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Escape the crowds of Kyoto and visit neighboring Shiga Prefecture, Japan, a short train ride away. We got no crowds, no big cities, no hustle and bustle. Relax and experience rural Japan without traveling far.
An in-depth visitors' and tourist guide to Shiga in native English with 1000s of photos, videos, news, festival/event information, maps, travel alerts, and more. By Shiga insider Philbert Ono. 日本語
Shiga Travel Alerts - Updated: Sept. 12, 12:00 pm
- In early September 2018, Typhoon No. 21 (Jebi) caused significant damage to some tourist sights in Shiga. Temple walls collapsed, roof damage, wall damage, fallen trees, etc. Certain sights and roads may be partially closed or under repair.
- Otsu Matsuri, Oct. 6–7
- Shigaraki Art Festival, Koka, Oct. 6–8
- Art in Nagahama, Oct. 6–7
- Maihara Hikiyama Matsuri Festival, Maibara, Oct. 6–8
- Daidogei Festa in Toragozen, Torahime, Oct. 8
- Nagahama Kimono Garden Party, Oct. 13, 10 am
- Matchlock Gun Demonstration, Nagahama Castle, Oct. 13, 10:30 am
- Hoko Matsuri, Nagahama, Oct. 14
- Mascot Character Expo, Hikone, Oct. 20–21
- Nagahama Matsuri and Performing Arts, Kinomoto, Nagahama, Oct. 21
- Little Edo Hikone Castle Parade, Nov. 3
*Background photo: Lake Biwa as seen from Mt. Shizugatake in Nagahama.
About Shiga Prefecture, Japan
Home of Lake Biwa (Biwako 琵琶湖), Japan's largest lake and water supply for Kyoto and Osaka (14 million people).
Location: Next to Kyoto in the east, Gifu in the west, Mie in the south, and Fukui in the north. Map
Population (as of 2014-06-01): 1,416,468 including 19,938 foreigners
Former name(s): Omi (Ohmi)
*Background photo: Mt. Ibuki and camellias in Maibara.
The two biggest factors influencing Shiga's history have been Japan's largest lake called Lake Biwa and Shiga's location next to Kyoto, the old Imperial Capital of Japan where the Emperor of Japan resided.
Lake Biwa, called Biwako, covers one-sixth the area of Shiga. Originally formed 4 million years ago in Iga, Mie Prefecture, Lake Biwa started small and underwent...more
*Background photo: Hikone Castle's architecture in spring.
Japan's largest lake and water supply for Kyoto and Osaka (14 million people).
Lake Biwa (Biwako 琵琶湖) is Japan's largest lake and one of the world's oldest lakes dating back 4 million years. Looking like a belly button near the center of Honshu island, it is easy to spot on a map of Japan in Shiga Prefecture. The lake's long history and diverse habitats gave rise to over 70 endemic fish (17) and...more
*Background photo: Rowing on northern Lake Biwa.
Besides Japan's largest lake, Shiga has a World Heritage Site, one of the four castles that is a National Treasure, and 22 buildings designated as National Treasures. This is the third highest number after Nara (64) and Kyoto (48).
*Background photo: Kaizu-Osaki cherry blossoms in Takashima.
Shiga's Major Festivals
Festivals are called "Matsuri" (M.). Shiga has a plethora of them year-round (months 1–12).
Complete list here.
*Background photo: Sagicho Matsuri in Omi-Hachiman in mid-March.
*Background photo: Shigaraki tanuki (raccoon dog), an auspicious symbol of Shiga.
Shiga Cities & Towns (滋賀の全市町)
- Aisho (愛荘町): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Higashi-Omi (東近江市): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Hikone (彦根市): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Hino (日野町): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Koka (甲賀市): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Konan (湖南市): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Kora (甲良町): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Kusatsu (草津市): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Maibara (米原市): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Moriyama (守山市): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Nagahama (長浜市): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Omi-Hachiman (近江八幡市): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Otsu (大津市): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Ritto (栗東市): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Ryuo (竜王町): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Taga (多賀町): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Takashima (高島市): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Toyosato (豊郷町): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
- Yasu (野洲市): About | Photos | Map | News | Videos
*Background photo: Traditional townscape in Omi-Hachiman.
Transportation to and around Shiga
Trains are the most convenient way to get to Shiga Prefecture. Two shinkansen bullet train stations serve as the main gateways to Shiga: Maibara Station in northern Shiga and Kyoto Station in neighboring Kyoto. There are no airports in Shiga.
You can get on the Tokaido Shinkansen, JR Tokaido Line (also called Biwako Line in Kyoto/Shiga), JR Kosei Line, JR Hokuriku Line, and Keihan Keishin Line (from Kyoto) to reach Shiga....more
*Background photo: Shinkansen bullet train in Maibara amid rice paddies.