Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri 2018 Festival Schedule

Video link: https://youtu.be/3zYuarHUHXs Updated: April 13, 2018 Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri (長浜曳山祭) is a major float festival held annually on several days centering on April 15 by Nagahama Hachimangu Shrine in the city of Nagahama in northern Shiga Prefecture. The main highlight is child kabuki actors (boys age 5 to 12) performing on four ornate wooden floats pulled through the main streets. (If you can read Japanese, download the festival’s official guide brochure.) 2018 Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri Festival Schedule (Main highlight dates in red, times are approximate) April 7 (Sat.), 10 am–3 pm: At Hikiyama Museum, exhibited floats to be replaced. Details here. April 9th–12th, from 8

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Shiga Image Quiz

Updated: Jan. 30, 2018 Take the Shiga Image Quiz and learn more about Shiga Prefecture! Shiga Image Quiz has 50 questions showing 50 images of Shiga’s most iconic sights and attractions you should know about. This quiz is an excellent visual introduction to Shiga. This quiz is easy for people familiar with Shiga. For newbies, some questions might be difficult, but you will still learn a lot about Shiga since the correct answer is displayed immediately after each question. You will see 25 questions per page. After answering 25 questions, click on “Continue” at the page bottom to see the next page. If

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Shiga Quiz

Updated: Jan. 30, 2018 Take the Shiga Quiz and see how much you know about Shiga Prefecture! Shiga Quiz has 100 wide-ranging questions covering Shiga’s culture, history, historical figures, art, and major sights and products. It’s a long quiz that may require 45 min. or longer to complete. However, there’s no time limit to finish the quiz. The quiz is relatively easy for people familiar with Shiga. For newbies, some questions might be difficult, but you will still learn a lot since the correct answer is displayed immediately after each question. The quiz is heavily illustrated, so it should sustain your interest to complete

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Kyoto University’s Biwako Shuko no Uta 100th anniversary celebration

Unveiling a new song monument at Kyoto University.

京都大学「琵琶湖周航の歌」誕生百周年記念事業の報告 After the epic 100th anniversary celebration of Biwako Shuko no Uta in Shiga with a Lake Biwa rowing trip and concert in June 2017, it was Kyoto University’s turn to celebrate. On November 25, 2017, they unveiled a new song monument on campus and held a lecture session, music festival, and party. It was an all-day affair from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. coinciding with the university’s annual school festival called “November Festival.” Biwako Shuko no Uta (Lake Biwa Rowing Song) was created in June 1917 by rowing club members (especially Oguchi Taro) at an old elite university called Daisan Koto Gakko (No. 3

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Lake Biwa Rowing Song mini concert in Imazu 2017

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Video link: https://youtu.be/9G94IppUiiE To celebrate the 100th anniversary of Shiga’s most famous and beloved song, Biwako Shuko no Uta (琵琶湖周航の歌), shiga-ken.com held a special mini concert in Imazu on April 16, 2017 with the cooperation of the Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan song museum (琵琶湖周航の歌資料館) and Imazu Port in Takashima, Shiga Prefecture. The highlight was twin sisters Jamie and Megan Thompson at Imazu Port singing Lake Biwa Rowing Song (English version of Biwako Shuko no Uta) to the accompaniment of Lake Biwa reed flutes (yoshibue) played by Lake Reed (レイクリード), a duo consisting of Kikui Satoru (菊井了) and Kondo Yumiko (近藤ゆみ子). The result was stupendous and

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Sakura cruises to Kaizu-Osaki

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Kaizu-Osaki is deservedly one of Japan’s 100 Famous Cherry Blossom Spots (さくら名所100選 according to the Japan Cherry Blossom Association). During the first half of April, four kilometers of cherry blossoms bloom along this lakeshore in northern Lake Biwa in Takashima. During the peak bloom period in mid-April, the traffic along the lakeshore road is horrendous. Renting a bicycle at Makino Station and cycling to Kaizu-Osaki is recommended. Walking is also possible for people who don’t mind walking at least 40 min. from Makino Station. On sunny days, it’s quite spectacular with the cherry blossoms against the blue lake and blue sky

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Buddhist altars made in Shiga Prefecture

Updated: May 7, 2017 Shiga Prefecture has three handicrafts officially designated as a “Traditional Craft” by the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry (経済産業大臣指定伝統的工芸品). “Traditional crafts” as defined by the Japanese government are handicrafts used in everyday life that are largely handmade using traditional techniques and traditional materials. And they are made in a specific area. Shiga’s three designated traditional crafts are Omi jofu hemp cloth (近江上布), Shigaraki pottery (信楽焼), and Hikone butsudan (彦根仏壇) or household Buddhist altars made in Hikone. Japan has over thirty cities and areas that produce household Buddhist altars (“butsudan” in Japanese). Fifteen of them are officially designated as a “Traditional Craft Production Area” (伝統的工芸品産地指定) by the Minister of Economy, Trade and

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Otsu-e paintings then and now

Anyone who visits Otsu will sooner or later see an Otsu-e painting (大津絵). It can be a picture of an ogre (oni), wisteria maiden (Fuji-musume), Buddhist figure, or other surreal or whimsical human, god, or animal. Otsu-e paintings originated as a folk art around 1624-44 and were made and sold by roadside stands in Oiwake near Otsu-juku, the last post town on the Tokaido and Nakasendo Roads before people arrived in Kyoto from Tokyo (Edo). The earliest Otsu-e pictures during 1624-44 depicted mainly Buddhist images. People worshipped these images as an affordable alternative for expensive Buddha statues. Otsu-e paintings were unsigned by anonymous artists and

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