Omihachiman City along the eastern shores of Lake Biwa is a great alternative for travelers wanting to combine a trip to Kyoto with the natural landscape and the quaint atmosphere of the area. As an old town of merchants, Omihachiman has been a gathering place full of charm. Although a different type of commerce prevails in the city today, that charm still remains and can be enjoyed along its picturesque canals. The quaint architecture of omiyage shops, restaurants, and guesthouses line the streets and canals. And as is the case at neighbouring cities, history buffs can find a significant amount of remnants from the past.
Stay at the Machiya Inn
A stay at Machiya Inn is on its own a good excuse to visit Omihachiman. Offering guesthouse-style accommodation, it is set within the building of an old sake brewery. The owners have done a fantastic with decorating the place, creating a serene atmosphere for guests after a taste of traditional Japanese lifestyle. Here you can choose between sleeping in a tatami room overlooking a zen garden or western-style accommodation with an old townhouse feel. Guest can enjoy the wooden hot tub, modern amenities including free-wifi, a common kitchen and dining area, and have access to the sake brewery building which serves as an event space.
Explore the Hachiman Bori Canal(specially during the cherry blossom season).
In the past, the Hachiman Bori canal played a major role in the economy of the region. Today, the canal is probably the city's best sightseeing spot attracting visitors all-year round. White-wall storehouses rise above the stone walls, reviving the atmosphere of the past. The setting is ideal for a stroll along the narrow paths and under the cherry trees that adorn the waterway. You can also absorb the beauty of the place while slowly cruising on the canal as the warriors and merchants did in the past. The boat cruise departs near the Kawara museum.
the Hachiman Bori canal
Wander the old merchant neighbourhoods.
Lined with cafes, restaurants, and omiyage shops, the streets around Demachi-dori for wandering around town, trying local cuisine, and getting a feel for the energy of the town. Demachi-dori leads you down to Hachiman Bori Canal and the grounds of Himure Hachiman-gu Shrine, the main religious site in the city.
Visit Himure Hachiman Shrine, and other historic buildings
Besides the religious significance, this shrine attracts large crowds thanks to a vast tree forest covering large part of the 10 acres it sits on. These spiritual grounds also play host to the Sagicho Matsuri (bonfire festival) and the Hachiman Matsuri both designated Intangible Folk Cultural Properties. From this point you can also access the Mount Hachiman Ropeway to get
the scenic views of Lake Biwa.
Take the canal cruises, either along the Hachiman Bori, or outside of town.
Besides the boat ride on the Hachiman Bori Canal, you can hop aboard a private boat cruise on the outskirts of the city. This cruise will take you on a tour through the Suigo Canal network which is considered one of the three great canal networks in Japan. Wildlife thrives in these waterways connecting people with nature whilst cruising along the same waterways used to connect the lake town during the Edo-period.
private boat cruise
What to Do in Omihachiman
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR