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History / Culture / Tour Spots in Shiga Area

  • Hikone Castle
    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.
  • Taga Taisya Shrine
    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.
  • Enryakuji
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    4.0
    4 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Otsushi Sakamotohonmachi 4220

    早朝訪問の為か、まだ扉が閉まっていました。説明書きを読むと日本中の神仏は勿論のこと世界中の神様の集合させてお祈りしているそうです。そういえば仏教というのは他の宗教の神様を取り入れ、仏教の仏様として受け入れる宗教なので、他の宗教の神も拝むことが出来るのかなと考えてしまいます。

  • Sagawa Art Museum
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    4.0
    2 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Shiga Pref. Moriyamashi Mizuhochou Kitagawa 2891
    An art museum located in Kitagawa Mizuho-cho, Moriyama City. The museum’s collection consists of pieces by Japanese painter Ikuo Hirayama, sculptor Churyo Sato, and ceramic artist Kichizaemon Raku. The museum has three standing exhibit halls each supervised by one of the artists. The museum also holds special exhibitions of other artists’ works. In addition, the museum owns a Buddhist temple bell designated a National Treasure which was originally cast in 858 to serve as the bell for the Hodoin west bell tower at the Enryaku-ji Temple (note that this bell is not normally put on display).

    佐川美術館のカフェレストランSAM。 企画展を観に来て、帰りのバスに乗るまでの時間つぶしに入った。 その日は土曜で、私同様に田中一村展目当てで来た客が多く、入口の順番待ちリストに名前書いてから待合イスに座って待った。 このリスト、相席可否が書き込めるのがいいね。これって、ありそうでないシステムだ。一人の私は当然、「相席可」。 10分もしないうちに呼ばれて、8人掛けくらいの円形テーブルへ。 その卓...

  • Ishiyama-dera Temple
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    4.5
    296 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.

    This place is more like a garden with lots of beautiful flowers than a temple. The environment is quiet and peaceful, not like other parks with too many tourists from other places. Be prepared to...

  • Shirahige-jinja Shrine
    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.”
  • Omi Jingu Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Otsushi Jinguchou 1-1
    A Shinto shrine located in Jingu-cho, Otsu City. The shrine was established in 1940. The shrine is dedicated to Emperor Tenji, who implemented various policies and reforms, and accordingly the shrine is believed to grant worshippers better fortunes and guidance; because of the shrine’s large “rokoku” water clock, time is also believed to fall under the shrine’s domain. A poem by Emperor Tenji appears as the first entry in the ancient “Ogura Anthology of 100 Tanka by 100 Poets,” and in turn the shrine is also viewed as a mecca for players of the Japanese game karuta—a card game which involves hearing the first half of a poem and racing to find the correct card inscribed with the second half; a “Karuta Opening Ceremony” is held at the shrine and a national karuta competition is also held here.
  • Biwako Hall Center for the Performing Arts, Shiga
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    4.0
    2 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Shiga Pref. Otsushi Uchidehama 15-1
    This performing arts theater is run by Shiga Prefecture. It has a large hall with a quadruple stage, the largest in Western Japan. Its mid-sized hall is used for theatrical plays, and it has a smaller hall for concerts. It's in a beautiful location with Lake Biwa in the background, and it gets rave reviews from the artists who come to Japan to perform there. It was chosen as one of the country's top 100 venues by the Sound Engineers and Artists Society of Japan. They regularly hold a variety of musical performances including opera, ballet, and classical music concerts.

    平井大さんのワンマンLiveがあり、その際に訪れました。大ホールでもステージに近い印象で非常に良かったです。また、私は2階席で落ち着いていました。

  • Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine
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    4.0
    142 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...

  • Onjo-ji (Mii-dera) Temple
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    4.5
    219 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Otsushi Onjoujichou 246
    The Onjo-ji Temple is the head temple of the Tendaijimon Buddhist sect and is located in Otsu City. The temple is also known as one of the “Omi Hakkei” (Best 8 scenic spots in Omi) (Mii-no-Bansho lit. the temple’s evening bell). In the main temple structure which is a National Treasure, the principal image of Miroku Bosatsu (Maitreya Bodhisattva) is said to be enshrined, but since it is unconditionally a Buddhist image withheld from public view, it is not made public. Kannondo and Shakado, the stamp office for temple number 14 of Saigoku Sanjusansho Kannon Pilgrimage stand lined up within the temple, which possesses a great many National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. It is also a well-known spot for its autumnal leaves.

    We visited this place at the sakura (cherry blossoms) season but it was not crowded with tourists as expected. Actually we could walk quite leisurely around and enjoy the beautiful view. There was a...

  • MIHO MUSEUM
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    4.5
    284 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.

    The architecture of this museum is of course gorgeous as it was designed by IM Pei but the museum itself is quite small. I was shocked to see that the largest exhibits were Chinese art. I would have...

  • Kurokabe Square
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    4.0
    301 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, they're worth it!

