Skiing in Shiga Prefecture

Updated: Dec. 23, 2020 For information about current snow conditions at Shiga Prefecture’s ski slopes, see Snow Japan’s useful Shiga Prefecture ski resort page in English. Shiga is hardly a place I would recommend or brag about for skiing, but I understand that Shiga’s slopes are convenient for many people in Osaka/Kyoto coming to Shiga to ski. It’s better than nothing, and good for kids and beginners who don’t mind slushy snow. But there is actually something to brag about skiing in Shiga. It so happens that Mt. Ibuki in Maibara is one of the first places where skiing started in the Kansai region.

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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

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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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Plum blossoms in Shiga Prefecture

Updated: Jan. 4, 2017 Plum blossoms, called ume (梅) in Japanese, have absolutely the sweetest and most pacifying fragrance of all the flowers in Japan. Whenever you see plum blossoms, put your nose right next to the flower and smell. It will sooth your soul. There are many varieties of plum blossoms, but they basically white, pink, or red and each color smells differently. The white ones have the most dainty smell, while the red ones have a stronger and more concentrated sweet smell. Plum blossoms have been an intricate part of Japanese culture, art, and aesthetics for centuries. The term shochikubai

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Crown Prince Naruhito visits Shiga Prefecture

Crown Prince Naruhito (Japan’s next emperor) arrived in Shiga Prefecture on July 23, 2012 for an official visit to attend a blood donation promotion convention (献血運動推進全国大会) to be held in Otsu on July 24. His Imperial Highness arrived via shinkansen bullet train at JR Maibara Station where he was welcomed by Shiga Governor Yukiko Kada. He then proceeded by car to Higashi-Omi where he toured Gokasho, visiting the stately homes of Omi merchants. Gokasho has been preserving its traditional townscape with Japanese-style homes, warehouses, and gardens. The Crown Prince was impressed by the serenity and the efforts of the local residents

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Hotaru udon noodles

Hotaru udon

Maibara is well-known for fireflies in June. They appear at dark along the Amanogawa River and Yurigawa River for about 2-3 weeks. We’re at the tail end now. The species is called genji botaru (ゲンジボタル or Luciola). A small restaurant in Maibara serves this Hotaru udon or Firefly udon noodles during firefly season this month. The firefly wings are nasubi eggplant (split in half), the glow is an egg, red ginger for the neck. (No real fireflies in the noodles.) Cute, huh?

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Shiga treated to annular solar eclipse

A large swath of Japan was treated to an annular solar eclipse at around 7:30 am on May 21, 2012. People in southeastern Shiga Prefecture joined the masses in Tokyo, Nagoya, and Osaka to view the rare annular eclipse over most of Japan’s Pacific Ocean side. The rest of Japan could at least see a partial eclipse. An annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon comes between the sun and Earth and casts a shadow on Earth. The moon is farther away from Earth than during a total solar eclipse, so it does not cover the sun totally, exposing only

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Cherry blossoms in Shiga

Shiga Prefecture has many great spots for cherry blossoms, including two of Japan’s 100 Famous Cherry Blossom Spots at Kaizu-Osaki and Nagahama Castle’s Hokoen Park. To see the current blooming condition, see the Weather News Sakura page for Shiga. The markers’ warmer colors until red (full bloom) indicate how far the flowers have bloomed. Note that they bloom later in northern Shiga (Takashima and Nagahama) than in southern Shiga (Otsu). Here are my photos of some of Shiga’s best sakura spots. Click on the photo to see more photos of the respective sakura spot. Also see “Shiga’s Top Five Cherry

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