Shiga History 2010

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s news bits for January-December 2010. Compiled by Philbert Ono.

Mitsui Outlet Park, Ryuo

Mitsui Outlet Park, Ryuo

Jan. 1, 2010: Nagahama merges with six towns in northern Shiga Prefecture: Torahime, Kohoku, Takatsuki, Kinomoto, Yogo, and Nishi-Azai.

Feb. 14, 2010: ITO Miki, native of Hino, places 12th in the finals of the women’s freestyle moguls competition at the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

March 10, 2010: Google Maps street views start including photos of the streets of Shiga, mainly in Otsu, Kusatsu, and the road going around Lake Biwa.

March 21, 2010: Omi-Hachiman and the town of Azuchi merge, becoming a new city of about 82,000 residents. A mayoral election is held on April 25 to elect the new city’s first mayor (won by the mayor of the old Omi-Hachiman).

March 31, 2010: Shiga Kaikan, a public hall, theater, and exhibition space across from the prefectural office, is closed due to old age.

May 2010: Japan’s oldest clay figure (called “doguu” 土偶) is discovered in Aidani-kumahara ruins (相谷熊原遺跡) in Higashi-Omi’s Eigenji area near the Echigawa River. Slightly larger than a human thumbnail, the tiny clay figure is about 1.3 cm tall and depicts the upper torso of a female. The clay sculpture was dated as from the early Jomon Period, about 13,000 years ago.

June 2010: Overseas exports of Omi beef start with Macao after approval is obtained.

June 19, 2010: Natsuhara Heijiro, the founder of the Heiwado supermarket chain, passes away due to pneumonia at age 91.

July 8, 2010: Mitsui Outlet Park, Shiga Ryuo, a large outlet mall in Ryuo opens.

July 11, 2010: Kada Yukiko is reelected for her second term as governor of Shiga Prefecture. She pulls in a record 419,921 votes, the highest number ever for a Shiga governor.

Oct. 24-25, 2010: Biwako Basho exhibition sumo tournament is held in Otsu’s Shiga Prefectural Gymnasium. Yokozuna Hakuho, on a winning streak of 62 consecutive wins, and the rest of the top sumo wrestlers and staff totaling about about 270 were on hand to entertain about 2,700 spectators each day.

Nov. 2010: The export of Omi beef to Singapore and Thailand starts.

Nov. 17, 2010: The former Toyosato Elementary School is burglarized. Twenty-two figurines based on the K-ON! anime program were stolen along with a portable cash safe containing almost 300,000 yen and three guitars modeled after those used in the anime series.

Dec. 10, 2010: A two-story ryokan called Nakamura-ya (中村屋) in Musa, Omi-Hachiman has been totally destroyed by an early-morning fire. Nakamura-ya has a 400-year history as one of the hatago inns of Musa, the 66th post town on the Nakasendo Road.

Click here for Shiga History 2011

Mitsui Outlet Park, Shiga Ryuo opens

Mitsui Outlet Park. Click image to see more photos.

Shiga now has another megamall, the much-publicized outlet mall called Mitsui Outlet Park, Shiga Ryuo (三井アウトレットパーク 滋賀竜王) in Ryuo-cho. Opened today on July 8, 2010, the mall is near the Ryuo Interchange on the Meishin Expressway, making it readily accessible by car for shoppers coming from Kyoto, Nara, Mie, and Gifu. It also targets Chinese tourists traveling from the Kansai area to Mt. Fuji and further. Merchants do accept Chinese credit/debit cards. It is the first outlet mall in the Kyoto-Shiga area.

The two-level mall has 165 stores, 145 of which are outlet shops. Most are clothing shops and some are first-time outlet shops. There are many big names including Burberry, Gap Outlet, Barney’s New York Outlet, Armani, Paul Smith, Coach, Beams, Ralph Lauren, Nike, Bebe, Edwin, Vans, Levi’s, Puma, and Adidas. The shops open from 10 am to 8 pm. They expect to attract 4 million shoppers annually.

One shop we have to visit is called Umi-no-Eki Shiga Ryuo (湖の駅滋賀竜王 おいしやうれしや) where they sell Shiga products. The food court includes a restaurant serving local Omi beef, Kua’aina (Hawaiian hamburgers), and Tully’s Coffee. There’s also a Family Mart convenience store.

If you don’t have a car, you can take a local bus from Omi-Hachiman Station or Yasu Station. The ride takes 30 min. in normal traffic. Buses leave twice an hour, costing 510 yen one way from Yasu Station and 500 yen from Omi-Hachiman Station. Expect heavy traffic and crowds during the first few weeks, especially on the weekends until July 19, 2010, when many of the shops will hold an opening fair with special sale prices.

Mitsui Outlet Park is actually a chain of 10 outlet malls developed by Mitsui Fudosan real estate co. All are called “Mitsui Outlet Park” and tagged with the respective location. That’s why “Shiga Ryuo” is part of the mall’s name.

Official Web site in English: http://www.31op.com/shiga/english/

Golden Week 2010 in Shiga

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):

Photos: Sakata Shinmeigu Yakko-buri Procession 坂田神明宮の蹴り奴振り

Photos: Yuge Fire Festival 弓削の火祭り

Photos: Kenketo Matsuri Festival and Odori Dance ケンケト祭・踊り

Photos: Omizo Matsuri Festival 2010 大溝祭

Photos: Shichikawa Matsuri Festival 2010 七川祭

Photos: Hyozu Matsuri Festival 兵主祭

Photos: Takatora Summit in Kora 2010 高虎サミットin甲良

More spring festivals in Shiga

During this rainy season, I’m staying at home to sort through the thousands of photos I took in Shiga during spring. Here are a few more festivals in Shiga which I photographed during spring.

Sanno Matsuri held by Hiyoshi Taisha in Otsu (Part 1 and 2):
Video link Part 1: http://youtu.be/ZwaS6fxHhb0
Video link Part 2: http://youtu.be/waDS12Umx5E


Sanno Matsuri photos: Sanno-sai Festival 山王祭

Minakuchi Hikiyama Matsuri is a festival of floats paraded during April 19-20:
Video link: http://youtu.be/qVIMVXchZXI

Minakuchi Hikiyama Matsuri photos here.

Kenketo Matsuri in Ryuo (Photos here):
Video link: http://youtu.be/isdfpgLUa54

Naginata Odori in Moriyama (Photos here):
Video link: http://youtu.be/1-Ti5JQTt_o

Taga Matsuri (Photos here):
Video link: http://youtu.be/M_Gg3rMEex4

I have more spring festivals to show and a full update will be posted soon on my home page (shiga-ken.com).

1st time to Ryuo-cho, Shiga

I finally visited Ryuo-cho for the first time during New Year’s vacation. It’s easy to forget about Ryuo because it has no train station. But it’s easy to reach from Omi-Hachiman Station by bus (twice an hour or so). The tourist info office at Omi-Hachiman Station also had Ryuo-cho tourist pamphlets/maps which helped me decide where to visit.

Many paddies and vegetable fields in Ryuo. Visited Namura Shrine which has a National Treasure and also hiked up Yukinoyama. I have to visit again to hike up Kagamiyama.

My pictures of Ryuo:
http://photoguide.jp/pix/index.php?cat=175

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