Summer 2013 fireworks in Shiga Prefecture

Here’s the fireworks (hanabi) schedule for Shiga Prefecture in summer 2013 listed by date. If you want to see the schedule for 2013 summer festivals (matsuri) instead, click here.

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.)

July 13, 2013
♦ 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 14.
More info: 高宮商工繁栄会 TEL:0749-22-2075

♦ Yasu River Hanabi Taikai in Ritto, 7:45 pm – 8:25 pm
Along the Yasu River. 20-min. walk from JR Moriyama Station. If rained out, to be postponed to July 15.
More info: 栗東市観光物産協会 TEL:077-551-0126

July 20, 2013
♦ Echigawa Gion Noryo Hanabi Taikai in Aisho, 7:30 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 21. About 40,000 people are expected.
More info: 愛荘町秦荘観光協会/愛荘町愛知川観光協会 TEL:0749-37-8051

July 27, 2013
♦ 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 28.
More info: 大津志賀花火大会実行委員会 TEL:077-592-0378

♦ 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. Near Ohmi Railways Minakuchi Jonan Station.
More info: 甲賀市観光協会 TEL:0748-60-2690

Aug. 1, 2013
♦ Hikone 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.
More info: (社)彦根観光協会 Phone: 0749-23-0001

♦ Ogoto Onsen Noryo Hanabi Taikai in Ogoto Port, 8 pm – 8:30 pm
20-min. walk from 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.
More info: おごと温泉観光協会 Phone: 077-578-1650

♦ Omi-Imazu Furusato Natsu Matsuri, 9:00 pm – 9:30 pm
Climax of Imazu’s summer festival starting from 1 pm.
近江今津ふるさと夏祭り やっさ!今津!!2013
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. 3, 2013
♦ Makino Summer Carnival at Makino Sunny Beach in Takashima
More info: 四季遊園マキノ交流促進協議会事務局 Phone: 0740-28-8002

♦ Ujisato Matsuri Summer Gathering in Hino, 3:30 pm – 9 pm
Fireworks is the climax of this summer festival (bon dance, etc.) held in the northern parking lot of Hino Town Hall.
More info: 日野町イベント実行委員会 Phone: 0748-52-6562

♦ Kotonarie Summer Festa in Higashi-Omi’s Hibari Park
Part of an illumination andmusic festival. 20-min. by bus from Yokaichi Station. If rained out, to be postponed to Aug. 6.
More info: 東近江市湖東商工会 Phone: 0749-45-2571

♦ Konan Natsu Matsuri in Konan, 8:20 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).
More info: 湖南市観光協会 Phone: 0748-71-2157

Aug. 4, 2013
♦ Hachiman Tenbin Matsuri in Omi-Hachman, 7:30 pm
Includes bon dancing. At Kitanoshosawa area. Shuttle buses provided from Omi-Hachiman Station.
More info: 八幡てんびんまつり事務局 Phone: 0748-32-6654

Aug. 5, 2013
♦ Nagahama Kita-Biwako Hanabi Taikai at Nagahama Port, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
10-min. walk from Nagahama Station. Very crowded so go early to save a spot or pay for special seating. If rained out, to be postponed to Aug. 6.
More info: 長浜市観光振興課 Phone: 0749-65-6521

Biwako hanabi

Hama-Otsu on Biwako fireworks day. Tall walls block your view.

Aug. 8, 2013
♦ Biwako Dai-Hanabi Taikai at Hama-Otsu and Nagisa Park, 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm
This is the big one, but a steep admission (around 4,300 yen, 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. 12. (If the weather is questionable, call 0180-99-3339 to find out if the fireworks will be held or not.)
More info: びわ湖大花火大会実行委員会 TEL:077-511-1530

Aug. 9, 2013
♦ Ishiyama-dera Sennichikai and Setagawa River fireworks, 8:15 pm – 8:45 pm
Fireworks along the Seta River near Ishiyama-dera temple. 10-min. walk from Ishiyama-dera Station on the Keihan Line.
More info: (社)石山観光協会 Phone: 077-537-1105

Aug. 16, 2013
♦ Somagawa Natsu Matsuri near Kibukawa Station, Koka
Fireworks are part of the summer festival with taiko drummers and lantern floating on the river.
More info: 甲賀市観光協会 Phone: 0748-65-0708

Aug. 17, 2013
♦ Setagawa River Hanabi Taikai 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.
More info: 瀬田川流域観光協会 Phone: 077-537-1105

Aug. 25, 2013
♦ Kinomoto Jizo Dai-ennichi fireworks 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: 0749-82-5902

Also see the schedule for 2013 summer festivals (matsuri).

