“We love Shiga” banners

I’ve created “We love (heart) Shiga” banners (horizontal and square) for anyone to download and use. Feel free to use them on your Web site, blog, Facebook, business cards, letterheads, etc. You can opt to link the banner to any Web site about Shiga. (It doesn’t have to be shiga-ken.com.) Or just tack it on your home page for decoration or self-expression. I also provide large sizes for printing on A4- or A3-size paper. Make a poster for your dormitory wall or create T-shirt iron-on transfers and bumper stickers. Free for non-commercial use. Let’s spread the word that not just you

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Higashi-Omi Giant Kite Museum video

Video link: http://youtu.be/N_B3H6Ym9kw Higashi-Omi in eastern Shiga Prefecture is famous for its giant kite measuring 12 meters by 13 meters. It’s flown on the last Sunday of May at the annual Giant Kite Festival (Odako Matsuri). (Details below.) For people who can’t see the festival, they should visit the Higashi-Omi Giant KIte Museum (東近江大凧会館 formerly Yokaichi Giant Kite Museum) not far from Ohmi Railways Yokaichi Station (map here). It displays the previous giant kite along with hundreds of kites from all over Japan and the world. I made this video of the kite museum with three English-speaking local kids as the reporters.

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Hikone Byobu National Treasure folding screen

The Hikone Castle Museum exhibits the Hikone Byobu folding screen (彦根屏風), a National Treasure, on a regular basis every year. When I saw it in spring 2013, it was being exhibited until May 7, 2013. Shiga Prefecture has only four paintings that are National Treasures, and this is one of them and the only non-religious one. The others are all religious paintings owned by temples like Miidera. (Japan has 158 paintings designated as National Treasures as of this writing.) The byobu shows a pleasure quarters scene in Kyoto. It’s painted on a gold-leaf paper background. The six-panel byobu is dated to be

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Hina-matsuri doll festivals in Shiga 2013

Hina-matsuri dolls (雛祭りの雛人形) are being displayed at various locations in Shiga to celebrate Girl’s Day on March 3. On the weekend of Feb. 23-24, 2013, Gokasho in Higashi-Omi is having a unique event of live hina dolls called Ningen Hina-matsuri (にんげん雛まつり). Yes, they are real girls, ten of them, dressed as Hina dolls. They will appear twice on both the 23rd and 24th at 10:00 am to 11:30 am and at 1:30 pm to 3 pm at the Omi-shonin merchant home of Tonomura Shigeru (外村繁邸). Gokasho, Higashi-Omi: Normal hina ningyo dolls are also displayed in the Omi-shonin merchant homes and museums. They are on

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Seian University of Art and Design

I recently visited Seian University of Art and Design in western Otsu (near Ogoto Onsen Station on the JR Kosei Line) for the first time. (In Japanese. the university is called Seian Zokei Daigaku 成安造形大学.) I was impressed with their slogan of being an “Art Museum on Campus.” It is indeed like an art museum with numerous galleries on campus open to the public. I visited of few of the galleries and found out that the university holds a major art exhibition in spring and fall. Right now, painter Brian Williams is showing at the university’s Gallery Art Site until Dec. 1, 2012. Most of the time, the

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Omi gods and buddhas religious art exhibition in Tokyo

Went to Mitsui Memorial Museum in Nihonbashi, Tokyo to see an exhibition of religious art from Shiga Prefecture. It was excellent. Buddha statues, mandalas, bells, scrolls, etc., from many of the major Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines in Shiga were displayed, including two National Treasures and many Important Cultural Properties. Many of these things we normally cannot see even when we visit the temple/shrine. The exhibition ends on Nov. 25, 2012. Admission is 1,200 yen for adults. English captions are provided. Some images of the pieces exhibited: http://www.mitsui-museum.jp/exhibition/index.html English info: http://www.mitsui-museum.jp/english/english.html Like or share this:

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Sotoen pottery center in Shigaraki

Earlier this month in August 2012, I revisited Shigaraki in Koka, Shiga Prefecture. I went with a large group and we visited a pottery center called Sotoen (宗陶苑). Shigaraki has a number of private pottery centers and Sotoen is one of the largest. It is in a ceramic park-like area with all kinds of pottery pieces large and small spread over a wide area. All for sale. Sotoen also boasts Japan’s oldest noborigama kiln dating from the Edo Period. Talk about a photo op with Shigaraki pottery, especially the tanuki raccoon dog. The giant tanuki is priced as much as

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Hotaru udon noodles

Hotaru udon

Maibara is well-known for fireflies in June. They appear at dark along the Amanogawa River and Yurigawa River for about 2-3 weeks. We’re at the tail end now. The species is called genji botaru (ゲンジボタル or Luciola). A small restaurant in Maibara serves this Hotaru udon or Firefly udon noodles during firefly season this month. The firefly wings are nasubi eggplant (split in half), the glow is an egg, red ginger for the neck. (No real fireflies in the noodles.) Cute, huh? Like or share this:

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