Google Maps street views of Shiga

Google Maps now show street views of Shiga Prefecture. On March 11, 2010, Google has started to post photos of the streets of Shiga, mainly in Otsu, Kusatsu, and the road going around Lake Biwa. No doubt, they will keep posting street views of more roads in Shiga as they become available. Street views are panoramic photos stitched together, showing the streets and scenery along the road. It is very convenient for people looking for a place or directions to somewhere. It’s a great reference for bicyclists wanting to cycle around Lake Biwa too. You can see the terrain and

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Breaking news: Swine flu hits Shiga, schools closed

On the morning of May 20, 2009, Shiga’s first case of swine flu has been confirmed. A 23-year-old male student at the Biwako-Kusatsu campus of Ritsumeikan University has been confirmed as the first patient. His symptoms are not serious and will be hospitalized. None of the swine flu cases in Japan have proved to be fatal. It seems to be similar to seasonal flu. The student lives in Otsu and was visiting his parents’ home in Kobe during May 15-18. In Kobe, he worked part-time at a fast-food place where a high school student also working there was later diagnosed with

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Failed Karasuma Peninsula resort development creates big losses

Plans to further develop the man-made Karasuma Peninsula in Kusatsu with a resort hotel failed as no takers emerged to build it. A third-sector corporation called the Biwako Lakefront Center  (びわ湖レイクフロントセンター), established in 1989 by Shiga Prefecture, Kusatsu, Shiga Bank, and other companies to promote the hotel resort development, was dissolved in Aug. 2008. The total losses was calculated in March 2009 as follows: Shiga Prefecture: Loss of 290 million yen. Kusatsu city: Loss of 340 million yen. Shiga Bank: Loss of 460 million yen. The peninsula already has the Mizunomori lotus pond (blooms in July) and Lake Biwa Museum. The

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FM Kusatsu (78.5) starts broadcasting

Radio station FM Kusatsu has started broadcasting on March 22, 2009. When you’re in the Kusatsu area, tune to 78.5 Mhz. Their studio is in Kusatsu Yume Honjin (くさつ夢本陣). They should reach about 80,000 households. They will offer local programming during 7 am to 7 pm on weekdays, and 9 am to 5 pm on weekends. I hope they will include some international programs as well.

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Emperor and Empress visit Shiga

Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited Shiga Prefecture for the first time in 13 years during Nov. 10-13, 2007. The main reason was to attend the 27th Zenkoku Yutaka na Umizukuri Taikai (National Convention to Make Bountiful Oceans 第27回全国豊かな海づくり大会) held in Otsu. On the first day, they visited a nursing home called Care Town Karasaki in Otsu. Some 20 patients there sang Biwako Shuko no Uta (Lake Biwa Rowing Song) for the Imperial couple and the Emperor demanded an encore for them to sing it again. It is Shiga’s most famous song. On the second day the 11th, they attended the formal

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