History / Culture / Tour Spots in Shiga Area

  • Hikone Castle
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    4.0
    1076 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Hikoneshi Konkichou 1-1
    A castle built over a period of some 20 years by Ii Naokatsu, the son of Ii Naomasa, who was counted as one of Tokugawa Ieyasu’s four greatest generals. Many of the structures, including the castle tower; turrets; and the Genkyuen, a garden for the Shimoyashiki villa; look as they did when first constructed and are designated National Treasures. The large horse stable, with its walls built in the early modern period, is a particularly rare example of such a structure and is designated a national Important Cultural Property. The inner moat can be circled in a pleasure boat that belonged to the Ii clan; ride it and you will feel like a daimyo (feudal lord) yourself.

    The castle and museum is about 15-20 mins walk from Hikone station. It is surrounded by a moat and there is a palace museum. There is entrance fees. Also a park surrounding it.

  • Enryakuji
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    4.5
    579 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Otsushi Sakamotohonmachi 4220

    This is the birthplace of Zen Buddhism. The Enryaku hotel was, traditional Japanese style, very clean and comfortable- staff was very pleasant and helpful. The food breakfast and dinner was included...

  • Shirahige-jinja Shrine
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    4.0
    221 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Takashimashi Ukawa 215
    A Shinto shrine situated along the Nishi-Oumi Highway in Ukawa, Takashima City. Dedicated to Sarutahiko-no-mikoto, the shrine is said to grant worshippers long life. Because of the shrine’s large torii gate standing in the waters of Lake Biwa, the shrine is also known as the “Itsukushima of Omi.”

    It is an easy flat walk from Omi-Takashima Station to the shrine with lots to see along the way - Omizo Castle ruins, Otomegaike Pond, rice fields and the 48 buddhas. We took lunch and picnicked at...

  • Ishiyama-dera Temple
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    4.5
    343 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Otsushi Ishiyamadera 1-1-1
    This is a temple of the To-ji Temple Shingon sect which is located in Otsu City. It was founded in 747 at the request of Emperor Shomu. It is known as one of the most famous Kannon temples in Japan, also being the stamp office for temple number 13 of the Saigoku Sanjusansho Kannon Pilgrimage. In addition, it is said that this was the place where Murasaki Shikibu got her inspiration for the idea of the Tale of Genji, and it also appears in literary works such as “Makura no Soshi” (the Pillow Book) and “Sarashina Nikki” (The Sarashina Diary). In the temple, there are many National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties such as the oldest Taho-to (a pagoda that enshrines the Buddha) and the oldest main temple building in Japan, so there is no shortage of highlights. It is also a famous place for its autumnal leaves and the illumination in the evening is worth seeing.

    We drove southward from the center of Otsu City along Lake Biwa. As we drove on, the lake became narrower, and finally became a river, Seta River. When the river started running southward, we got...

  • Kurokabe Square
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    4.0
    338 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Nagahamashi Motohamachou 12-38
    Long known by the nickname “the Kurokabe Bank (Black Wall Bank),” this remodeled former bank building houses the Kurokabe Glass Shop as well as a gallery and restaurant, and has come to be known as the largest space exhibiting glass crafts in western Japan. In addition to glass and porcelain, visitors can also enjoy trying their hand at making a diorama in the popular Kaiyodo Figure Museum.

    Went there mainly to visit Kaiyodo Museum but we found lots of good food! Try the sweet potato sweets, theyre worth it!

  • Taga Taisya Shrine
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    4.0
    145 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Inukamiguntagachou Taga 604
    A Shinto shrine located in Taga, Taga Town, Inukami County, Shiga Prefecture. The shrine is dedicated to the gods Izanagi-no-Okami and Izanami-no-Okami. Known locally as “O-Taga-san,” the shrine is believed to grant worshippers long life and luck in love. During the Kugatsu Korei-sai festival on September 9, a “Kochi Kochi” sumo competition is held which predicts whether the year’s harvests will be good or poor.

