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!
- Celebrating the opening of the “Alps Gym,” the largest facility of its type in west Japan!
- A new athletic facility has opened in Blumen Hugel Farm, Hino-cho, Shiga. The massive German-made athletics structure stands at a height of 17m, making it the largest in west Japan. There are thrills to be found for everyone from children to adults, including authentic bouldering, and attractions such as crossing a log bridge on a bicycle. See if you can defeat the 72 challenges that await you here!
Blumen Hugel Farm Admission fee: Adult 1,000 yen, children 4 year or older 600 yen
Additional charges apply for use of the Alps Gym.
Adults 3,000 yen, elementary school children 2,000 yen
You may use the facilities for 60 minutes. Participants must be at least 125cm tall and no heavier than 120 kilos.
Parking is free.
Business hours: 10:00 - 17:00 (weekdays), 9:30 - 18:00 (weekends)
- Dress up like a hina doll and take a ceremonial photo!
- March 3 is the Hina Festival in Japan.
Around 110 sets of hina dolls are currently on display, including those belonging to the Omi Merchants of Gokasho who were active from the end of the Edo period to the Showa pre-war period. While they are on display, an event is also being held in which you can dress up like a hina doll and take a ceremonial photo. The results should look great on social media!
Period: Until March 20 (Wed)
◆Venue / Time: Nine venues around Gokasho, Higashi-Omi / 9:30 - 16:30
◆Charge: For example, 3 venue ticket for the Omi Merchant Houses (the Shigeru Tonomura House, Uhee Tonomura House, and Jungoro Nakae House) adults 600 yen, elementary school children 300 yen
◆Houses Closed: Feb 12 (Tue), Mar 11 (Mon)
◆Access: From JR Notogawa Station, take the Omi Bus bound for Yokaichi Station and alight at the “Plaza Sanpo Yoshi Mae” stop, then walk for 5 - 20 minutes.
◆Inquiries: Higashi Omi Tourist Association: http://www.higashiomi.net/
- 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.
- 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.
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 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
- 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