Summer 2013 fireworks in Shiga Prefecture

Here’s the fireworks (hanabi) schedule for Shiga Prefecture in summer 2013 listed by date. If you want to see the schedule for 2013 summer festivals (matsuri) instead, click here. Essential vocabulary Hanabi (花火) – fireworks Hanabi Taikai (花火大会) – fireworks (sometimes a contest) Natsu Matsuri (夏まつり) – Summer festival Noryo (納涼) – Enjoying the cool of a summer evening (at a river, park, etc.) July 13, 2013 ♦ Takamiya Noryo Hanabi Taikai in Takamiya, Hikone, 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm Near the Inugami River Muchinbashi Bridge. 10-min. walk from Ohmi Railways Takamiya Station. If rained out, to be postponed to

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Hikone Castle video

Video link: Another video hosted by English-speaking kids. Since two of them were from Hikone, I decided to make a video of Hikone Castle, which I call one of Shiga’s Top Three tourist sights. (The other two being Lake Biwa and Enryakuji temple.) I tried to make the video as short as possible, but even so, it turned out to be 34 min. Goes to show how much there is to see at Hikone Castle. There’s quite a bit of English text which, if you read, will give you a good primer on what the castle and Hikone lords are

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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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Hiko-nyan appearance schedule at Hikone Castle


Updated: April 12, 2018 Hikone’s nationally famous official mascot, Hiko-nyan (ひこにゃん, officially misspelled as Hikonyan) appears three times every day at Hikone Castle. Each appearance lasts 30 min. See the appearance schedule below. Hiko-nyan basically just struts around and strikes cute poses for camera-toting fans. The show is free at the Hikone Castle Museum. If you want to see him in front of the main castle tower, you have to pay the castle admission. I feel sorry for whoever is in the Hiko-nyan suit during the summer. His/Her movements are noticeably slower in summer. One thing about Hiko-nyan is that it

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Shiga’s Top 5 cherry blossom spots


Here are my Top 5 favorite sakura spots in Shiga (click on the links or image to see more photos). Note that cherry blossoms bloom later in northern Shiga (Takashima and Nagahama) than in southern Shiga (Kusatsu, Otsu, etc.). *Tip: To see the current blooming condition, see the Weather News Sakura page for Shiga. Starting with brown that indicates buds, the markers show warmer colors until it becomes red (full bloom) indicating how far the flowers have bloomed. 1. Hikone Castle – Coming at No. 1 is Hikone Castle. Although Hikone Castle is not one of the 100 Famous Cherry Blossom Spots of Japan (according

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Summer 2012 in Shiga Prefecture

Japan has re-entered the age of nuclear power, starting with Shiga’s backyard. Despite widespread opposition, the Japanese government has given the green light to restart the Oi nuclear power plants in neighboring Fukui Prefecture, Japan’s mecca of nuclear power plants. On July 1, 2012, they began firing up two Oi nuclear power plants amid protests near the power plant and many thousands of protestors in front of the Prime Minister’s residence in Tokyo. The protesters have received relatively little Japanese media attention. It’s no wonder because many news media executives (including NHK) also serve (or served) in executive positions at the

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Hikone: A Journey in Time (manga review)


Updated: Nov. 7, 2014 The Hikone Board of Education has published a manga comic booklet in English titled, Hikone: A Journey in Time. Targeting tourists, the black-and-white manga explains about Hikone’s feudal history and cultural sights through the eyes of John, a fictitious 20-year-old lad from Michigan (Shiga’s sister state) visiting Hikone while staying with a Japanese family. The A5-size, 70-page booklet is available for 500 yen at the Hikone Castle Museum next to the ticket booth where you enter Hikone Castle. The manga story starts off with John visiting Hikone Castle with his host family, the Tachibanas who have a 12-year-old daughter

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