    Peaceful,quiet,clean air... You can refresh your mind. Also you can buy some local foods and staffs around this shrine. Many shop are there.

  • Lake Biwa Museum
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    4.5
    152 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Shiga Pref. Kusatsushi Oroshimochou 1091
    Focusing on Lake Biwa, this museum explores the relationship between people and the lake. The museum’s aquarium exhibit, displaying the freshwater animals in general and particularly those found in Lake Biwa, is one of the largest in Japan. Some of the museum’s numerous points of note include an exhibit of endemic species such as the Lake Biwa catfish and a 10-meter-long tunnel aquarium which allows visitors to walk under the water and enjoy freshwater fish from around the world. There are also dioramas presenting the history of Lake Biwa and exhibits presenting items once used by people living in the areas. The museum restaurant’s black bass dishes are popular with visitors. Take the bus from JR Kusatsu Station and get off at Biwako Hakubutsukan-mae.

    This is a nice place to visit in Shiga. So nicely preserved and displayed the history of Lake Biwa. You can also see most of the species lives in the Lake Biwa in the aquarium part. Even the...

  • Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine
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    4.0
    178 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Otsushi Sakamoto 5-1-1
    A Shinto shrine located in Sakamoto, Otsu City. The shrine was founded some 2,100 years ago. The shrine is also the head shrine of all 3,800 Hiyoshi, Hie, and Sanno shrines in Japan. Positioned in the unlucky direction northeast of the ancient capital of Heian-kyo, the shrine is believed to provide protection from misfortune and disaster and even today worshippers come here to receive these benefits. 3,000 maple trees grow on the shrine’s grounds, making it a renowned destination for autumn foliage in the fall as well.

    This shrine locates at the foot of the mountain which accommodates the Enryakuji. We stopped by on our way and find it very relaxing but sorry to say that the Enryakuji overwhelmed us. But I was...

  • Himure Hachimangu Shrine
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    4.0
    152 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Oumihachimanshi Miyauchichou 257
    The Omi merchants had faith in this Shinto shrine from the days of old. According to tradition, the Emperor Seimu established it to worship Oshima Okami in 131 AD. The three Shinto gods now enshrined there are Hontawake-no-Mikoto, Okinagatarashihime-no-mikoto, and Himekami. The shrine holds two fire festivals: The Sagicho Festival in March, consisting of a competition where parishioners make portable shrines covered with talismans, and the Hachiman Festival in April where they burn an enormous 10-meter-tall torch.

    This shrine is beautiful and worth stopping by. Best of all no entrance and is well kept. Restroom is across the street from the shrine. Many Japanese people come here for short prayers. We took a...

  • Nagahama Castle Historical Museum
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    3.5
    191 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Shiga Pref. Nagahamashi Kouenchou 10-10
    A museum located on the site of the Nagahama Castle Ruins in Koen-cho, Nagahama City. The museum operates out of a restoration of the castle based on how it would have looked in the distant Azuchi-Momoyama period. The museum’s standing exhibition looks at the history of the northern Lake Biwa area and Nagahama; the mighty samurai lord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who built Nagahama Castle; and other themes relating to Nagahama. The museum also holds special exhibitions on the Nagahama area and historical figures like Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

    This small castle is a short walk from the Nagahama JR station and has a great view out over Lake Biwa. It was one of Hideyoshi Toyotomis first castles and the museum explains some of the history of...

  • Hikone Castle Museum
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    4.0
    164 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Shiga Pref. Hikoneshi Konkichou 1-1
    A museum located in Konki-cho, Hikone City. The museum is located on the site of Hikone Castle’s front palace and operates out of a recreation of that now destroyed structure. The museum contains some 45,000 pieces of valuable works of art, handicrafts, and ancient documents handed down for generations in the Ii clan, who once ruled ancient Hikone domain; as well as over 91,000 items relating to Hikone.

    The Hikone Castle Museum located halfway between the JR Hakone Station and the Castle. Worth to pay a visit there in order to know more information and view the artifacts about the area in the past...

