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SHIGA

Shiga Prefecture is located in the center of Japan. It is surrounded on four sides by other prefectures and does not touch the ocean, but is home to Japan’s biggest lake in its center, Lake Biwa. The lake actually takes up 1/6 of the area of the entire prefecture, making it an essential part of Shiga’s culture and charm. Pastoral scenery spreads out around the edges of the lake and the changes from one season to the next are something not to be missed. The rich water from Lake Biwa has created a unique culture of food in Shiga, and funa-zushi, a fermented dish made from rice and the crucian carp caught in Lake Biwa is said to be one of Japan’s finest delicacies. Lake Biwa is not only about food and scenery though, there are also a great variety of ways to play around the lake. There are various towns where you can enjoy camping and outdoor activities in the summer, and in the winter you can enjoy skiing at Biwako Valley.

Because Shiga has been located close to cities such as Kyoto and Osaka since ancient times, it has a history of prospering from its strategic location as a transportation hub. As is fitting of a place that sees a lot of people coming and going, it is known for its historical heritage events, many of which can still be seen today.

    • Spring 8℃ to 23℃
      Higashi-Omi Giant Kite Festival, Nagahama Hikiyama Festival, Shinoda Fireworks
    • Summer 22℃ to 32℃
      Lake Biwa Fireworks Festival, Hifuri Torch Festival, Tamura Shrine Mantosai Lantern Festival, Mitarashi Festival
    • Autumn 7℃ to 21℃
      Shirahige Festival, Asahi Honen Taiko Dance, colored leaves on three mountains in eastern Lake Biwa
    • Winter −0.5℃ to 5℃
      Demon ousting ceremony at Enrayku-ji Temple on Mount Hiei, Nishi-Ichinobe Hadaka Festival, firewalking ritual
    • In Otsu City
      This is a central location where the prefectural government offices are located. This is also the gateway to Shiga, as it is adjacent to Kyoto. Here you can visit a variety of shrines and temples including Enryaku-ji Temple on Mount Hiei and Ishiyama-dera Temple.
    • Shigaraki
      This town is famous for its Shigaraki ware raccoon dog figurines. You can visit potters and experience hands-on pottery activities.
    • Yogo
      The beauty of Lake Yogo situated on the northern edge of Shiga can be likened to that of a mirror. The dreamlike scenery also has a legend of a celestial maiden. It is a popular place for smelt fishing in the winter.
    • Omi Hachiman Shrine
      This is a castle town known as the birthplace of the Omi merchants. The retro feel of the town is popular where merchant mansions and architecture designed by the late Vories can still be seen. It is also known as a lakeside area.
    • Koga
      This town is known for Koga ninja. You can also join in hands-on ninja activities.
    • By car
      When entering Shiga from east or west, the Meishin Expressway, which cuts across the prefecture, is convenient. It is also connected to the Hokuriku region via the Hokuriku Expressway. By car you can enjoy a drive around the entire circumference of Lake Biwa.
    • By bus
      Ten different bus companies operate in Shiga Prefecture. The inland transportation network is highly developed, so be sure to make good use of buses and trains.
    • By train
      There are four different train companies: JR, Ohmi Railway, Keihan Electric Railway, and the Shigaraki Kogen Railway. When traveling by shinkansen, the best ways to access Shiga are from Maibara in the east, and Kyoto Station in the west. The best way to take a trip around Lake Biwa is by the Kosei Line.
    • By airplane
      Because there is no airport in Shiga Prefecture, you must use the airport shuttle bus from Osaka International Airport and transfer to a train line.
    • Osaka International Airport is a 1 hour, 50 minute flight from New Chitose Airport.
    • Osaka International Airport is a 1 hour flight from Haneda Airport.
    • Osaka International Airport is a 1 hour, 10 minute flight from Fukuoka Airport.
    • Osaka International Airport is a 1 hour, 10 minute flight from Kagoshima Airport.
    • Osaka International Airport is a 2 hour flight from Naha Airport.
    • * Kyoto is a 55 minute ride by an airport shuttle bus, and Otsu is a 9 minute train ride from Kyoto.

  • Hikone Castle
    Hikone Castle

    Hikone

  • Enryaku-ji Temple on Mount Hiei
    Enryaku-ji Temple on Mount Hiei

    Otsu City

  • Lake Biwa
    Lake Biwa

    All of Shiga

  • Chikubu Island
    Chikubu Island

    Nagahama

  • Biwako Valley
    Biwako Valley

    Otsu City

  • Omihachiman
    Omihachiman

    Omihachiman City

  • Omi Beef
    Omi Beef

    All of Shiga

  • The Food Culture of Lake Biwa
    The Food Culture of Lake Biwa

    All of Shiga

  • Festivals
    Festivals

    Otsu, Hikone, Hino-cho