Summer 2017 fireworks in Shiga Prefecture

hanabi

Here’s the 2017 summer fireworks (hanabi) schedule for Shiga Prefecture (Shiga-ken hanabi) listed by date. Keep in mind that foul weather is always possible and fireworks can be postponed or canceled. “More info” links go to Japanese-language pages. (No information in English except on this page. That’s why I create this page every year.)

Updated: July 14, 2017

Compiled by Philbert Ono

July 8, 2017
♦ Takamiya Noryo Hanabi Taikai in Takamiya, Hikone, 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Near the Inugami River Muchinbashi Bridge. 10-min. walk from Ohmi Railways Takamiya Station. If rained out, to be postponed to July 9. Map
More info: 高宮商工繁栄会 TEL:0749-22-2075
https://hanabi.walkerplus.com/detail/ar0725e01080/

July 15, 2017
♦ Echigawa Gion Noryo Hanabi Taikai in Aisho, 7:40 pm – 9:00 pm
At two locations along the Echigawa River bank near Miyukibashi Bridge. 15-min. walk from Ohmi Railways Echigawa Station. If rained out, to be postponed to July 16. About 40,000 people are expected. Map
愛知川祇園納涼祭花火大会
More info: 愛知川駅コミュニティハウスるーぶる愛知川 TEL:0749-42-8444
https://hanabi.walkerplus.com/detail/ar0725e00768/

Yokaichi Shotoku Matsuri

Yokaichi Shotoku Matsuri

July 22, 2017
♦ Yokaichi Shotoku Matsuri (Finale Fireworks) in Higashi-Omi, 8:30 pm – 9:00 pm
This is a dance festival starting at 7:30 pm and ends with fireworks from 8:30 pm near Yokaichi Station. The festival is a huge bon dance with 600 dancers dancing to Shiga’s native Goshu Ondo folk songs. A large section of the main road in front of Yokaichi Station is closed to traffic for the festival. The festival is named after Shotoku Taishi. Map | Video
八日市聖徳まつり
More info: 八日市商工会議所 TEL: 0748-22-0186
http://www.odakocci.jp/pickup/matsuri.html

♦ Oideyasu Yasu-shi Natsu Matsuri Hanabi Taikai in Yasu, 7:45 pm – 8:25 pm
Along the Shin River. 25-min. by shuttle bus from JR Yasu Station. Shuttle buses will be running. Stage entertainment will start at 4 pm. If rained out, to be cancelled. Map
おいでやす!! 野洲市夏まつり花火大会
More info: 野洲市商工観光課 TEL: 077-587-6008
https://hanabi.walkerplus.com/detail/ar0725e188200/

♦ Otsu Shiga Hanabi Taikai fireworks, 7:45 pm – 8:30 pm
Watch the fireworks over the lake from the famous Omi-Maiko beach. Near JR Omi-Maiko Station (Kosei Line) in western Otsu. If rained out, to be postponed to July 23.
大津志賀花火大会
More info: 大津志賀花火大会実行委員会 TEL:077-592-0378
https://hanabi.walkerplus.com/detail/ar0725e00471/

July 29, 2017
♦ Koka Natsu Matsuri fireworks in Minakuchi, Koka, 7:45 pm – 8:30 pm
Koka’s biggest fireworks display held along Yasu River. Part of a local festival of stage entertainment, games, and food stalls. 10-min. walk from Ohmi Railways Minakuchi Jonan Station. Map
甲賀夏まつり
More info: 甲賀市観光協会 TEL:0748-60-2690
https://hanabi.walkerplus.com/detail/ar0725e00157/

Aug. 1, 2017
♦ Hikone Kita-Biwako Dai-Hanabi Taikai at Matsubara Beach, Hikone, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
35-min. walk from Hikone Station. Shuttle buses provided from Hikone Station to a sports ground from which it’s a 15-min. walk to the beach. If rained out, to be postponed to Aug. 2. Map
彦根・北びわ湖大花火大会
More info: (社)彦根観光協会 Phone: 0749-23-0001
http://www.hikoneshi.com/jp/event/articles/c/hanabi

♦ Ogoto Onsen Noryo Hanabi Taikai in Ogoto Port, Otsu, 8 pm – 8:30 pm
20-min. walk from JR Ogoto Onsen Station. Fireworks can be seen from most onsen (hot spring) ryokan and outdoor baths in Ogoto. If rained out, to be postponed to Aug. 2. Map
おごと温泉納涼花火大会
More info: おごと温泉観光協会 Phone: 077-578-1650
https://hanabi.walkerplus.com/detail/ar0725e00618/

♦ Omi-Imazu Furusato Natsu Matsuri, Takashima, 9:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Climax of Imazu’s summer festival starting from 1 pm. Near JR Omi-Imazu Station.
近江今津ふるさと夏祭り やっさ!今津!!2017
More info: 近江今津ふるさと夏まつり実行委員会事務局 Phone: 0740-22-2108

Aug. 4, 2017
♦ Nagahama Kita-Biwako Hanabi Taikai at Nagahama Port, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
10-min. walk from JR Nagahama Station. Very crowded so go early to save a spot or pay for special seating for 1,500 yen or 2,500 yen. If rained out, to be cancelled. Map
長浜・北びわ湖大花火大会
More info: 長浜市観光振興課 Phone: 0749-65-6521
https://hanabi.walkerplus.com/detail/ar0725e00792/

