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).



栗東市役所ホームページの機械翻訳結果の一部。 A bad idea to officially use machine translation on local government Web sites.










Bing/Microsoft Translatorの結果。

機械翻訳サービスによって翻訳結果が大きく変わってくることがあります。栗東市が使っているGoogle Translateは性的な俗語も取り入れているようです。一方、例えばMicrosoft Translatorはこういう結果です。問題の「くりちゃんバス」は適当な英語がないため日本語をそのまま残しています(右の画像)。




Nionoumi, sumo wrestler from Shiga Prefecture

Went to see sumo on January 25, 2013, the 13th day of the New Year’s sumo tournament at the Kokugikan sumo arena in Tokyo. I finally saw Nionoumi (鳰の湖), Shiga’s only sekitori (a sumo wrestler in the second-highest Juryo or highest Makunouchi/Makuuchi Division). He was ranked West Juryo No. 14.

It’s been two years since Nionoumi (pronounced Nio-no-umi) first made it to the Juryo Division. He has since been going down and up in the ranks. At this month’s New Year’s tournament in Tokyo, he ended with a decent 8 wins and 7 losses. Since he was already ranked at the bottom of the Juryo Division, it looks like he will retain his rank or be slightly promoted in Juryo for the next tourney in March in Osaka.

This is good news. The difference between Juryo and the lower Makushita Division is huge. There used to always be a Shiga sumo wrestler in the top Makunouchi Division, but not anymore. At least we got one in Juryo who will hopefully get back up to Makunouchi.

Born in 1986 as Shinji Tanaka (田中 真二), Nionoumi is from Otsu and a graduate of Ojiyama Junior High School. He practiced judo as a child and became quite formidable, becoming one of the top 16 junior high school finalists in a national judo tournament. After graduating from junior high school, he entered Kitanoumi Stable run by former Yokozuna Kitanoumi (one of the greatest yokozuna ever) and current chairman of the Japan Sumo Association. Nionoumi made his sumo debut in March 2002. At 175 cm and 148 kg, he’s kind of small for a sumo wrestler and looks somewhat stocky.

His ring name “Nionoumi” means, “Lake of Little Grebes.” This is Lake Biwa’s nickname which stems from the lake’s numerous water fowl including the Little Grebe which is Shiga’s official bird. I think it’s a great ring name. It also retains part of his stablemaster’s ring name of Kitanoumi (Lake of the North 北の湖) which refers to scenic Lake Toya in Hokkaido where Kitanoumi grew up and has his Yokozuna Kitanoumi Memorial Hall museum.

Nionoumi (right) is pushed out by Oiwato on Jan. 25, 2013, the tournament’s 13th day. Video of this bout:

Nionoumi was first promoted to Juryo in Jan. 2011. But his Juryo debut ended disastrously with 5 wins and 10 losses and he was demoted back to Makushita. After two tourneys in Makushita, he climbed back up to Juryo in Sept. 2011. In Jan. 2012, he even made it to the top Makunouchi/Makuuchi Division as Maegashira No. 16. Unfortunately, his Makunouchi debut ended terribly with 5 wins and 10 losses which demoted him back to Juryo. He has since been struggling in Juryo. Let’s hope that he will keep winning in 2013.

Meanwhile, we have three other sumo wrestlers from Shiga in the lower sumo divisions. In Sandanme, there’s Koryuyama (b. 1979 甲龍山) from Koka and Naniwaryu (b. 1982 浪花竜) from Otsu. And in Jonidan, Tomonofuji (b. 1977 智ノ富士) from Ritto. Although they are already in their 30s (which is quite old for a sumo wrestler), good luck to them as well.

Links: Nionoumi Bio | Koryuyama Bio | Naniwaryu Bio | Tomonofuji Bio

Koryuyama (right) is quickly defeated by Tamanotaka (left) on Jan. 25, 2013, the tournament’s 13th day.

Naniwaryu (right) is pushed out by Nishiyama on Jan. 25, 2013, the tournament’s 13th day.

*Updates: Koryuyama retired at the end of the March 2013 tournament in Osaka. His highest rank was Sandanme 26 with 354 wins, 362 losses, and 33 absences in his career. Also, a new sumo wrestler from Otsu named Kotomiyakura (琴宮倉) appeared in his first tournament in May 2013 in Tokyo

Although Nionomumi did well up to May 2013, he did poorly in July (1-14) and got demoted to Makushita. As of Nov. 2013, he was ranked West Makushita No. 5.

