Shiga Prefecture Food and Craft Fair (Dai-Omiten) at Takashimaya Department Store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Feb. 24 to March 1, 2012.
東京日本橋の高島屋で開催中の第24回 琵琶湖夢街道 大近江展へ行きました。
Takashimaya Department Store in Nihonbashi, Tokyo is currently holding the Dai-Omiten (大近江展) food and craft fair featuring stuff from Shiga Prefecture. In one corner, this Sagicho Festival float decoration is on display. The festival has 13 floats and each one has an elaborate decoration with the year’s Oriental zodiac sign. What’s incredible is that the decorations are made of edible things. For example, the dragon’s teeth are cashew nuts. The Sagicho festival is held in mid-March (17th and 18th this year) in Omi-Hachiman, Shiga. The food fair is on the 8th floor, from 10 am to 8 pm (until 6 pm on March 1), until March 1. http://www.biwako-visitors.jp/pdf/oumiten.pdf
Hiko-nyan runners at Tokyo Marathon 2012.
The massive Tokyo Marathon was held on Feb. 26, 2012. Out of almost 300,000 applicants, about 36,000 lucky people got to run from 9:10 am to 4:10 pm. I was near the finish line and saw these two Hiko-nyan runners.
Being an Olympic year, this was an important race for the Japanese runners seeking to qualify for London. Also, the Biwako Mainichi Marathon to be held in Otsu, Shiga on March 4 will also be a crucial race as an Olympic qualifier.
Hina dolls in Gokasho. Click image to see more photos.
Hina-matsuri dolls (雛祭りの雛人形) are being displayed at various locations in Shiga to celebrate Girl’s Day on March 3.
The most hina ningyo dolls I’ve ever seen in Shiga were in the Omi-shonin merchant homes and museums in Gokasho, Higashi-Omi. They are on display until March 20 (9 am to 4:30 pm) in the former residences of Tonomura Uhee (外村 宇兵衛), Tonomura Shigeru (外村 繁), Nakae Jungoro (中江 準五郎), and Fujii Hikoshiro (藤井 彦四郎邸). The homes are large, stately Japanese-style mansions. Must-see for architecture buffs. Buy a single 600 yen ticket and you can enter all the homes. Closest train station is Ohmi Railways Gokasho Station. Google Map
Hina dolls are also displayed at other places in Shiga:
Omi-Hachiman: Former Ban family residence (旧伴家住宅) until March 20 (closed Mon.). Omi merchant home which also served as a girls school and public library until 1997. Spacious room with a large display of Hina dolls. The former Nishikawa Residence (Kyu-Nishikawa-ke Jutaku 旧西川家住) also has doll display. This is a large Omi merchant home designated as an Imnportant Cultural Property. Google Map
Hino: Omi Hino Merchant House (近江日野商人館) until March 4. The former home of Hino merchant Yamanaka Hyouemon was donated to the town in 1981. Now a museum exhibiting the history and artifacts of the Hino merchants. Admission 300 yen. Another place is Hino Machikado Kan-okan (日野まちかど感応館) which is a former home along Hino’s main road. It is also a tourist information office. Free admission. Google Map
Otsu: Saikyoji temple (西教寺) until March 3 (9 am to 4:30 pm). Dolls from the Edo Period are also on display. This temple in Sakamoto is noted for the grave of Akechi Mitsuhide. Admission 400 yen. English Website.
Have a Happy Girl’s Day!
Japanese map in pdf: http://www.ohmitetudo.co.jp/railway/event/2012/hinameguri/img/hinameguri1.pdf
Congratulations to Ito Miki (from Hino, Shiga) for placing 3rd in the FIS Freestyle World Cup dual moguls in Naeba (Niigata) today. Media darling Uemura Aiko placed 2nd.
Lake Yogo with deep snow.
Shiga and the Japan Sea Coast (especially Niigata Prefecture) got a heavy dump of snow during Feb. 2 and 3, 2012. Nagahama and Imazu (Takashima) in northern Shiga have gotten over 70 cm of snow. On Feb. 3, some 160 troops from the Ground Self-Defense Forces were dispatched to Imazu to help remove snow. The last time they dispatched military personnel for snow removal was 31 years ago in Jan. 1981.
On the morning of Feb. 3, people in central Nagahama, such as in Kurokabe Square, were busy shoveling snow. Maibara and Hikone also got a good amount of snow. Some 35 kindergartens and elementary and junior high schools in Nagahama and Maibara canceled classes on Feb. 3 due to hazardous roads. Meanwhile, 105 schools either delayed the start of classes or canceled afternoon classes.
Snowy and icy roads are also causing car accidents. During Feb. 2-3, about 300 accidents occurred mainly due to road slippage. Twenty-two people were injured. Higashi-Omi, Hikone, and Omi-Hachiman saw the most car accidents with 76, 63, and 50 accidents respectively.
People are also getting injured while shoveling snow off their rooftops or falling into roadside gutters hidden by the snow. Some agricultural greenhouses also collapsed under the snow, even as south as Kora town.
The snowfall’s peak is passing, but shinkansen trains are being delayed between Nagoya and Kyoto on Feb. 4.
Take extra precautions when traveling to or in Shiga. Be very careful when walking on icy surfaces. Beware of cars that cannot stop due to road slippage. And don’t forget about the Hong Kong flu that’s going around. A very high number of cases have been reported in neighboring Gifu, so take precautions especially for the kids and elderly. Stay safe this winter.