Aug. 5, 2017
♦ Makino Summer Carnival at Makino Sunny Beach, Takashima, 8:30 pm
マキノサマーカーニバル2017
More info: 四季遊園マキノ交流促進協議会事務局 Phone: 0740-28-8002

♦ Takashima Summer Festival at Makino Sunny Beach, Takashima, 9:00 pm
Fireworks is part of their summer festival that starts at 4 pm.
2017たかしま夏まつり
More info: たかしま夏まつり実行委員会 Phone: 0740-36-2011

♦ Ujisato Matsuri Summer Gathering in Hino, 8:45 pm – 9 pm (2017 date and info not yet available as of this writing)
Fireworks is the climax of this summer festival (bon dance, etc.) held in the northern parking lot of Hino Town Hall starting in mid-afternoon.
氏郷まつり「夏の陣」2016
More info: 日野町イベント実行委員会 Phone: 0748-52-6562

♦ Kotonarie Summer Festa in Hibari Park in Higashi-Omi
Part of an illumination and music festival. 20-min. by bus from Yokaichi Station. Fireworks start at 8:40 pm.
コトナリエサマーフェスタ2017
More info: 東近江市湖東商工会 Phone: 0749-45-2571

♦ Konan Natsu Matsuri in Konan, fireworks at 8:00 pm
Fireworks is the climax of this summer festival (Goshu Ondo bon dance, stage entertainment, etc.) held at the Yasugawa River Shinzui Koen park (野洲川親水公園).
湖南市夏まつり
More info: 湖南市観光協会 Phone: 0748-71-2157
http://www.burari-konan.jp/

Aug. 8, 2017
♦ Biwako Dai-Hanabi Taikai at Hama-Otsu and Nagisa Park in Otsu, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
This is the big one, but a steep admission (around ¥4,400, even for children above age 3) is charged in prime viewing areas along Hama-Otsu. Hama-Otsu Port will be totally walled off so you cannot see the fireworks from the street. Farther away is the free area along Nagisa Park which is terribly crowded with people reserving viewing spots from noon. Spectacular show, but have fun trying to get home via the tiny nearby train stations or gridlocked roads afterward. Foul weather will postpone it to Aug. 11. Map
びわ湖大花火大会
More info: びわ湖大花火大会実行委員会 TEL: 077-511-1530
https://hanabi.walkerplus.com/detail/ar0725e00765/

Aug. 16, 2016 (2017 date and info not yet available as of this writing)
♦ Somagawa Natsu Matsuri near Kibukawa Station, Koka
Fireworks are part of the summer festival with taiko drummers and lantern floating on the river.
杣川夏まつり
More info: 甲賀市観光協会 Phone: 0748-65-0708

Aug. 17, 2017
♦ Takebe Taisha Senkosai Fireworks at Seta River in Otsu, 7:50 pm – 9 pm
Near Seta-no-Karahashi Bridge. Short walk from Karahashi-mae Station on the Keihan Line. Fireworks will climax the waterborne Takebe Taisha Senkosai festival on boats. Map
瀬田川花火大会
More info: 建部大社 Phone: 077-545-0038
https://hanabi.walkerplus.com/detail/ar0725e00357/

Aug. 25, 2017
♦ Kinomoto Jizo Dai-ennichi fireworks in Nagahama, 8:00 pm – 8:30 pm
Held near JR Kinomoto Station. Climax of a local festival with food stalls and games held during Aug. 22–25.
木之本地蔵大縁日 8月22日(日)~25日(水)(花火は25日のみ)
More info: ふるさと夏まつり実行委員会 Phone: 0749-82-5900
http://kitabiwako.jp/event/event_9406/

Essential Vocabulary
hanabi (花火) – fireworks
hanabi taikai (花火大会) – fireworks (sometimes a contest)
Natsu Matsuri (夏まつり) – Summer festival
noryo (納涼) – Enjoying the cool of a summer evening (at a river, park, etc.)

Shiga Prefecture postage stamps

I’m not really a stamp collector, but the Japan Post Office issues so many commemorative stamps and it’s such a major hobby that it’s hard to ignore. Of course, stamps are a great way to promote whatever it promotes. Assuming that you still send paper letters or postcards in this electronic age of email and messaging. They are also great as souvenirs or gifts (very lightweight).

If you go to your local post office in Shiga, you will likely see Shiga-related stamps and postcards on sale (available only in Shiga). They are sold for a limited time, but most of them become available later by private stamp dealers online (auctions, etc.). New editions are also issued every year or season.

Here are a few of the Shiga-related stamps that were issued in the past.

Sights in Shiga

Stamp sheet of Shiga sights issued in 2009.

Hiko-nyan stamp sheet issued in 2013. Came with a hand towel.

Shigaraki tanuki stamp sheet issued in 2008.

Mt. Ibuki summer flowers issued in 2012. Similar sheet is issued annually.

Otsu Matsuri stamp sheet issued in 2008.

Takashima sights issued in 2009.

Colors of Kusatsu” stamp sheet issued in 2009.

Commemorating the 9th World Lake Conference in 2001 in Otsu, Biwa masu salmon endemic to Lake Biwa.

Enryakuji temple stamp issued in 1996 (Konpon Chudo main hall).

Hikone Byobu folding screen (National Treasure) stamps issued in 1976.

Stamp sheet commemorating the 100th anniversary of Biwako Shuko no Uta (Lake Biwa Rowing Song) in June 2017.

Also read about Shiga’s die-cut postcards here.

