Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s major news headlines for January–June 2022.
Originally posted on Twitter under Shiga Headlines by Philbert Ono. Twitter posts are limited to 280 English characters including spaces and links (shortened by Twitter). Dates are based on Japan time.
Jan 18, 2022: On Dec. 9, 2021, an age 79 man from Gifu took sunrise photos of Shirahige Shrine’s torii in the lake in Takashima. When he crossed the lakeshore road to return to the shrine, he was hit and killed by a car, sadly. Busy road with no crosswalk between the shrine and lakeshore.
Jan 18, 2022: In 2021, the number of traffic deaths in Shiga was only 37, much fewer than the 49 deaths in 2020 & the third lowest number on record. It’s been 71 years since it has been this low. Likely due to people staying more at home in 2021. Traffic accidents in Shiga were 2,800 in 2021.
Jan 18, 2022: During Jan. 14 to March 6, 2022, Shiga is offering its “Go to Travel” discount coupons to Shiga residents staying at hotels/ryokans in Shiga. Proof of vaccination or negative Covid test required. Instructions are in Japanese only. #今こそ滋賀を旅しよう https://www.pref.shiga.lg.jp/ippan/shigotosangyou/kanko/317848.html
Jan 18, 2022: During Jan. 1 to 9, 2022, 442 Covid cases were reported in Shiga. Most of them were in their 20s and 30s. Almost 70% of them had been fully vaccinated, making them breakthrough cases with a weakening vaccine. This is prompting a quicker schedule for booster shots in Shiga.
Jan 18, 2022: On Jan. 13, 2022, Shiga saw a record 287 Covid cases, exceeding the previous record of 234 cases on Aug. 24, 2021. As of Jan. 17, 2022, Covid cases exceeded 200 for 5 days straight, hospital bed occupancy 59.2%. Otsu, Kusatsu, Higashi-Omi, & Nagahama are reporting the most cases.
Jan 18, 2022: In Moriyama, 12,000 rapeseed blossoms are in bloom along the Lake Biwa shore at Daiichi Nagisa Park. Beautiful when it’s sunny & there’s snow on the background Hira Mountains. The park is along the lakeshore road (Rt. 559). Enjoy it until late Jan. #第１なぎさ公園 #早咲きの菜の花
Jan 18, 2022: When there’s snow on the mountains, a boat cruise on Lake Biwa becomes a snow cruise. Great excuse to visit Chikubushima too. Details in my latest blog post. https://shiga-ken.com/blog/2022/01/snow-cruise-on-lake-biwa/
Mar 4, 2022: Northern Shiga got more snow than usual (over 1.19 m in Yogo) and now it’s melting. Weather bureau is warning against snowy mountains where avalanches can occur and rivers that can overflow.
Mar 4, 2022: In Ritto, blacksmith’s workshop remains have been found in the Deba archaeological dig of an early Kofun Period (4th c.) village. Forged metal pieces, metal bits, hammering stone have been found. Blacksmith remains from this period are rare, only 30 are known in Japan. #出庭遺跡
Mar 4, 2022: In late Jan. 2022, Nagahama Mayor Fujii Yuji and Ritto Mayor Nomura Masahiro reported that they got COVID-19. Fujii first had mild symptoms with fever, but later developed pneumonia and was hospitalized. Nomura’s staff were tested and his deputy mayor also got infected.
Mar 4, 2022: Nagahama now has a new mayor in Nagahama native Asami Nobuyoshi (62) who won his first election on Feb. 27, 2022. A former Tokyo High Court judge, his 23,202 votes defeated incumbent Fujii Yuji’s 12,824 votes. Fujii is still hospitalized w/COVID-19 after needing ECMO treatment.
Mar 4, 2022: Survey taken in Konan city showed that about 49.7% of parents are debating over having their kids getting vaccinated against coronavirus. Only 28.7% said yes, and 21.4% said no to vaccination. Parents are afraid of side effects.
Mar 4, 2022: Municipalities in Shiga are starting to vaccinate children age 5–11 against coronavirus from early March 2022. Some 18,700 kids, or 20% of Shiga’s 95,000 kids in this age range, will be inoculated with the first batch of Pfizer.
Mar 4, 2022: On March 3, 2022, Shiga had 919 COVID-19 cases for a total of 8,716 active cases. Most are recovering at home. Hospital bed occupancy is 73.3%. Total 51,670 COVID-19 cases and 141 deaths so far.