  • Ukimido
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    4.0
    121 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Otsushi Honkatata 1-16-18
    A temple building located on the grounds of the Mangetsu-ji Buddhist temple in Honkatata, Otsu City. The temple building was built on the waters of Lake Biwa by the priest Genshin in the Heian period to pray for safety on the lake as well as the salvation of the masses. The current building is a reconstruction erected in 1937. The temple building is also known for being depicted in one of the traditional picturesque “Eight Views of Omi”—in this case, the view titled “Geese Alighting at Katata.”

    Nice view, nice area, but not worth paying an entrance fee for. Could get a photo through the fence to the side.

  • "Azuchi Castle Museum “The House of Nobunaga"""
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    4.0
    98 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Shiga Pref. Oumihachimanshi Aduchichoukuwanomiji 800
    A museum located in Kuwanomiji Azuchi-cho, Omihachiman City. Inside the museum is a life-sized recreation of the tower of Azuchi Castle originally built for Seville Expo ’92 in Spain. The structure includes recreations of the tower’s artistic touches, as well, such as a room partition painting of the powerful samurai lord Oda Nobunaga created by the renowned Japanese painter Kano Eitoku; and the tower exterior itself, which is decorated with 100 thousand sheets of gold leaf.

    安土城レプリカでも見ようかと思い訪れましたがなんと「臨時休館」です。これもコロナ禍の影響でしょうか?見る限りさほど大きな建屋ではないので、展示物も大したことないのかもしれませんが、、

  • Nagahama Railway Museum
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    4.0
    104 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Shiga Pref. Nagahamashi Kitafunachou 1-41
    A railroad museum located in Kitafuna-cho, Nagahama City. The museum consists of the former Nagahama Station building, constructed in 1882 and the oldest extant station building in Japan; the Nagahama Railway Culture Hall, and the Hokuriku Line Electrification Memorial Hall. Visitors can tour areas of the station building such as the old waiting area and stationmaster’s office as well as view relevant exhibits. In addition, the museum has train models, a D51 steam locomotive which visitors are allowed to sit in the driver’s seat, and an ED70 ac electric locomotive. The museum’s observation deck offers a super close view of the trains running on the Hokuriku Line track.

    The building sits nicely on its site. It is said to be the oldest existing railroad station building in the country. We were here for autumn foliage and the trees in front of the building were at...

  • Tachiki Kannon
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    4.5
    41 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Otsushi Ishiyamanangouchou Okuyama 1231
    A Buddhist temple located in Ishiyamanango-cho, Otsu City. According to legend, in the Heian period, the great monk Kobo Daishi became stranded amidst the rapids of the Seda River; a white deer allowed him to ride it to safety, after which it transformed into the Kanzeon Bodhisattva. Deeply moved, the monk carved a figure of the deity with his own hands and founded the temple here. Because this occurred when Kobo Daishi was the unlucky age of 42, this temple has long been believed to grant worshippers protection from misfortune.

    On a narrow section of road near a wide river that flows from lake Biwa in Shiga Prefecture near Kyoto lies a formidable task for the unprepared traveller. you start directly from the road and climb...

  • MIHO MUSEUM
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    4.0
    11 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Shiga Pref. Koukashi Shigarakichoutashiro Momotani 300
    This unique design of this art museum in Koka City, Shiga was created by famous architect, I. M. Pei who was also responsible for designing the glass pyramid at the Musee de Louvre. Built to evoke the image of Shangri-La, 80% of the building is underground allowing it to assimilate into the beautiful natural surroundings. Over 3,000 pieces of art are on display in four exhibition rooms which cover Egypt, Western-Asia, Southern-Asia, and the Western Regions of China and special themed exhibits are also held. * The museum is closed for the winter until March 20th, 2019.

    I watched 133 masks of Japanese No play. Each mask had its mystic and profound beauty and gave me a chance to look into my inner self. Exhausted! And I needed a cafe, and there came out a cafe at...