Lake Biwa Rowing Song mini concert in Imazu 2017


Video link: https://youtu.be/9G94IppUiiE

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Shiga’s most famous and beloved song, Biwako Shuko no Uta (琵琶湖周航の歌), shiga-ken.com held a special mini concert in Imazu on April 16, 2017 with the cooperation of the Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan song museum (琵琶湖周航の歌資料館) and Imazu Port in Takashima, Shiga Prefecture.

The highlight was twin sisters Jamie and Megan Thompson at Imazu Port singing Lake Biwa Rowing Song (English version of Biwako Shuko no Uta) to the accompaniment of Lake Biwa reed flutes (yoshibue) played by Lake Reed (レイクリード), a duo consisting of Kikui Satoru (菊井了) and Kondo Yumiko (近藤ゆみ子). The result was stupendous and oh so pretty, both in sight and sound on a beautiful day in front of a blue Lake Biwa at Imazu Port. Watch the 5-min. video embedded above and see for yourself.

It was only our second time to perform at Imazu Port. The last time was on June 3, 2006 when we first introduced and performed Lake Biwa Rowing Song in public. For this second time, I decided that instead of staging a repeat performance of what we did in 2006, we should do something different. Having Lake Biwa reed players join us was perfect. It turned out that it was the first time for Lake Reed to perform together with multiple singers.


Video link: https://youtu.be/PjnY67sIcqE

We also held an indoor mini concert at the Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan song museum. The performance of Lake Biwa Rowing Song was repeated and followed by three pretty songs by Lake Reed. Watch the 23-min. video embedded above.

20170416_7244a

Jamie & Megan Thompson together in Japan for the first time in 8 years.

Our mini concert turned out to be a media event with coverage by Asahi Shimbun, Chunichi Shimbun, Mainichi Shimbun, Sankei Shimbun, and Yomiuri Shimbun newspapers. I came prepared for the media with these T-shirts I designed and gave to Jamie and Megan to wear. I also gave them Biwa pearl necklaces (closeup photo below).

20170404_6994

Lake Biwa pearl necklaces.

I had these Lake Biwa pearl necklaces custom-made for this day. I found a freelance accessory maker in Otsu named “Malble” (pronounced like “Marble”) who was making earrings using this Lake Biwa-shaped, gold-colored accessory. It says, “Always With You.” (Like Lake Biwa is always with you.) I had her make these necklaces strung together with a medium-size Lake Biwa pearl. They came out very nice at reasonable cost.

20170416_7243

Rehearsing inside the song museum before going to Imazu Port.

Since summer 2016, prominent people and organizations in Shiga and Kyoto announced plans to hold Biwako Shuko no Uta 100th anniversary events in 2017. I also wanted to take part in these events.

So I asked Jamie and Megan (who sang Lake Biwa Rowing Song in English in 2006 while they were working in Japan as JET Program ALTs), if they could visit Japan in 2017 to participate in one of these anniversary events, especially in June (the song’s actual anniversary date) or November (Kyoto University’s main anniversary event).

It turned out that they both could make it to Japan only in April 2017. Since there were no anniversary events in April, we held our own commemorative mini concert on April 16. Couldn’t let such a rare trip to Japan by both sisters go to waste.

The performance at Imazu Port started at around 1:30 pm after all the cruise boats left Imazu Port. It was mainly for me to shoot videos for a music video (embedded at the top). The media also took photos and interviewed us under a somewhat hot sun. We then moved to the nearby Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan song museum for an indoor mini concert and social gathering that lasted until about 4 pm.

The ever so helpful and cooperative Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan song museum allowed us to use their room on the second floor for our indoor mini concert. They also secured permission for us to perform at Imazu Port.

I didn’t really publicize this event since it was intended for only friends and invited guests and the local media. However, during the 2.5 months of planning, the event started to take on a life of its own as it morphed into something more substantial. I knew things like this never go according to plan, so I remained flexible and played it by ear.

As I expected, we ran behind schedule and were unable to do a few things that I had planned. But all-in-all, our event turned out very well with great weather, no accidents or illnesses, great videos and photos, and everyone having a fun time. Many people also went on the 3:30 pm Sakura cruise to Kaizu-Osaki afterward. I’m glad that it was worth coming to Imazu which is quite far for most of us.

20170416_7302

Jamie and Megan talk with the press. Back of the T-shirt is the CD cover and “Children of the Lake” below it.

Talking to the press took longer than expected since so many of them showed up and they had lots of questions. They also kept asking for my age which I declined to say since it was irrelevant. (Japanese newspapers always like to state the age of the people they write about. It has never happened in my case though.)

20150513_0399

Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan song museum, near Omi-Imazu Station. It has panel displays explaining the history and meaning of the song and a listening station where you can listen to many cover versions.

20170416JamieMeganKoryukai

Mini concert inside the song museum.

Our indoor mini concert started with Jamie and Megan singing Lake Biwa Rowing Song with Lake Reed playing Lake Biwa reed flutes.

20170416_7406

Lake Reed playing Lake Biwa reed flutes. They even brought a bundle of reeds (left) as a prop.

Lake Reed then performed three songs: Furusato (Hometown), Miyagete-goran Yoru no Hoshi wo (Look Up at the Night Stars), and Umi no Koe (Voice of the Sea). (Watch the video to hear them play.) They were brilliant. So pretty. Omi-Hachman resident Kikui Satoru was the person who actually invented the Lake Biwa reed flute in 2000. So he’s been playing it longer than anyone else in the world. We were so lucky to have him and his partner Kondo Yumiko perform for us. Everyone performed on a voluntary basis, no one got paid.

