The Lake Biwa Cultural Museum (Biwako Bunkakan 琵琶湖文化館), shaped like a castle on the shore of Lake Biwa in Otsu, closed on March 30, 2008 after 47 years. Admission was free on the last day. The museum opened in 1961 and served as an art museum, centering on Buddhist art, and aquarium for lake fish. Parts of the museum’s collection were later transferred to other museums in Shiga. Its collection of about 5,000 pieces includes National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. The lookout deck on the top floor gave a panoramic view of the lake. The rooftop also had a dragonfly sculpture. Due to financial reasons, the cash-strapped prefecture decided to close the museum which will continue to store its collection.
Archive for March 2008
The Hokuriku Main Line running from Maibara Station to Tsuruga Station in Fukui Pref. converted to direct current power in Oct. 2006, enabling trains to run directly from Kyoto all the way to Tsuruga. Passengers no longer have to change trains at Maibara or Nagahama Station when going beyond Nagahama. Anticipating a substantial increase in visitors, the train stations along the line built new station buildings. However, by March 2008, the passenger increase was only 0.5 percent, far below the target 14% increase.
Otsu is celebrating the Millennium of the Tale of Genji 源氏物語千年紀 (Genji Monogatari Sennenki) with various exhibitions and events mainly at Ishiyama-dera temple from Mar. 18 to Dec. 14, 2008.
An event venue called Genji Yume-kairo 源氏夢回廊 (main path leading to the temple entrance) at the temple has a few temple buildings holding various exhibitions related to the novel. Admission is 600 yen or 1,000 yen which includes admission to the temple.
I saw it March and here are my pictures: Ishiyama-dera Temple 石山寺
It was in 1008 when Lady Murasaki completed the epic novel Genji Monogatari after four years. She wrote it in a little room with a view of the moon at Ishiyama-dera in Otsu. The temple itself is a major tourist attraction with National Treasure buildings, spring lfowers, and autumn leaves.
Two train stations on the JR Kosei Line have been renamed:
Nishi-Otsu Station (西大津駅) changed its name to “Otsu-kyo” 大津京駅 on March 15, 2008. This is an attempt to have people recognize that Otsu was once the capital of Japan.
Ogoto Station (雄琴駅) changed its name to “Ogoto Onsen” おごと温泉駅 on March 15, 2008. This is an attempt to get more people to visit Ogoto Spa. The station also has a free foot bath with hot spring water where you can relax your feet.
Changing the train station names cost Otsu taxpayers a total of 110 million yen paid to Japan Railways.
I created a music video for Lake Biwa Rowing Song and now you can see it on YouTube:
Video link: http://youtu.be/gOUwlb6P_9s