Mar 4, 2022: Costco is coming to Shiga in 2024 in Higashi-Omi. It will be near the Yokaichi Interchange on the Meishin Expressway. The city had been courting Costco for 8 years. It will create 500 jobs. Kansai region already has 4 branches.
Mar 4, 2022: This spring, looks like most festivals in Shiga will be held almost normally. In Omi-Hachiman, Sagicho Matsuri (photo) on March 12–13, Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri on April 15, Sanno Matsuri in Otsu on April 12–15, etc. Some things might be scaled back. https://t.co/pIJKT0Gnyl
Mar 4, 2022: Nagahama Castle park has plum blossoms this month. Also, bonsai plum blossoms on display at Keiunkan until March 10. Short walk from Nagahama Station. https://bonbai.jp/en/
Apr 3, 2022: On March 27, 2022 in a parking lot in Aisho, the bodies of 1 man and 3 women in their 20s to 40s were found in a vehicle with Nagoya license plates. Burnt coal briquettes were inside, and no signs of foul play. Apparent mass suicide. Pray for their souls.
Apr 3, 2022: Due to record snowfall in Dec. 2021, Hikone spent a record ¥240M on removing snow from roads, etc., last winter. More than twice than the previous record of ¥95.2M in 2016. Route 8 in Hikone famously saw 2 km of vehicles stuck in the snow.
Apr 3, 2022: From April to late May 2022, on a trial basis, Otsu Tourist Information Center has started renting two electric wheelchairs designed for sightseeing. They can go uphill and even move sideways like a crab. If it goes well, Otsu might continue offering it.
Apr 3, 2022: Some 70–100 cases of women & kids in Kusatsu being propositioned by strangers on the street are being reported annually. Kusatsu will therefore spend the next 2 years installing 350 security cameras at train stations, main roads, & near schools to catch these suspicious people.
Apr 3, 2022: On Mar. 25, 2022, Nagahama certified its 1st English tour guides. After an 8-day class & English test held by the local tourist association, 12 of 20 applicants passed. Age 19–73. Hope Nagahama will have better English. All they need now is foreign tourists. #長浜市地域通訳案内士
Apr 3, 2022: As of April 2, 2022, a total of five Ukrainian evacuees (two families) have moved to Shiga where they have close relatives in Hikone & Ritto. Two are from Kharkiv and three are from Kryvyi Rih. Lodging is being provided for free by the prefecture. Wish them a peaceful life. 🇺🇦
Apr 3, 2022: On March 31, 2022, for the 1st time, Shiga’s team reached the finals of the Senbatsu Spring Koshien national high school baseball tourney at Koshien. Ohmi High School lost to Osaka Toin 1-18. Fact is, Toin’s pitcher Maeda Yugo (前田悠伍) is from Nagahama. https://mainichi.jp/graphs/20220330/hpj/00m/050/001000g/20220331k0000m050119000p
Apr 3, 2022: Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri will be held almost normally in 2022. Four floats will show child kabuki on April 13 (evening), 14 (morning), 15 (all day), and 16. Spectators must not go near the young actors. Matsuri schedule: https://shiga-ken.com/blog/2018/03/nagahama-hikiyama-matsuri-festival-schedule-2/
Apr 3, 2022: Lake Yogo also has nice cherry blossoms. Read about it here: https://shiga-ken.com/blog/2022/04/lake-yogo-cherry-blossoms/
Apr 3, 2022: Also see Shiga’s Top 5 Cherry Blossom Spots: https://shiga-ken.com/blog/2013/03/shigas-top-cherry-blossom-spots/
Apr 3, 2022: Cherry blossoms are blooming in Hikone, full bloom in 1 week. To photograph Hikone Castle’s cherry blossoms, go in the morning. If you want a mirror reflection on the moat like in this photo, go early on a sunny morning by 7:30 am. #彦根城の桜
May 17, 2022: On Feb. 26, 2022, a Nagahama ryokan’s website stated in Japanese & English (not Russian) that it was against the war in Ukraine & prohibited Russians/Belarusians guests. The offensive statement was deleted w/apologies after a warning from the local health center on April 11.
May 17, 2022: To replace the Biwako Mainichi Marathon held for the last time in 2021, there are plans to start a new public marathon named “Biwako Marathon” (びわ湖マラソン) on March 12, 2023. Planned route starts in Otsu, goes along the lake to Moriyama, & finishes near Lake Biwa Museum.
May 17, 2022: The 2024 NHK Taiga Drama will be “Hikaru Kimi e” (光る君へ), about Lady Murasaki Shikibu who wrote the novel “Genji Monogatari.” She wrote it at Ishiyama-dera Temple in Otsu, so this TV series will highlight Shiga once again. Ishiyama-dera’s moon-viewing room has her mannequin.
May 17, 2022: On May 6, 2022, a meter-long sturgeon was caught in Lake Biwa near northern Otsu. Being non-native, it would disrupt the local ecosystem if it bred. Sold by pet shops, sturgeons can live for 30+ years. This one was likely raised for caviar. Now being kept at Lake Biwa Museum.
May 17, 2022: For 3 years in a row since Sept. 2020, Uminoko Floating School is operating only day-trip educational voyages for Shiga’s 5th graders instead of the normal overnight cruises. Due to COVID-19, most BOEs in Shiga favored day trips this year too. This year’s 1st cruise on June 17.
May 17, 2022: About 3,000 roses (300 varieties) are in bloom at Biwako Otsukan’s rose garden until mid-June. Small admission charged. https://www.biwako-otsukan.jp/englishgarden.html
May 17, 2022: On April 16, 2022, Shiga welcomed two more Ukrainian evacuees, a young mother and teenage daughter. A friend in Shiga is taking care of them. The city where they are living is being kept secret. Shiga now hosts 7 Ukrainian evacuees comprising three families.🇺🇦
May 17, 2022: Two Ukrainian evacuees in Hikone have started crowdfunding to buy a food truck to serve Ukrainian dishes. One of them has a daughter married to a Japanese in Hikone. They hope to open for business in July near Hikone Castle. Crowdfunding is going well. https://camp-fire.jp/projects/view/578786
May 17, 2022: From May 20 to July 4, 2022, mass vaccination centers in Otsu & Hikone will be open for locals to get their COVID-19 booster shot without reservations. You must be age 18 or older & your 2nd shot must be at least 6 months ago. Only 60% of Shiga’s population got their booster.
May 17, 2022: Since 2004, Kami-nyu in Samegai, Maibara grows tulips every spring for tourists. Festival events were canceled in 2020/2021 due to the pandemic, but held on April 17, 2022. Amid 15,000 tulips (+sakura), people enjoyed stage entertainment, food,etc. #第１４回上丹生チューリップ祭り
Jun 29, 2022: On June 27, 2022, Konan Mayor Ikuta Kunio struck a car as he backed out of his driveway to go to work at city hall. No injuries, but it was his second car accident since his collision with a schoolgirl on a bicycle in Dec. 2020.
Jun 29, 2022: As of June 28, 2022, 1,310 people in Shiga are currently infected by COVID-19, with 1,218 of them recovering at home. Hospital bed occupancy in Shiga is 9.2%. Total 95,018 people in Shiga have had COVID-19, including 148 new cases reported on June 28. It’s still out there.
Jun 29, 2022: Major renovations of Enryakuji’s Konpon Chudo Hall (National Treasure) & Corridor will be completed almost 2 years late (Dec. 2027) due to the shortage of Sawara wood (false cypress). The cost of the 10-year project will increase by ¥750m to ¥5.79 billion. https://www.hieizan.or.jp/repair
Jun 29, 2022: Letters written in 1922 from Thomas Edison have been found in an old family storehouse in Higashi-Omi. They were sent to Ryuo-native Horii Shinjiro (堀井新治郎 1856–1932) who manufactured & sold a version of Edison’s mimeograph machine in Japan. Letters will be exhibited in July.
Jun 29, 2022: Sounds of summer at Saikyoji Temple in Otsu. Worshippers can now enjoy 1,500 wind chimes in front of the temple hall until Sept. 19. #西教寺
Jun 29, 2022: NHK TV’s Utacon music program last night included a wonderful joint live performance by Nishikawa Takanori and the Ohmi High School brass band. #近江高等学校吹奏楽部
Jun 29, 2022: Some 31 swimming beaches around Lake Biwa are now preparing for this summer by laying buoys around safe swimming areas. Lake Biwa’s summer season officially starts on July 1. Safe swimming. https://t.co/uVnF7atnRt
Jun 29, 2022: After only 14 days, the rainy season in Kansai ended yesterday on June 28, 2022, the shortest on record. And it’s hot, even in northern Shiga. Hope there won’t be any water or power shortages.