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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Shiga’s Top 10 festivals in April-May

April is a great month. Soon after the onslaught of cherry blossoms, we have an onslaught of festivals (matsuri). This is the time to go out and celebrate the coming of spring, pray for good harvests, and see the traditional splendor of Shiga. The highest number of matsuri are held during these two months, especially during the string of national holidays in late April and early May called Golden Week. During the Golden Week holidays, Shiga has multiple festivals on the same day. To make it easier to decide which ones to see, I’ve picked Shiga Prefecture’s Top 10 Festivals for April-May. I

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Shiga’s Top 5 cherry blossom spots

kaizu

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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Hina-matsuri doll festivals in Shiga 2013

Hina-matsuri dolls (雛祭りの雛人形) are being displayed at various locations in Shiga to celebrate Girl’s Day on March 3. On the weekend of Feb. 23-24, 2013, Gokasho in Higashi-Omi is having a unique event of live hina dolls called Ningen Hina-matsuri (にんげん雛まつり). Yes, they are real girls, ten of them, dressed as Hina dolls. They will appear twice on both the 23rd and 24th at 10:00 am to 11:30 am and at 1:30 pm to 3 pm at the Omi-shonin merchant home of Tonomura Shigeru (外村繁邸). Gokasho, Higashi-Omi: Normal hina ningyo dolls are also displayed in the Omi-shonin merchant homes and museums. They are on

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London Olympic medalists from Shiga Prefecture

Big congratulations to Shiga-native and Shiga-based Olympians who won medals at the London 2012 Olympics. They include Olympians who made history as being Japan’s first Olympic medalist in their sport. That was Otsu-native KAKIIWA Reika (垣岩 令佳), who won the silver medal along with her partner FUJII Mizuki for Badminton Women’s Doubles. This is Japan’s very first Olympic medal in badminton. Kakiiwa and Fujii made it to the final game after beating Denmark in the quarterfinal and Canada in the semi-final. The final game was against the favored China held on Aug. 5, 2012 after midnight, Japan time. I stayed

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Golden Week festivals in Shiga

Golden Week is Japan’s spring vacation from late April to early May with a string of national holidays. April 29 is Showa Day (set to April 30 this year since the 29th is Sun.), May 3 is Constitution Day, May 4 Greenery Day, and May 5 Children’s Day. This year’s calendar in 2012 can make it a nine-day holiday for the working folk if they only take off on two working days (May 1 and 2). In Shiga, it is prime time for matsuri festivals. There are so many matsuri during this time that it took me at least 4 or

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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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Sagicho Matsuri at Omi-Hachiman

The Sagicho Matsuri (左義長まつり) in Omi-Hachiman, Shiga will be held on March 17-18, 2012. This is one of Shiga’s must-see festivals. The annual Sagicho Matsuri is a dramatic parade and clashing of 13 or 14 colorful Sagicho floats carried around the old streets of the city and in Himure Hachimangu Shrine near Hachiman-bori Moat. 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 Dragon, be prepared

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