Hina-matsuri doll festivals in Shiga

Updated: Feb. 15, 2017 Hina-matsuri dolls (雛祭りの雛人形) are being displayed at the following locations in eastern Shiga to celebrate Girl’s Day on March 3. Gokasho, Higashi-Omi: Normal hina ningyo dolls are displayed in the Omi-shonin merchant homes and museums. They are on display from Feb. 1 to March 20, 2017 (9:30 am to 5:00 pm, closed on Feb. 6) in the former residences of Tonomura Uhee (外村 宇兵衛), Tonomura Shigeru (外村 繁), Nakae Jungoro (中江 準五郎), and Fujii Hikoshiro (藤井 彦四郎邸). The homes are large, stately Japanese-style mansions. Must-see for architecture buffs. Buy a single ¥600 ticket and you can enter all the

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Lake Biwa article in Daily Yomiuri

A short article about Lake Biwa titled, Japan’s blue pearl / Views of Lake Biwa is in today’s The Daily Yomiuri English newspaper (Jan. 15, 2012 issue). It was written by Christal Whelan in her monthly column called KANSAI CULTURESCAPES. She is a cultural anthropologist (Ph.D) living in Kyoto. She writes mainly about Biwa pearls which are ironically obscure now, but quite famous outside Shiga among pearl fans. During New Year’s, I met with Christal when she visited Nagahama and Chikubushima for the first time. She visited Shiga a few times to research this article and has seen many more places (such as Harie in Takashima)

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Shiga’s lip balm

Lip balm

The drier air of autumn is here and it’s time to take out our lip balm or chap sticks. Did you know that one of Japan’s leading makers of lip balm is right here in Shiga? Omi Kyodaisha (近江兄弟社 Omi Brotherhood), a pharmaceutical company based in Omi-Hachiman, sells a lip balm called “Menturm Medicated Stick.” It is their flagship product and you can see it in stores nationwide. However, it looks very similar to another chap stick called “Mentholatum Medicated Stick” made by a different company in Osaka. The dark green design is very similar and you have to look carefully

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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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Shiga’s biggest fire festival

Video link: http://youtu.be/VcPg0WcY0Gs The Hachiman Matsuri in Omi-Hachiman is held annually on April 14-15. I saw it for the first time on April 14, 2011 when they set fire to giant torches near Himure Hachimangu Shrine. Very impressive festival. On April 15, they have taiko drum processions. But due to the Tohoku disaster this year, the taiko drums did not appear. So I didn’t bother to see the festival on the 15th. Maybe next year. Google Map Photos: https://photoguide.jp/pix/index.php?cat=11

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Shiga History 2010

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s news bits for January-December 2010. Compiled by Philbert Ono. Jan. 1, 2010: Nagahama merges with six towns in northern Shiga Prefecture: Torahime, Kohoku, Takatsuki, Kinomoto, Yogo, and Nishi-Azai. Feb. 14, 2010: ITO Miki, native of Hino, places 12th in the finals of the women’s freestyle moguls competition at the Vancouver Winter Olympics. March 10, 2010: Google Maps street views start including photos of the streets of Shiga, mainly in Otsu, Kusatsu, and the road going around Lake Biwa. March 21, 2010: Omi-Hachiman and the town of Azuchi merge, becoming a new city of about 82,000 residents.

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Historic ryokan in Musa destroyed by fire

A two-story ryokan called Nakamura-ya (中村屋) in Musa, Omi-Hachiman has been totally destroyed by an early-morning fire on Dec. 10, 2010. The owner/operator couple of the 200-year-old inn were sleeping on the 1st floor, but managed to escape after hearing a fire alarm. No customers were staying in the ryokan at the time. A neighbor reported the fire a little before 5 am. The fire spread rapidly as it was a wooden building. Some 24 fire trucks put out the blaze after about 3 hours. Nakamura-ya has a 400-year history as one of the hatago inns of Musa, the 66th

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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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