20170416_7335

Over 50 people attended our mini concert inside the song museum.

Mr. Kikui was also generous enough to bring 15 reed flutes to hold a sample lesson mainly for the kids who came. Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for it. Sounds like I have to plan a follow-up event to make it happen.

20170416_7520

Kiyora playing the shamisen.

Our third performer was Kiyora, a third grader from Moriyama. She played the famous cherry blossom song, “Sakura, Sakura” with her shamisen. As a beginner, she played quite well.

20170416_7561a

Former Shiga Governor Yukiko Kada talks about the upcoming music festival in Otsu. Holding up the PR poster is Kitagawa Akihiro of ~Lefa~.

We were also honored to have former Shiga Governor Kada Yukiko attending our event. Being the president of Biwako Seikei Sport College in Omi-Maiko, she’s very busy. And yet, she made the time to hear us sing. We thank her for coming.

She and singer Kato Tokiko (who made Biwako Shuko no Uta a national hit in 1971) are organizing the 1st Biwako Music Festival (第一回びわ湖音楽祭) at Biwako Hall in Otsu on June 30, 2017. Tickets are still available as of this writing.

20170416_7578

Kitagawa Akihiro sings with Jamie and Megan.

Another special guest was Kitagawa Akihiro, vocalist and one half of the Nagahama-based duo ~Lefa~. Akihiro once studied in Canada, so he does have an interest in singing in English. He sang in English with Jamie and Megan impromptu. He has a very good voice, so I see great potential in him singing in English after I coach his pronunciation. It was the first time for me to meet Akihiro. I saw former Governor Kada’s Facebook video of him singing Lake Biwa Rowing Song in English so I invited him to our event. ~Lefa~ was formed in 2010 and they play all around Japan at shopping malls, local events, etc., and sing Biwako Shuko no Uta. They also often hold mini concerts at Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan song museum. The other half of ~Lefa~ is guitarist and keyboard player Kono Hiroyuki.

20170416_7743

In the end, the few of us who didn’t go on the cherry blossom cruise to Kaizu-Osaki remained to sing Biwako Shuko no Uta in a circle.

We were running an hour late. Most of the audience left at around 3:20 pm to catch the Cherry Blossom Cruise for Kaizu-Osaki departing Imazu Port at 3:30 pm. So only about 15 of us remained until we ended at around 4 pm. Everyone burst into smiles and started clapping after we finished singing the song in Japanese. It’s such a heartwarming song, and being from Hawaii where we have many, many renown hometown songs, I’m so glad Shiga has such a song. It’s been 11 years since we announced the English version, but slowly and surely, I see it catching on.

SongPostcards2017s

Set of six Lake Biwa Rowing Song postcards given as a free memento to all attendees.

20170417_7874s2

Chunichi Shimbun newspaper was one of five papers that covered us (April 17, 2017 issue).

Shiga History January–April 2017

20170417_7874s2

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s major and interesting news headlines for January–April 2017 (according to the year, month, day, and time posted at GMT).

Originally posted on Twitter under Shiga Headlines by Philbert Ono. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters including spaces and links (shortened by Twitter). Dates and times below are based on GMT instead of Japan time.

