We saw fine weather during Golden Week in Shiga from late April to early May 2010. I went to see a slew of festivals in Shiga during this time. I traveled to Maibara, Ryuo, Tsuchiyama (Koka), Takashima, Yasu, and Kora. I’m trying to see all the major Golden Week festivals in Shiga. The problem is, many of them are held on the same day and at the same time. It will still take me a few more years to see them all, but after this GW, I can say that I’ve see more than half of them.
Here’s what I saw during Golden Week 2010 in Shiga Prefecture (in chronological order):
On March 13, 2010, Japan Railways implemented revised train schedules. Note that there are now fewer train runs on the JR Tokaido and Kosei Lines in Shiga and Kyoto. JR has eliminated train runs which saw low ridership. If you use these two lines, you should refer to the revised train schedules and trash the old one.
On the Tokaido Line, the last train from Kyoto Station to Yasu Station now leaves at 12:34 am instead of 12:58 am. In the mornings and evenings of Sundays and national holidays, there is one less train run going from Yasu to Maibara and from Maibara to Yasu. (So four fewer train runs on Sundays and holidays.)
As for the Kosei Line between Kyoto and Katata Stations, the four train runs per hour between 10 am and 2 pm on weekdays will be reduced to only three train runs per hour in both directions. Between Kyoto and Omi-Maiko Stations, there will be one less train run in both directions in the evenings during both weekdays, Sundays, and holidays.
The Kusatsu Line and Hokuriku Line are not affected by cuts in train runs (although the train schedule may be different from before).
Held only once every 5 years, the Suijo Hachiman Shrine Taiko Odori Dance was held on Sept. 23, 2009 in the neighborhood of Suijo (春照) near the foot of Mt. Ibuki in Maibara. The dance was originally a rain-making dance. It features 15 yakko-furi men (with body paintings) who carry luggage for samurai, 35 flute players from the local elementary school, and about 50 taiko drummers. It was a very impressive and colorful performance. Got some great video footage and photos. Video in two parts. Google Map
I also saw the Hinade Shrine Sumo Odori dance held annually at Mt. Hinade near Sakata Station on the Hokuriku Line. Held on Sept. 21, 2009, it featured mainly children’s sumo and a centuries-old sumo dance and sumo jinku singing. Google Map