YUtour, tour guide extraordinaire in Shiga Prefecture

by Philbert Ono, photos courtesy of Seita Mori and selected by Philbert Ono It’s about time I introduce YUtour (悠ツアー), a licensed tour guide service for foreign tourists in Shiga Prefecture run by my friend MORI Seita (森 聖太) in Otsu. YUtour is a one-man operation with Seita-san as YUtour’s one and only English-speaking guide. All indicators (such as TripAdvisor comments) show that he is doing an outstanding job. And after having a long lunch with him the other day in Otsu, I believe it. YUtour’s guided tours in English focus on the rural areas, ecotourism and nature, and traditional

» Read more

Shiga History October-December 2014

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s most important and interesting news headlines for October-December 2014 (according to the year, month, day, and time posted at Japan time). Originally posted on Twitter under Shiga Headlines by Philbert Ono. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters including spaces and links (shortened by Twitter). 2014/10/4 15:20 Due to Typhoon No. 18 (Phanfone), heavy rain is expected in Shiga from the evening of Oct. 5 to the 6th. 2014/10/5 11:16 On Oct. 6, JR Kusatsu Line will not be running from the morning. Fewer trains will run on the JR Tokaido/Biwako and Kosei Lines. 2014/10/5 11:22 Powerful Typhoon No. 18

» Read more

October 2014 autumn festivals and events in Shiga Prefecture

Here are some recommended autumn/fall festivals (matsuri) and events in Shiga in October 2014. (Most official Web sites are in Japanese only.) Updated: Oct. 17, 2014 October 4-November 3, 2014 ♦ W.M. Vories 50th Memorial in Omi-Hachiman, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm (enter by 4 pm) To mark the 50th anniversary of William Merrell Vories’ passing on May 7, 1964, a month-long event will be held in Omi-Hachiman where you can see and sometimes enter around ten of the buildings he designed in central Omi-Hachiman. Some of the buildings will include panel exhibitions, and some buildings cannot be entered. Born

» Read more

Pharrell Williams HAPPY – From Lake Biwa

Video link: http://youtu.be/FKchoOLG2TY Pharrell Williams scored a huge hit with his song Happy last autumn. It has since become a worldwide phenomenon with people in cities around the world making street dance videos with the song. Pretty amazing. The videos show a good bit of the respective locality along with some great dancers. The vids were inspired by Pharrell’s own music video which is the world’s first 24-hour music video with Happy played repeatedly for 24 hours. Fortunately, we can pause and resume the video at will. I’m not one who usually gets on a faddish bandwagon, but I immediately recognized Happy’s PR potential for local destinations. So I

» Read more

Top 20 train stations in Shiga Prefecture

Yokaichi Station

Updated: Oct. 11, 2018 滋賀県の一番美しい駅舎 〜心に残る駅舎〜 The train station is a gateway to the local area. First-time visitors may get their first impressions of a city or town from the train station. It’s like the genkan (foyer) of your house where you might keep a vase of flowers or a painting to impress visitors. Although I don’t judge a place by its train station, I do take note of how nice the train station is. After seeing most of Shiga’s train stations (totaling about 120), I’ve picked and ranked Shiga’s Top 20 train stations. My selections and ranking are based on architectural and aesthetic design, incorporation of

» Read more

March festivals in Shiga Prefecture

Two outstanding festivals in March in Shiga. March 15-16, 2014 Sagicho Matsuri Festival, 左義長まつり, Omi-Hachiman Google Map One of Shiga’s must-see festivals. The annual Sagicho Matsuri is a dramatic parade and clashing of 13 colorful Sagicho floats carried around the old streets of the city and in Himure Hachimangu Shrine near Hachiman-bori Canal. On the first day (Sat.), the floats are paraded along the streets near the shrine and undergo judging for best design. The floats are works of art with a motif based on the year’s Oriental zodiac. Since it is the Year of the Horse, be prepared to see all kinds

» Read more

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

» Read more

Autumn festivals Oct. 2013 in Shiga Prefecture

Oct.-Nov. is another prime time for festivals and events in Japan. Here are some recommended autumn/fall festivals (matsuri) and events in Shiga in October 2013. (Most official Web sites are in Japanese only.) October 1-20, 2013 ♦ Shigaraki Art Festival 2013, Koka, 8:00 am – 9:00 pm Pottery exhibitions (especially tanuki raccoon dog) and noborigama kiln demonstration. Three venues in central Shigaraki, Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park, and Shigaraki Traditional Craft Center. Held for the second time this year. On Oct. 12-14, the Shigaraki Pottery Festival will also be held mainly at the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park. The outdoor pottery fair

» Read more
1 2 3 4