Waterfalls in Shiga

Video link:

The hot summer is upon us and we need to think about ways to stay cool without using too much electricity. Some of the nuclear power plants in neighboring Fukui are offline for inspections and the local residents understandably do not want them to be restarted. Hence, the current power shortage and power-saving efforts in Shiga/Kyoto/Osaka.

I recently found a great way to stay cool: Waterfalls. Did you know that there are numerous waterfalls in Shiga? Hardly anyone knows about waterfalls in Shiga since none are exceptionally famous. But a book about waterfalls in Shiga (ISBN 978-4-88325-165-0) was published last year and I was surprised to find over 45 waterfalls in Shiga listed. Actually, Shiga should have many waterfalls since we do have many mountains and streams/rivers flowing into Lake Biwa.

But I was shocked to realize that I had never seen a waterfall in Shiga. I had never even thought about seeing waterfalls in Shiga until a woodblock print artist in Michigan asked me about it. So I bought the waterfall book and did some reading. As usual, Japan has a list of 100 Most Famous Waterfalls and one of them is in Shiga, called Yatsubuchi-no-taki (Yatsubuchi Falls) in Takashima. It is a series of eight waterfalls. (See detailed description below.)

Some waterfalls are far or hazardous to reach, and a few are easy to get to like the first waterfall I ever visited in Shiga which was the Fudo-no-taki Waterfall in the city of Konan (see video above). It is a short taxi ride south of Mikumo Station on the JR Kusatsu Line. The waterfall is a short walk from the road. The place is a small river gorge lush with trees and greenery and very cool. Waterfalls are a great place to cool off during the hot summer. This waterfall is also a religious spot for pilgrims. You may see a pilgrim bathing to purify him/herself.

I have started including locations of waterfalls in my Google maps of Shiga cities and towns. I describe only two waterfalls in Shiga below. If anybody else has visited a waterfall in Shiga, you are welcome to send me links to any photos/videos you have and I’ll post them here. Hope you all stay cool this summer.

Mikumo Fudo-no-taki Waterfall 三雲 不動の滝

Fudo is the name of a god and many waterfalls are named Fudo-no-taki. About 5 meters high. Next to the falls is an altar for the Fudo Myo-o god. (See video above.)

Directions: JR Mikumo Station (JR Kusatsu Line) is the closest station. From the train station, it’s about 1.4 km by car or 700 meters south from the Mikumo intersection. There’s a roadside stone marker for the waterfall and when you enter the path and walk toward the river, you will see the falls. It’s very near the road.

Google Map here.

Yatsubuchi-no-taki (Yatsubuchi Falls) 八淵の滝

Located in Takashima, one of Japan’s 100 Most Famous Waterfalls and Shiga’s most acclaimed waterfalls. It is a series of eight waterfalls along a river. Each waterfall has a name and they come in a great variety.

The problem is, most of the falls require a steep trail to access. You will need to grab chains while climbing rockfaces or go up a ladder set on rock. If you’re afraid of heights, better not to try and see the more difficult falls. You need to cross the river so shoes will get wet. If it had rained, the water level will rise, making it dangerous to cross the river or waterfall.

Only two of the waterfalls (Osuribachi and Kosuribachi) are accessible by a normal hiking trail taking about 30 min. from the Gulliver Village parking lot. Osuribachi empties into a small basin and it is popular among hikers to rest and have lunch. To see the rest of the eight falls, you will have to take the steep trails. Have to be very careful.

Directions: JR Omi-Takashima is the nearest train station. Bus is available to Gulliver Village. From Gulliver Village the waterfall/mountain trail starts. Parking is also available at Gulliver Village.

Google Map here.

Photos and online reference in English:

Photos and online reference in Japanese:

Rental bicycles at Kosei Station

In the city of Konan, JR Kosei Station (甲西駅) on the JR Kusatsu Line now has rental bicycles. You can rent them in front of the station. There are five bicycles for rent, and two of them are electric bicycles. Rental fee is 500 yen per day or 700 yen for the electric bicycles. Available from 10 am to 5:30 pm.

More info: 美松プラザ2階 沖縄館 Phone: 0748-72-5813

Konki Senshoku indigo dyeing

Indigo dye vats at Konki Senshoku

One great hands-on experience in Shiga is indigo dyeing in Konan. An indigo fabric shop called Konki Senshoku offers easy indigo dyeing lessons using something as small as a handkerchief or as large as a T-shirt.

We tried it with a small handkerchief (1200 yen) and it was fun, though we got mixed results in the final tie-dye design. But it was fun and interesting.

One unique or rare thing about this shop is that they use natural indigo dye, from indigo plants that they grow themselves.

See my photos and full report here.

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