2017/1/3 2:16 Happy 2017! It’s a warm New Year’s, hardly any snow on Mt. Ibuki. Wishing you a healthy and good 2017.
2017/1/6 10:05 Hikone’s mascot Hiko-nyan received 11,796 New Year’s nenga postcards this new year as of Jan. 6, 2017. About 300 more than last year.
2017/1/6 10:20 In Shiga, 7,855 men and 7,200 women (born April 2, 1996–April 1, 1997) will mark their Coming-of-Age on Jan. 9. 440 more than last year.
2017/1/6 11:53 2017 NHK Taiga Drama “Onna Joshu Naotora” (#おんな城主直虎) from Jan. 8 will be about Ii Naotora, Hikone Castle Lord Ii Naomasa’s adoptive mother.
2017/1/9 8:27 Kyoto University Rowing Club’s official 2017 calendar includes “Lake Biwa Rowing Song” English lyrics for the 1st time. https://t.co/gs1pnsLbpe
2017/1/14 3:57 Hip-hop PR video for Hikone Castle’s 410th anniversary (Mar. 18–Dec. 10, 2017) going viral (in Japanese only). https://t.co/sIm341BZsF
2017/1/15 3:08 Good news for skiers. Snow in most of Shiga this weekend, especially northern Shiga.
2017/1/16 5:13 Hino & Higashi-Omi are holding a Hina doll tour for foreigners on Feb. 25 for ¥2,000. Send application by Feb. 10. https://t.co/edXxRI893e
2017/1/17 13:59 Docomo cell phone users in Otsu & parts of Kyoto are having connection problems due to the heavy snow & power outages disrupting cell towers
2017/1/17 15:24 Funny weekly manga about Shiga by Sakana Kouji (in Japanese only). Updated every Fri. 滋賀の面白い漫画 by さかなこうじ https://t.co/whiKwY1t6S
2017/1/18 12:49 Shiga Pref. Government will bar Dentsu from bidding on any PR-related contract jobs citing the overworked Dentsu employee’s suicide (高橋まつり).
2017/1/24 10:08 Heavy snow in northern Shiga continued from yesterday, delaying trains/buses & causing traffic jams. 115 schools in Shiga were closed today.
2017/1/26 4:26 A deliberation committee (琵琶湖周航の歌100周年記念促進協議会) met for the 1st time to plan the PR for the 100th anniv. of Biwako Shuko no Uta rowing song.
2017/1/26 13:25 Heavy snow has destroyed or damaged 123 greenhouses mostly in eastern Shiga, damaging 0.52 ha of crops like mizuna & spinach.
2017/1/27 10:28 For the second year in a row, Shiga Gakuen will represent Shiga at the 2017 Senbatsu Spring Koshien national high school baseball tournament
2017/1/31 9:21 Made my first Lake Biwa pearl brooch at a workshop conducted by Otsu-based Jinbo Pearls this past weekend in Shibuya, Tokyo. That was fun! 
2017/2/8 18:47 Sep. 2016: Five Ayaha H.S. #綾羽高校 baseball players in Kusatsu shoplifted shoes at a sports shop. They received “guidance” and quit the team.
2017/2/10 15:42 Omi-Hachiman is taking steps to eliminate or hide utility poles to beautify and protect its traditional townscapes from March 2018. #無電柱化
2017/2/10 15:44 Heavy snow is expected to continue this weekend in Shiga, especially in Hikone, Maibara, and Nagahama.
2017/2/13 20:46 Four Keihan Railways station names will change in March 2018: Hama-Otsu, Sakamoto, Bessho, & Ojiyama. Otsu will pay ¥15 mil. for the change.
2017/2/14 15:26 Enryakuji’s Tendai Zasu Abbot 森川宏映座主 held a service at Kyoto’s Nishi Hongwanji for the 1st time on the 1,000th anniv. of Genshin’s death.
2017/2/24 22:58 Shiga dept stores have joined the “Premium Friday” campaign on the last Fri. of the month to cater to workers who get off work early at 3 pm
2017/3/4 15:47 Shiga food/crafts at the 29th Omi Fair in Takashimaya Dept. Store Nihonbashi Branch 8th floor in Tokyo, March 8–13. https://t.co/YIy7P3xool
2017/3/5 5:48 Kenyan Ezekiel Kiptoo Chebii won the 72nd Lake Biwa Mainichi Marathon today in 02:09:06, Sasaki Satoru was 4th at 02:10:10.
2017/3/7 2:06 Nagahama International Friendship Association 長浜市民国際交流協会 has started English Cafe for English conversation. Next one will be on March 12. https://t.co/B2FS2yvNST
2017/3/8 14:02 Heard interesting discussions & met people at the Japan Heritage International Forum in Tokyo, March 7. Lake Biwa is also a Japan Heritage. https://t.co/mtWFWshACP
2017/3/11 7:38 Hikone Castle garden Genkyuen’s pond is undergoing major repairs. Pond water has been drained. Looks very drab now.  
2017/3/11 7:40 In front of Nagahama Station, the new shopping/restaurant complex on the old Heiwado site should be opening soon. 
2017/3/11 7:44 March 12 is the last day of the Nagahama Bonbaiten #長浜盆梅展 plum blossom bonsai exhibition (now in peak bloom) in the Keiunkan (慶雲館). 
2017/3/11 7:58 Actress Kaho Tsuchimura (center) #土村芳 was at Hikone Castle’s Tenbin Yagura on March 10 to film NHK TV morning drama series “Beppin-san.” 
2017/3/17 9:26 Tasted Shiga’s famous Salad Roll サラダパン for the 1st time. Basically a hot dog bun with mayonnaise and small slices of takuan pickled radish. 
2017/3/17 9:30 初めてサラダパンを食べました(木之本のつるやパンより)。なんか戦後の昭和時代っぽいな懐かしい味でした。素朴な作りで誰でも同じもんが作れそう。こんなもんで人気・有名になるなんてちょっと驚きました。外国人にもオススメできるかどうかはちょっと微妙です。 https://t.co/SrqATDPmU6
2017/3/18 3:59 The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga will close on March 31, 2017 for 3 years for major renovations. See their last exhibition before it closes.
2017/3/18 4:00 Hikone Castle’s 410th anniversary celebration started today with special exhibits inside castle buildings. Ends on Dec. 10, 2017.
2017/3/18 14:34 HigashiOmi police sergeant Kumita Masaya 汲田昌也 (36) arrested for threatening to kill his GF over the phone when she tried to break up w/him.
2017/3/18 14:48 Eight Nagahama policemen punished for sexual harassment of 2 policewomen in Nov. by using a pro wrestler’s hold on the women and taking pics. 
2017/3/18 14:59 Otsu City Hall miscalculated tax bills and national health insurance premiums & benefits totaling ¥12.99 mil. affecting 272 Otsu citizens.
2017/3/18 15:05 Earlier this month, Hikone City Hall sent 27 “My Number” personal ID cards (indicating the birthdate, address, etc.) to the wrong addresses.