  • Hikiyama Museum
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    3.5
    39 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Shiga Pref. Nagahamashi Motohamachou 14-8
    It is a museum concerning one of the three largest float festivals in Japan, the “Nagahama Hikiyama Festival” which is registered as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage, and is held in April every year in Nagahama City. There are four festival floats in the collection, two of which are exhibited in the museum. These luxurious and gorgeous ornaments with gold engraving, wood carving and lacquer coating are a must see. There are also an exhibition of stage dummies and a “Kid’s Kabuki” (Japanese classical drama) video show, which is performed on one of the stage floats that is a highlight of the festival. There is also a coffee shop at the museum.

    Small museum located in Kurobe Square - 10 minutes walk from station. Displays showcase the Hikiyama Matsuri which takes place in April, highlighting the role children play in the performance...

  • Nagahama Betsuin Daitsuji Temple (Gobou-san)
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    3.5
    66 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...

  • Lake Biwa Museum
    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.
  • Nagahama Hachimangu Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Nagahamashi Miyamaechou 13-55
    "This shrine honoring Nagahama's patron deity has been there since the Heian Period. The deity was installed there in 1069 from Iwashimizu Hachimangu Shrine, and it's been the region's protective spirit ever since. The shrine declined temporarily during the Warring States Period, but the lord of Nagahama Castle, Hashiba Hideyoshi, favored the shrine and it regained its status. The Nagahama Hikiyama Festival is its main celebration is especially famous. Held yearly from April 13 to 16, area children perform extravagant ""Kids Kabuki"" shows on top of flamboyant festival floats. "
  • Himure Hachimangu Shrine
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    3.5
    122 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.

    We took a quick look at Himurehacimangu while walking from the canal to the cable car ropeway, but no real reason to stop for more than five minutes.

  • Otsumatsuri Exhibition Pavilion
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    4.0
    32 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Shiga Pref. Otsushi Chuou 1-2-27
    "The Otsumatsuri Exhibition Pavilion is located around five minutes' drive from the Otsu Interchange on the Meishin Expressway. The exhibits displayed in the Pavilion include artifacts and materials relating to the Otsu Matsuri (Otsu Festival), which is held in Otsu City, to the southwest of Lake Biwa, and which has been designated as a National Important Intangible Folk Cultural Property, as well as life-size replicas of the Hikiyama floats used in the festival. The emphasis in the displays within the Pavilion is on ""enabling visitors to experience the fun and excitement of the Otsu Matsuri,"" and visitors can view video footage of the actual festival. The ""Ohayashi Experience"" area, in which visitors can try their hand at playing ohayashi festival music using such traditional instruments as gongs and Taiko big drums and so on, is very popular with children."

    丸屋町アーケード商店街にある展示館です。大津祭の原寸大の曳山模型や装飾品などを展示しています。また、からくりに様子を映像で見ることができます。館内にはお囃子が流れ、祭気分を味わうことができます。

  • KONGOURINJI -Temple
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    5.0
    4 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Pref. Echigunaishouchou Matsuoji 874
    A Buddhist temple located Matsuoji, Aisho Town, Echi County, Shiga Prefecture. The temple was founded by the great priest Gyoki in 741. Together with the Tendai Buddhist Saimyoji Temple and the Hyakusaiji Temple, also located in the Koto area, this temple is counted as one of the “Three Temples of Koto.” The main hall, built during the Kamakura period to commemorate victory during the Mongol invasion, is designated a National Treasure. The garden of the Myojuin Temple located on the grounds is designated a National Place of Scenic Beauty.

    金剛輪寺では本堂、三重塔を参拝の後、千体地蔵の並ぶ長い参道を下山し、最後に明寿院庭園を鑑賞しました。桃山時代、江戸初期、江戸中期の三庭からなりますがどの庭も植栽、灯籠、石組、泉等の配置が素晴らしく大変美しい庭園です。中でも燃え立つような紅葉は圧倒的な美しさでした。庭園鑑賞後、黒門と呼ばれる総門を出て金剛輪寺を後にしましたが、大きな赤提灯の掛る総門にもお寺の風格を感じました。

  • Shiga Prefectural Azuchi Castle Archeological Museum
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    4.0
    25 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Shiga Pref. Oumihachimanshi Aduchichoushimotoira 6678
    A museum located in Shimotoira Azuchi-cho, Omihachiman City. The museum contains exhibits on artifacts excavated from ancient burial mounds and historic sites such as the Dainaka-no-ko Konan Iseki ruins; fortresses and castles from the medieval to the modern period such as and the Kannonji Castle Ruins and the Azuchi Castle Ruins; and Oda Nobunaga, the mighty samurai lord who built Azuchi Castle. The museum also holds special exhibitions.

    百名城スタンプラリーのついでにこちらにも立ち寄りました。外観だけでも楽しめる場所ですが、歴史の勉強にもなったのでよかったです。

Shiga Main 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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