The Sports Recreation event will be held in Shiga during Oct. 18-21, 2008. On the first day Oct. 18 at Kibogaoka Park in Yasu, there will be some entertainment on a side stage called スポレク「夢」ステージ near the Nishi-guchi west gate during 9:30 am to 11:15 am.
During this entertainment time, we will appear and sing “Lake Biwa Rowing Song“(Biwako Shuko no Uta in English) on this outdoor Yume stage at around 10:20 am. Jamie and Megan Thompson will sing the song. If you have time, please come down to see us.
On the same day, the Spo-rec opening ceremony will start on the center stage at 12:30 pm. From JR Yasu Station, there will be free shuttle buses going to the park every 10-15 min. Note that if the weather is bad, the show will be canceled. Light rain will be no problem though.
I went to see two rice-planting festivals in Shiga, for the first time.
The first one was in Yasu on May 25, 2008. It’s held on the fourth Sunday in May in a sacred rice paddy near Mikami Shrine. Women and men in colorful costumes plant rice seedlings accompanied by singing, taiko drumming, and dancing. Started at 10 am with a Shinto ceremony, then the rice planting was held from 10:30 am to 11 am. The rice paddy is called Yuki Saiden (悠紀斎田記念田) which was the used to produce the rice used for the Showa Emperor Hirohito’s accession to the throne in 1928. It was a scenic area with Mt. Mikami in the background. Near Yamade-mae bus stop near the foot of Mt. Mikami. More photos here. Video link: http://youtu.be/JlETZh-jh7k
The second rice-planting festival was at Taga Taisha Shrine on June 1, 2008. It was more elaborate than at Yasu, with stage performances of taiko drumming and sacred dances. But they required a 500 yen donation to watch the rice-planting. It started at 1:15 pm and ended at 3 pm. The rice paddies were left unfinished though. More photos here. Video link: http://youtu.be/mbZbS9dYZmI
Mt. Mikami in Yasu is nicknamed Omi-Fuji because it has a conical shape like Fuji-san. I recently climbed this mountain. Only 432 meters high.
It was a pretty easy climb. There are two hiking trails, Omote and Ura. The Ura trail is less steep but takes longer to reach the top. The Omote trail is steeper and goes almost straight up the mountain. I went on the Ura path.
It took me 90 min. to reach the top. I took my time taking pictures, etc. The mountain has a thick forest. The view from the top is nice, but you can see in only one direction.
I went down the mountain on the opposite side and reached Karyoku Koen 花緑公園 and Kibogaoka Park.
From Yasu Station, it’s a short bus ride to the entrance to the hiking trail (get off at 山出前). Not so many buses run from the station though. Google Map