Google Maps street views of Shiga

Google Map street view of Shirahige Shrine

Google Map street view of Shirahige Shrine

Google Maps now show street views of Shiga Prefecture.

On March 11, 2010, Google has started to post photos of the streets of Shiga, mainly in Otsu, Kusatsu, and the road going around Lake Biwa. No doubt, they will keep posting street views of more roads in Shiga as they become available.

Street views are panoramic photos stitched together, showing the streets and scenery along the road. It is very convenient for people looking for a place or directions to somewhere. It’s a great reference for bicyclists wanting to cycle around Lake Biwa too. You can see the terrain and road conditions before you leave.

Just go to Google Maps and drag the standing man icon to a street highlighted in blue. You can then navigate around by clicking on directional arrows in the street view or by moving the standing man icon around on the map.

Note that the current street view images of Shiga were shot two years ago. Some scenery (buildings, etc.) might be out of date.

Breaking news: Swine flu hits Shiga, schools closed

On the morning of May 20, 2009, Shiga’s first case of swine flu has been confirmed. A 23-year-old male student at the Biwako-Kusatsu campus of Ritsumeikan University has been confirmed as the first patient. His symptoms are not serious and will be hospitalized. None of the swine flu cases in Japan have proved to be fatal. It seems to be similar to seasonal flu.

The student lives in Otsu and was visiting his parents’ home in Kobe during May 15-18. In Kobe, he worked part-time at a fast-food place where a high school student also working there was later diagnosed with swine flu.

He attended university classes in Kusatsu on the 18th. They are now contacting his classmates who had classes with him at the university.

Ritsumeikan University and most of Shiga’s public schools (especially in Shiga’s six southern cities) will be closed for seven days starting today. Many public and sports events have also been cancelled. Shiga is Japan’s third prefecture hit with swine flu.

School trips to Shiga are being canceled one after another. One school switched its trip from Shiga to Kyoto which I cannot understand. Matter of time before Kyoto gets it too.

Watch all the surgical masks sell out in Shiga from today.

Failed Karasuma Peninsula resort development creates big losses

Plans to further develop the man-made Karasuma Peninsula in Kusatsu with a resort hotel failed as no takers emerged to build it. A third-sector corporation called the Biwako Lakefront Center  (びわ湖レイクフロントセンター), established in 1989 by Shiga Prefecture, Kusatsu, Shiga Bank, and other companies to promote the hotel resort development, was dissolved in Aug. 2008.

The total losses was calculated in March 2009 as follows:

Shiga Prefecture: Loss of 290 million yen.
Kusatsu city: Loss of 340 million yen.
Shiga Bank: Loss of 460 million yen.

The peninsula already has the Mizunomori lotus pond (blooms in July) and Lake Biwa Museum. The rest of the land is pretty much a park.

FM Kusatsu (78.5) starts broadcasting

Radio station FM Kusatsu has started broadcasting on March 22, 2009. When you’re in the Kusatsu area, tune to 78.5 Mhz. Their studio is in Kusatsu Yume Honjin (くさつ夢本陣). They should reach about 80,000 households.

They will offer local programming during 7 am to 7 pm on weekdays, and 9 am to 5 pm on weekends. I hope they will include some international programs as well.

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