Ritto mayor not seeking reelection

Ritto Mayor Kunimatsu Shoichi announced on July 16, 2010 that he would not seek a third term as mayor when Ritto’s mayoral election is held in October.

Four years ago, Kunimatsu won his second term as mayor upon promising that he would push for the construction of a shinkansen bullet train station in Ritto. This controversial project was later canceled by Shiga Governor Kada Yukiko who was elected in July 2006 upon promising that she would cancel the shinkansen project. The majority of Shiga voters were against Ritto’s proposed shinkansen station seen as hugely expensive and unnecessary due to its proximity to Kyoto and Maibara Stations.

Sixty-two-year-old Mayor Kunimatsu was among the five city mayors in Shiga who opposed the reelection of Governor Kada Yukiko in July 2010 who won by a landslide.

Hopefully, the next Ritto mayor won’t have any ax to grind with the governor and will be able to work together with her.

Governor Kada Yukiko reelected in landslide victory

Shiga gubernatorial election posters.

Voters went to the polls in droves on July 11, 2010 to reelect 60-year-old Kada Yukiko for her second term as governor of Shiga Prefecture. She pulled in a record 419,921 votes, the highest number ever for a Shiga governor. She broke the previous record of 319,563 votes in the 1994 gubernatorial election won by Inaba Minoru.

She managed to garner over 200,000 votes more than the 217,842 votes she got for her first election as governor four years ago. She also got twice as many votes as her closest rival, 44-year-old Ueno Ken’ichiro who attracted 208,707 votes. Ueno got more votes than Kada only in Takashima and Ritto cities.

In most other municipalities, Kada got more than twice the number of votes than Ueno, including the cities of Otsu, Hikone, Omi-Hachiman, and Moriyama whose mayors (including Ritto’s mayor) publicly opposed Kada’s reelection. Goes to show how out of touch mayors can be with their own citizens. Basically, these mayors are complaining about Kada not consulting or informing them beforehand about prefectural plans in their cities. Probably the reason is that these mayors wouldn’t agree anyway even if they were consulted.

Knowing how popular she is with the people, the other mayors in Shiga meanwhile ignored these five minority mayors opposing Kada. Perhaps these mayors’ public opposition to Kada spurred voters to vote for her to make sure she gets reelected.

Kada ran on a similar platform as the last election, using “Mottainai Plus” as her campaign keyword. During the past four years, she came through with her campaign promise of stopping wasteful governmental spending on huge, unneeded projects such as the Ritto shinkansen station and the Daidogawa Dam in Otsu. Especially when Shiga’s coffers are in dire straits. Kada worked to stop pork barrel projects and kept her campaign promise, winning her the people’s trust. By stopping or freezing these construction projects, she has saved Shiga 100 billion yen which she now plans to redirect for more essential programs such as hiring more nursery school teachers and elderly care workers.

According to a friend of mine who was there, it was a hot and steamy room (no air conditioning and windows were closed to reduce noise) at Kada’s campaign headquarters in Otsu when she won the election and appeared before supporters with her grandkids.

Voter turnout was high at 61.56% for the gubernatorial election. This was much higher than the last election’s 44.94%. The higher voter turnout is attributed to the coinciding elections of the Shiga governor and Shiga’s representative (won by Hayashi Kumiko) to the Upper House (House of Councillors) in the National Diet. Shiga’s total number of eligible voters on July 11, 2010 was 1,090,743. Over 60% of them voted.

For her second term, Kada wants to maintain dialog with Shiga residents and work together with them. She strives to work on a grassroots level. Indeed, her campaign activities included coffee time meetings in 21 locations in Shiga from April 2010. She met with 1,600 residents, listening to their concerns and problems about elderly care, support for small- and medium-size businesses, and other issues.

She plans to focus on making child-rearing and elderly care in Shiga easier and improve employment opportunities for young people. When asked whether she would run for a third term, she implied a yes. “Right after you give birth, you don’t feel like having another child. But as you raise the child and the child grows, you come to desire another one.”

Meanwhile, Ritto mayor Kunimatsu Shoichi announced on July 16, 2010 that he would not run for a third term as Ritto mayor in Oct. when mayoral elections will be held. He was the one who butt heads with Kada the most, over the Ritto shinkansen station. The Ritto mayor actually went against the majority of Shiga residents who opposed the shinkansen station. The governor represented the majority. Hopefully, the new Ritto mayor will be able to work better with the governor and we will see less pork barrel politics in Shiga.

Congratulations to Kada-chan!

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