Autumn festivals and foliage November 2013 in Shiga Prefecture

Recommended festivals, events, exhibitions, and autumn leaves in Shiga Prefecture in November 2013. (Most official Web sites are in Japanese only.) Compiled by Philbert Ono. Oct. 26 – November 24, 2013 ♦ Kunimasu Trout Special Exhibit, Lake Biwa Museum, Kusatsu, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm A special and rare exhibit (the first in western Japan) of live kunimasu trout (Oncorhynchus kawamurae or black kokanee), previously thought to have gone extinct in the 1940s. Kunimasu was an endemic fish found only in Lake Tazawa in Akita Prefecture, but became extinct (along with most other fish species in the lake) in the 1940s when

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Autumn festivals Sept. 2013 in Shiga Prefecture

Here are some recommended autumn/fall events and festivals in Shiga in September 2013. September 1-30, 2013 ♦ Genkyuen Garden Insect Chirping Concert, Hikone, 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm (enter by 8:30 pm) Genkyuen Garden next to Hikone Castle will be open in the evenings in September. If you miss the cicadas in summer, you can still hear insects chirping in the garden that will be lit up along with Hikone Castle in the background. Matcha tea will be served at cost and free gagaku and koto performances will be held on the weekends. Admission ¥500. Near JR Hikone Station. Google

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Yokaichi Shotoku Matsuri Goshu Ondo

Video link: http://youtu.be/U6vSoyvD2Sw This is my video of the Yokaichi Shotoku Matsuri (八日市聖徳まつり) festival in Higashi-Omi, Shiga Prefecture on the evening of July 27, 2013. It’s an annual bon dance held for the 44th time on the Ekimae road perpendicular to Yokaichi Station. A bon dance is a Buddhist tradition to welcome ancestral spirits visiting in summer. It was my first time to see one of Shiga’s biggest bon dances. The evening started with the Saturday Night Market (本町土曜夜市) at the Honmachi shopping arcade from 5 pm to 9 pm. The arcade was crowded with games, food, and knickknacks. It got quite hot in there being a

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Summer 2013 festivals in Shiga Prefecture

Here are some of the many events and festivals in Shiga in summer 2013 (Web sites are in Japanese). If you want to see the fireworks schedule instead, click here. July 5 – Sept. 1, 2013, 9 am-5 pm – Biwako Hakodate-yama Lily Garden, Imazu, Takashima びわこ箱館山ゆり園 Lilies galore high up on Mt. Hakodate with views of Lake Biwa in Imazu, Takashima. From JR Omi-Imazu Station (Kosei Line), take a bus to the Hakodate-yama gondola station (15 min.). In winter, the place is a ski ground. The 1,800 yen fare includes the gondola (round trip) fare and admission to the lily garden.

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Higashi-Omi Giant Kite Festival 2013

odako

Video link: http://youtu.be/Y6DMpluPV9k Here’s my video of the Higashi-Omi Giant Kite Festival (東近江大凧まつり Higashi-Omi Odako Matsuri) held on Sunday, May 26, 2013 in Higashi-Omi. Another one of my ongoing video series with local kids introducing the sights in English. We took three Japanese kids from Higashi-Omi who had never seen the kite festival (neither did their parents). The video also has a few cameo appearances by other local folks. It was a nice day, somewhat hot under the sun, but cool in the shade with good winds. There were all kinds of kites in the air, many of them quite

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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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Shiga’s Top 10 festivals in April-May

April is a great month. Soon after the onslaught of cherry blossoms, we have an onslaught of festivals (matsuri). This is the time to go out and celebrate the coming of spring, pray for good harvests, and see the traditional splendor of Shiga. The highest number of matsuri are held during these two months, especially during the string of national holidays in late April and early May called Golden Week. During the Golden Week holidays, Shiga has multiple festivals on the same day. To make it easier to decide which ones to see, I’ve picked Shiga Prefecture’s Top 10 Festivals for April-May. I

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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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