2017/3/18 15:09 Hiko-nyan will have a new official pose, showing him with both arms raised (banzai) and smiling.
2017/3/19 9:47 Spouse seekers in Higashi-Omi reach out through bathhouse poetry serenading – The Mainichi 歌垣風呂 銭湯の壁越しに歌を詠み合い「婚活」 https://t.co/zzufegvvde
2017/3/22 11:11 Former Gamo-Higashi Elementary School head teacher Arikawa Tomoaki (50, 有川智章) found guilty of forcing 4 women to meet him after sending candid pics
2017/3/22 11:19 As of Jan. 1, 2017, Shiga’s average land prices have fallen 9 years in a row, by -0.4% over 2016. Land prices in Kusatsu & Moriyama rose.
2017/3/22 11:31 Toray Arrows pro volleyball player Kimura Saori retired this month after a 12-year pro career including 4 Summer Olympics & a bronze medal.
2017/3/22 11:39 Shiga Gakuen beat Tokai Univ. Ichihara Boyo H.S. 6-2 in their 1st game at the Senbatsu Spring Koshien nat’l high school baseball tournament.
2017/3/22 12:33 Itoen is selling their Koi-cha #濃い茶 bottled tea (525 ml) with a special “Mother Lake” sakura label until Mar. 31 for Lake Biwa donations. 
2017/3/23 13:00 Otsu mayor Koshi Naomi is taking a voluntary 30% pay cut next month to make amends for 7 corrupt city employees in the past 2 months.
2017/3/23 13:04 From Maibara, the “My Bara” 米バラ umeshu plum cake shaped like a rose (bara) is very good. Sold at Ibuki-no-Sato Road Station 伊吹の里 in Maibara. 
2017/3/24 11:14 At a Heiwado in Otsu, bought up all the Itoen Koi-cha #濃い茶 bottled tea with the special “Mother Lake” label. It’s for a spring party… https://t.co/PszEIdUym7
2017/3/24 11:18 Monreve bakery in Moriyama is famous for Funazushi Pie, a cookie made with funazushi fermented Biwako carp. Love it! 
2017/3/24 13:08 守山駅の近くにある洋菓子店モンレーブのふなずしパイ(10枚入り¥1250)。商品開発に苦労されたそうですが、さすがのヒット商品。うなぎパイと連想して甘そうと思いがちけど、全く甘くない。 鮒寿司の独特な匂いも味も見事に取り入れている。本物の鮒寿司が苦手の方にはこれがいい。 https://t.co/OtxcFvjLPn
2017/3/26 9:25 Shiga Gakuen tied w/Fukuoka-dai Ohori 1-1 in their 2nd game today at the Senbatsu Spring Koshien national high school baseball tournament.
2017/3/26 10:19 English guide to Hikone Castle’s 410th anniversary (March 18 to December 10, 2017). https://t.co/7aSlRdxzUQ
2017/3/28 9:52 Shiga Gakuen lost to Fukuoka-dai Ohori 3–5 in the tiebreaker today at the Senbatsu Spring Koshien national high school baseball tournament.
2017/3/28 17:22 Osaka High Court overturned Otsu District Court’s injunction against the restart of KEPCO’s No. 3 & 4 nuclear reactors at Takahama in Fukui.
2017/3/30 16:58 Head teacher (50) at Tamao Elementary School in Higashi-Omi suspended for 6 mo. for injuring a man with a beer mug during a quarrel last Aug.
2017/4/1 15:34 Modern Museum of Art, Shiga now closed for 3 years of major renovations & expansion to house Shiga’s art treasures & works by the disabled. https://t.co/19pvloW6TB
2017/4/1 15:38 滋賀県立近代美術館の3年間の休館で数十名の職員が解雇されました。皆さん、お疲れ様でした。再就職先が見つければいいですね。頑張ってください。 https://t.co/Sc4nujdn7y
2017/4/2 14:41 Bye-bye Hashimoto Naoko 橋本奈穂子 (Kinomoto native), today’s her last day as newscaster on NHK News 7. We’ll miss you. https://t.co/dBddQ3RSDX 
2017/4/3 12:46 Otsu City Hall today created a new dept. (未来まちづくり部) that will work to model the city after Geneva, Switzerland. Good luck to them.
2017/4/4 13:53 In this building next to Nihonbashi Station, Shiga will open its new Tokyo PR center and gift shop this Oct. to boost its brand recognition. 
2017/4/5 15:12 Only 38% of Shiga’s non-native jr. high English teachers & 62% of high school English teachers have EIKEN Grade Pre-1 or higher. 英検準1級
2017/4/5 15:21 Only 37.1% of Shiga’s jr. high students have attained EIKEN Grade 3 & 31.5% of high school students have attained Grade 2 or higher. 英検3級
2017/4/5 15:30 なんで学校で日本人の先生が英語を教えるの?Nativeはダメ?アメリカでは外国語を教えている先生のほとんどはそのnativeの方です。私もアメリカで日本語を習った時(小学校〜大学)、先生はほとんど日本人でした。じゃないと、教える資格がないし、生徒たちも信用できへん。
2017/4/9 20:22 Here’s the Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri 2017 Festival Schedule in English. Child kabuki on April 13 to 16. https://t.co/bP8QrU33aM
2017/4/11 13:32 A few glass windows were found shattered by fist-size rocks at four primary & intermediate schools in Omi-Hachiman on April 11 morning.
2017/4/12 5:49 毎日新聞(滋賀版)、ありがとうございました。
2017/4/17 6:06 滋賀版の朝日新聞、毎日新聞、読売新聞、産経新聞、そして特に中日新聞、どうもありがとうございました。当日の熱い日差しの中、お疲れ様でした。 https://t.co/Ejlkdq9XCz
2017/4/19 12:00 Kaizu-Osaki lakeshore road (Rt. 557) blocked by landslide. Section between Osaki-dera & Nihonmatsu is closed. Take Rt. 161 & 303 instead.
2017/4/22 4:23 Went on a Sakura Cruise from Imazu Port in mid-April. Got off the boat at Kaizu-Osaki Port and walked around for 30 min. Beautiful! #桜クルーズ 
2017/4/22 6:46 5-min. video of our live performance of “Lake Biwa Rowing Song,” April 16, 2017 at Imazu Port in Takashima.
2017/4/26 2:00 “We are ready” says Gov. Mikazuki with regard to emergency measures for any missile attack by North Korea on its army’s 85th anniv.
2017/4/26 15:21 I’m not complaining, but my “We love (place name)” slogan seems to have inspired copycats in Shiga. Maibara cable TV & visitors bureau FB. 
2017/4/28 6:55 Martin Stack, one of the best friends we ever had in Shiga, is battling an illness. Friends in Shiga made this video: https://t.co/UGWv8G63Kf
2017/4/29 8:54 Ninja-related sites in Koka and Iga (Mie) have been jointly designated as a Japan Heritage by the Agency for Cultural Affairs on April 28.
2017/4/29 8:56 Very strange that the Koka-ryu Ninjutsu Yashiki house is not part of the Japan Heritage designation. #甲賀流忍術屋敷 https://t.co/IgEnlaR0yD
2017/4/29 9:03 えーっ!なんで が日本遺産に入ってないの??油日神社などの社寺が入っているのに。おかし過ぎるよ。俳優Harrison Fordも訪れた屋敷だぜ。日本遺産審査委員会よ、もっとよく調べなあかん。https://t.co/IgEnlaR0yD

