umami Okawatamuki-jinja Shrine, 711 Murai, Hino Town, Gamogun, Shiga
- Finding Fireflies!
- Blessed with beautifully clean air and water, taking in the sight of fireflies dancing in the night has become a summer tradition in Shiga.
Moriyama City and Maibara City both hold events related to fireflies.
Moriyama has long been known as region where Luciola "Japanese fireflies" gather,
and during the Taisho period (1912 - 1926) it was designated the first Natural Monument in Japan.
During the flying season at the end of May, you can see fireflies even close to the station.
Best Time for Viewing：Late May - early June
Access：A free shuttle bus departs from Moriyama Station to the firefly viewing spot (only during the period of the event)
The "Heavenly River Firefly Festival" is held in early June, during which you can watch Luciola "Japanese fireflies" dancing over the Amanogawa River.
Firefly lanterns are also placed along the walk routes in the vicinity of the venue, allowing the viewing of illusory firefly dances.
Best Time for Viewing：Early June - mid June
Access：5 min. on foot from JR Omi-Nagaoka Station
- The Best Soba Noodles in Shiga!
- An introduction to soba noodles from Shiga, a region blessed with rich nature and water.
■Honke Tsuruki Soba
A soba restaurant with more than 300 years of history, located in the town that flourished as the gateway to Hieizan Enryakuji Temple.
[Access]1 min. on foot from Keihan Sakamoto Station
■Tsuruki Soba Hieizan
A soba restaurant popular with visitors to Hieizan Enryakuji Temple. They opened around 280 years ago, when the founding owner opened a soba restaurant in Sakamoto.
[Access]Immediately on foot from Hieizan Enryakuji Temple
Seriously fundamental soba, passionately created using the spiritually rich waters from the foot of Mt. Ibukiyama and using no artificial additives of any kind.
[Access]15 min. by taxi from JR Omi-Nagaoka Station
■Kenjo Ibuki Soba Tsurukian
Carefully prepared buckwheat soba that uses wheat grown by contracted farms around the foothills of Mt. Ibukiyama, in combination with the famous subsoil water from the mountain.
[Access]8 min. on foot from JR Hikone Station
- Learn About Japanese Technology! Factory Tours!
Here you can view the history of KOKUYO, going back more than 100 years, through a range of rare and valuable materials. This is one of the largest notebook factories in Japan.
[Access]15 min. by taxi from Ohmi Railway Echigawa Station
[Participation Charges]100yen (reservation required)
Take a tour of a Kirin plant, where both soft drinks and beer are made. You can even sample freshly made beverages for yourself.
[Access]15 min. on foot from Ohmi Railway Screen Station
Observe toilets being made. You can also experiencing pouring a mold for a miniature toilet.
[Access]10 min. on foot from JR Mikumo Station
[Participation Charges]Free (reservation required)
UCC were the first company in the world to create canned coffee. A concierge will join you in experiencing how their delicious coffee is made.
[Access]15 min. on foot from Ohmi Railway Echigawa Station
[Participation Charges]Free (reservation required)
- Hachiman Festival
- The Hachiman Festival is a traditional event with more than a thousand years of history, starting from when Hidetsugu Toyotomi founded the town.
The festival takes place over 2 days, April 14 and 15 each year. April 14 is the eve of the festival, known as the Torch Festival, and has been selected as a national Intangible Folk Culture Asset. More than 30 torches are lit, including one over 10m, and the grandeur of them against the spring night, accompanied by a barrage of fireworks, is truly a sight to behold.
April 15, the main festival, sees a performance by large drums carried into the temple from across the region.
When compared to the grandeur of the Torch Festival from the night before, the main day features a more solemn atmosphere, and is also known as the Drum Festival.
[Day Held]April 14 Fire Offering 20:00 - (until around 23:00), April 15 15:30 - (around 19:00)
[Location Held]Himure Hachimangu Shrine, 257 Miyauchi-cho, Omi-Hachiman City, Shiga
[Access]10 min. on bus from JR Omi-Hachiman Station, alight at the "Osugi-cho" bus stop