  • Tarobogu Shrine (Aga-jinja Shrine)
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    4.5
    54 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Higashioumishi Owakichou 2247
    A Shinto shrine located in Owaki-cho, Higashiomi City. Dedicated to Masaka-Akatsu-Kachihaya-Hiame-no-Oshihomimi-no-mikoto, first son of Amaterasu-Omikami, according to legend “Tarobo” is derived from the name of a tengu goblin that protected the shrine. The shrine is said to grant worshippers victory and better fortunes, and, further, these boons are said to be granted quickly; accordingly, the shrine has attracted large numbers of worshippers since ancient times and has said to have been visited by such famous historic personages as the great monk Saicho and the samurai Minamoto no Yoshitsune.

    随分久しぶりの参拝です。参集殿の前まで車で上れるのですが、成願寺前の駐車場から石段を登ります。麓から登るよりは幾分楽ですがそこそこハードです。途中に登録有形文化財で総花崗岩造りの「中門」を経由できるのがベネフィットです。 派手な参集殿の脇から表参道の石段を進みます。拝殿、神楽殿などを経由し、こちらの象徴ともいうべき夫婦岩をくぐります。悪事を働く者は挟まれることになっていますが難なく通過し、日頃の...

  • Koka Ninja House
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    4.0
    63 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Shiga Pref. Koukashi Kounanchouryuboushi 2331
    A sort of real ninja theme park filled with secret ninja tricks located in Ryuboshi Konan-cho, Koka City. The residence was built around 1700, during the Edo period, by the Mochizuki Koka ninja clan. Preparing for the unexpected, the house was filled with tricks and traps, including trick windows, rotating walls, and drop pits. Items used as part of daily ninja life are also on display here.

    Although it is a guided tour conducted in Japanese, we were able to follow the tour as the staff passed us a folder with English description and she helped us along the way. It is amazing to...

  • Nagahama Betsuin Daitsuji Temple (Gobou-san)
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    3.5
    84 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Nagahamashi Motohamachou 32-9
    This is a temple of the Otani sect of Shinshu that has long been fondly known by the nickname of “Gobo-san”, whose origins lie in its establishment on the site of Nagahama Castle in 1602. Thereafter, it was moved to its current location in 1652. You can catch a glimpse of the splendid Momoyama culture in the main hall and the banquet hall which are said to be the remains of Fushimi castle and have been designated as National Important Cultural Properties. Within the temple grounds, there is also Ganzanken Japanese Garden, a kanshoshiki kare-sansui (“dry landscape”) garden, and there is also the Rantei Japanese Garden which is a National Place of Scenic Beauty. The temple is famous for having a great number of cultural properties such as paintings on paper sliding doors and screens.

    It was not in my plan, however, I am glad that I did pay a visit. The temple was big (the section which you had to pay to enter). They had a plant that stated at least 250 years old. The garden...

  • Kinomoto Jizoin Temple
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    4.0
    42 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Nagahamashi Kinomotochoukinomoto 944
    A Buddhist temple located in Kinomoto Kinomoto-cho, Nagahama City. The temple’s founding is said to date back to the Hakuho period (645–710), and temple records state that it was visited by such eminent figures as the great monk Kukai and shogun Ashikaga Takauji. The temple’s principal object of worship is known as the “Eye Buddha;” a hidden Buddha not normally made viewable to the public, a Kshitigarbha figure modeled after this statue stands on the grounds, with a frog with one eye closed called the “Stand-in Frogs” sitting at the figure’s feet.

    北国街道木之本宿の中心にある、木之本のお地蔵さん。日本三大地蔵のひとつ。本尊は秘仏です。木之本宿を散策した際に参拝。御朱印は本堂内でいただけます。

Shiga Areas

around-area-map

Visitors to Shiga prefecture are almost always hopping east across the prefectural border from Kyoto, and they are almost certainly Lake Biwa-bound. Covering an area of 670 square kilometers, Lake Biwa makes up the bulk of Shiga prefecture, with beautiful lakeside paths that offer myriad walking and cycling opportunities, connecting a string of museums, shrines, and picturesque views that finally lead you to Hikone Castle on the eastern side of the lake.

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