Shiga History Sept.–Dec. 2016Chronological History of Shiga | Shiga History May–Aug. 2017

Videos of Golden Week festivals in Shiga

Golden Week is Japan’s spring vacation from late April to early May with a string of national holidays. April 29 is Showa Day, May 3 is Constitution Day, May 4 Greenery Day, and May 5 Children’s Day.

It is prime time for matsuri festivals in Japan and Shiga has a load of them. There are so many matsuri in Shiga during this time that it took me at least 4 or 5 years to see most of them because many are held at the same time. You really have to decide which one to see.

Here is a collection of my video clips (in varying quality) of Golden Week festivals I recommend seeing. A wide variety for sure.


Video link: https://youtu.be/xYQujzeDO8o

April 29: Sakata Shinmeigu Yakko-buri Procession (坂田神明宮の蹴り奴振り) in Maibara reenacts the procession of Lord Ii Naonobu from Hikone when he came to worship at Sakata Shinmeigu Shrine (坂田神明宮) in 1733 in Maibara. The men walk with a stylized, kicking action. It starts with a Shinto ceremony which includes dancing by shrine maidens. Starts at 2 pm at Sakata Shinmeigu Shrine near JR Sakata Station (Hokuriku Line). Photos | Website | Map


Video link: https://youtu.be/CzLvxfAJkQc

April 29: Kusatsu Shukuba Matsuri (草津宿場まつり) celebrates Kusatsu’s history as a stage town on the Nakasendo and Tokaido Roads. Numerous events and activities are held such as flea markets, street & stage performances, and Japanese dances. The main highlight is the Kusatsu Jidai Gyoretsu procession of people dressed in historical costumes from 11:45 am (from city hall) to 3:40 pm (Kusatsu Station East Exit). Near JR Kusatsu Station. Photos | Official site | Map


Video link: https://youtu.be/86wY3dOgLEw

April 29: Kaizu Rikishi Matsuri (海津力士まつり) features men dressed as sumo wrestlers (rikishi) carrying two mikoshi portable shrines around their respective lakeside neighborhoods near JR Makino Station in northern Takashima. They wear kesho mawashi ceremonial aprons. They jostle the mikoshi during the day from 1 pm to 3 pm, and then from 5 pm. At around 8 pm, they proceed to Kaizuten Jinja Shrine for the festival climax with lit torches. Be aware that the festival goes on until after 10 pm which may be past your last train home. Also, if you’re walking back to Makino Station from the shrine, be careful as part of the highway has no sidewalk. Bring a flashlight (or lit-up smartphone) so the cars (and big trucks) can see you on the road at night. Otherwise, it’s very hazardous. Photos | WebsiteGoogle Map


Video link: https://youtu.be/S5CG04vUdMA

May 3: Hino Matsuri (日野祭) in Hino is the largest festival in eastern Shiga Prefecture and one of Shiga’s grandest float festivals. Sixteen ornate floats and three portable shrines are paraded through the streets and gather at Umamioka Watamuki Shrine amid festival music of flutes and taiko drums. It’s all day long from morning till late afternoon when the floats leave the shrine. The three portable shrines are taken across town to the Otabisho and back. They also hold a festival eve on the evening of May 2. Buses run from Hino Station to Umamioka Watamuki Shrine. If you have time, I also highly recommend taking the bus from Hino Station to Shakunage Gorge (しゃくなげ渓) for a relaxing nature stroll in a gorge adorned with shakunage (rhododendron), Hino’s official flower. Photos | WebsiteGoogle Map


Video link: https://youtu.be/59UfQMWjkZY

May 3: Kenketo Odori (ケンケト踊り) at Takigi Jinja Shrine (龍樹神社) in Tsuchiyama, Koka is a dance performed by eight boys aged 7 to 12. The dance was originally started to ward off calamities. The boys wear tall peacock feathers on their heads. Starting in the early afternoon at the shrine, the delightful dance is a National Intangible Folk Cultural Property. From Kibukawa Station (JR Kusatsu Line and Ohmi Railways), catch the Aikuru Bus and get off at Higashi Maeno. The shrine is a short walk toward the river. Photos | Website | Google Map


