Heavy snowfall in Shiga

Shiga and the Japan Sea Coast (especially Niigata Prefecture) got a heavy dump of snow during Feb. 2 and 3, 2012. Nagahama and Imazu (Takashima) in northern Shiga have gotten over 70 cm of snow. On Feb. 3, some 160 troops from the Ground Self-Defense Forces were dispatched to Imazu to help remove snow. The last time they dispatched military personnel for snow removal was 31 years ago in Jan. 1981. On the morning of Feb. 3, people in central Nagahama, such as in Kurokabe Square, were busy shoveling snow. Maibara and Hikone also got a good amount of snow.

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Oyako photo exhibition in Maibara Station

My friend Bruce Osborn, an American pro photographer based in Hayama, Kanagawa Prefecture, is now having a grand photo exhibition inside Maibara Station on the Tokaido/Hokuriku Lines in northern Shiga Prefecture. The theme is Oyako (parent and child 親子) portraits. The city of Maibara set up and opened the new Maibara Station Oyako Gallery (米原駅Oyakoギャラリー) on July 16, 2011, and Bruce’s 60+ oyako portraits are the first to be displayed. The exhibition is titled, Kakegae-no-nai-mono (Irreplaceable Things) (かけがえのないもの). If you go out of the ticket wicket, you will immediately see his large portrait panels mounted on the large window in the

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Sakura blooming in Shiga

Hanami is subdued this year due to the Tohoku disaster. In Shiga, Sakura Matsuri was canceled in Yogo (Nagahama) and the night illumination of the flowers have been canceled in certain places as well. Sakura is also blooming in the Tohoku region, and it’s nice to see them enjoying the blossoms there. If they are enjoying hanami, so should we. As Prime Minister Kan said, we should live our lives as usual. I’ve been going around in Shiga and shooting sakura on sunny days. Here are a few pictures of this year’s sakura in Shiga (to be updated until late

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Maihara Hikiyama Matsuri

The annual Maihara (Maibara) Hikiyama Festival was held on Oct. 9-11, 2010 near Maibara Station. I went to see it on Oct. 10 (Sun.). It rained in the morning and the floats were covered with blue vinyl sheets, but the rain stopped by early afternoon and I watched it at Yutani Shrine. Google Map The festival was modeled after the more famous Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri. Although the Maihara Hikiyama Matsuri is a smaller festival with only three floats (only two of them appear during the festival), it was no less impressive with the highly-trained grade school boys performing kabuki on

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Ibuki-yama Taiko Drum Dance

Video link: http://youtu.be/gU0sV3puYJs Went to see the Mt. Ibuki Taiko Drum Dance (伊吹山奉納太鼓踊り Ibukiyama Hono Taiko Odori) on Sunday, Oct. 3, 2010. It is held only once every five years. I saw it before 5 years ago, but this time I wanted to take better videos and photos (with higher resolution cameras). Luckily, it didn’t rain during the festival, but this dance did seem to beckon the rain, as it rained later in the day. Held in a small settlement called Ueno at the foot of Mt. Ibuki in Maibara, Shiga Prefecture. There’s Sannomiya Shrine near where you board the gondola

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Shiga fireworks in summer 2010

Here’s the fireworks (hanabi) schedule for Shiga Prefecture in summer 2010 listed by date: July 17, 2010 Echigawa Gion Noryo Hanabi Taikai in Aisho, 7:30 pm – 9:20 pm Along the Echigawa River bank near Miyukibashi Bridge. If rained out, to be postponed to July 18. 愛知川祇園納涼祭花火大会 More info: 愛荘町秦荘観光協会/愛荘町愛知川観光協会 TEL:0749-37-8051 http://www.biwa.ne.jp/~e-machi/new/hanabitaikai.html July 24, 2010 Kashiwabara-juku Yaito Matsuri fireworks, 9 pm – 9:20 pm Near JR Kashiwabara Station in Maibara. 柏原宿やいとまつり More info: 中山道柏原宿やいと祭実行委員会 TEL:0749‐57‐0256 http://yaito.kashiharasyuku.com/ Aug. 1, 2010 Hikone Dai-Hanabi Taikai at Matsubara Beach, Hikone, 7:45 pm – 8:30 pm 30-min. walk from Hikone Station. If rained out, to be postponed

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Golden Week 2010 in Shiga

We saw fine weather during Golden Week in Shiga from late April to early May 2010. I went to see a slew of festivals in Shiga during this time. I traveled to Maibara, Ryuo, Tsuchiyama (Koka), Takashima, Yasu, and Kora. I’m trying to see all the major Golden Week festivals in Shiga. The problem is, many of them are held on the same day and at the same time. It will still take me a few more years to see them all, but after this GW, I can say that I’ve see more than half of them. Here’s what I

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Attn: JR Tokaido and Kosei Line users

On March 13, 2010, Japan Railways implemented revised train schedules. Note that there are now fewer train runs on the JR Tokaido and Kosei Lines in Shiga and Kyoto. JR has eliminated train runs which saw low ridership. If you use these two lines, you should refer to the revised train schedules and trash the old one. On the Tokaido Line, the last train from Kyoto Station to Yasu Station now leaves at 12:34 am instead of 12:58 am. In the mornings and evenings of Sundays and national holidays, there is one less train run going from Yasu to Maibara

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