Video link: https://youtu.be/isdfpgLUa54

May 3: The Kenketo Festival (ケンケト祭り) is held at few Shinto shrines in Ryuo and neighboring Higashi-Omi. It is mainly a naginata (pole sword) dance and procession by boys dressed in costume. They travel to these different shrines and perform, but the main venue is Suginoki Shrine in Yamanoue, Ryuo town, Shiga. Photos | Google Map


Video link: https://youtu.be/JW0sE2IXIQM

May 4: The Shichikawa Matsuri (七川祭) at Oarahiko Shrine in Takashima features a procession of yakko-furi laborers carrying archery targets (photo), yabusame horse runs, and a portable shrine procession. This is the largest festival in the Kosei area (western Shiga) and the only one featuring horses in Kosei. Attracts a good crowd. The shrine is near Shin-Asahi Station (JR Kosei Line), but renting a bicycle at the station is recommended. Photos | Website | Google Map


Video link: https://youtu.be/110DRdk9c5s

May 4: Omizo Matsuri (大溝祭) has five ornate floats pulled around the neighborhood of JR Omi-Takashima Station (JR Kosei Line). The festival eve on May 3 has the floats festooned with paper lanterns as they are pulled around in the evening. On May 4, they pull the floats around during the day and gather at Hiyoshi Jinja Shrine. When entering the shrine, they dramatically run while pulling the float. Photos | WebsiteGoogle Map


Video link: https://youtu.be/r_FYQwW_l-4

May 4: Iba-no-saka-kudashi Matsuri (伊庭の坂下し祭) held by Sanposan Shrine in Higashi-Omi, Shiga Prefecture is an unusual festival with three portable shrines hauled down a steep mountain (Kinugasa-yama) for about 500 meters. It doesn’t sound that far, but it’s all steep, rocky terrain. The mikoshi bearers can easily get injured. This is also one of the hardest festivals to view. You have to climb up this steep, rocky mountain and perch on a ledge. One earthquake and you can fall. The locals have an easy time climbing up the mountain though, even with kids. Photos | Website | Google Map

Shinoda hanabi

May 4: Shinoda Hanabi in Omi-Hachiman. Intangible Folk Cultural Property.

May 4: Shinoda Hanabi (篠田の花火) is a super spectacular and artistic fireworks display at Shinoda Shrine in Omi-Hachiman. Torch fireworks, Niagara Falls, and panel-type fireworks provide an explosive, close-up experience. For people who cannot wait till summer to see fireworks. Beware of a forest of camera tripods and photographers in front. Get there early if you want to take good shots. Not recommended if you don’t like sudden and loud explosions. Intangible Folk Cultural Property. Walk from Omi-Hachiman Station. Photos | WebsiteGoogle Map


Video link: https://youtu.be/lSjPZkbGhS4

May 4: The Misaki Shrine Fire Festival (御崎神社 火まつり) in Aisho climaxes with a towering clump of bamboo set afire to create a fire column well over 10 meters high. It starts at 7:30 pm when people carry 2-meter long torches from their homes to the shrine. A taiko drum is also carried and beaten. Very dramatic (no marshmallows). The shrine is a 20-min. walk from JR Inae Station. Photos | WebsiteGoogle Map


Video link: https://youtu.be/XqVS_P7Nccg


Video link: https://youtu.be/OtzUyyFVTdc

May 5: Hyozu Matsuri (兵主祭) is Shiga’s preeminent mikoshi (portable shrine) festival with 35 mikoshi paraded around Hyozu Taisha Shrine in Yasu. Two of them are carried only by spunky young women called “Ayame,” meaning iris flowers. Very colorful and lively festival as they frequently stop, yell, and hold up the mikoshi high in the air. Beware that it can be dusty on the gravel paths. Other mikoshi are carried by children and men. Photos | Website | Google Map


Video link: https://youtu.be/0_4CjYXHCls

May 5: The Sushi-kiri Matsuri (すし切りまつり) sushi-cutting festival at Shimoniikawa Shrine in Moriyama has two young lads very stylistically and meticulously cutting funa-zushi fermented fish (crucian carp native to Lake Biwa) as an offering. All throughout, they are verbally heckled by some men. Not visually spectacular, but unusual and intriguing. The best part is at the end when they give free morsels of funa-zushi to spectators. Shiga’s best-known delicacy from Lake Biwa. From Moriyama Station, take the bus and get off at  Shimoniikawa Jinja. Photos | Website | Google Map


Video link: https://youtu.be/1-Ti5JQTt_o

May 5: Naginata Odori Matsuri (長刀踊り まつり) at Ozu Jinja Shrine (小津神社) in Moriyama consists of colorful dances and music by children, taiko drumming, a naginata dance and acrobatics by boys using a pole sword. They conduct a roundtrip procession from Ozu Shrine to Ozu Wakamiya Shrine. A great variety of eye candy for Children’s Day. Photos | Website | Google Map


Video link: https://youtu.be/PU7an9F3GdQ

May 5: Sekku Matsuri Festival (苗村神社 節句祭) at Namura Shrine in Ryuo is for horse lovers. After children carry around a portable shrine, yabusame horseback archery is held in front of the shrine gate. Several horses make their runs, but only one of them shoots arrows at the targets. A good excuse to visit this shrine noted for its elegant-looking, thatched-roof main gate and Nishi Honden hall which is a National Treasure. The shrine’s architecture is from the Kamakura Period. Photos | Website | Google Map

1 2 3 80