Redevelopment of Nagahama Station area

Ever since the new Nagahama Station building was completed in Oct. 2006, the station and immediate area have undergone a remarkable redevelopment that is still ongoing. This dramatic transformation must be Shiga’s biggest urban construction project since the redevelopment of the Hama-Otsu area in the 1980s-90s. As I now see the old Nagahama Heiwado store (built in 1969) being torn down to make way for a new multi-purpose complex, I can’t help but to have mixed feelings. Although I look forward to what will be constructed in its place, I mourn the loss of yet another childhood icon. When I visited Shiga as

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Shiga History October–December 2015

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s most important and interesting news headlines for Oct.–Dec. 2015 (according to the year, month, day, and time posted at Japan time). Originally posted on Twitter under Shiga Headlines by Philbert Ono. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters including spaces and links (shortened by Twitter). Dates and times below are based on GMT instead of Japan time. 2015/10/7 11:30 Shiga had Japan’s highest percentage (48.4%) of respondents who submitted the 2015 national census survey online in September. 2015/10/14 8:31 New and elegant Japanese-style restaurant opening soon in Omi Hino Shonin Furusato-kan #近江日野商人ふるさと館 in Hino. http://t.co/5wiGXG7DLV 2015/10/16 9:40 Interviewed

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Otsu-e paintings then and now

Anyone who visits Otsu will sooner or later see an Otsu-e painting (大津絵). It can be a picture of an ogre (oni), wisteria maiden (Fuji-musume), Buddhist figure, or other surreal or whimsical human, god, or animal. Otsu-e paintings originated as a folk art around 1624-44 and were made and sold by roadside stands in Oiwake near Otsu-juku, the last post town on the Tokaido and Nakasendo Roads before people arrived in Kyoto from Tokyo (Edo). The earliest Otsu-e pictures during 1624-44 depicted mainly Buddhist images. People worshipped these images as an affordable alternative for expensive Buddha statues. Otsu-e paintings were unsigned by anonymous artists and

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Shiga History July-September 2015

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s most important and interesting news headlines for July-Sept. 2015 (according to the year, month, day, and time posted at Japan time). Originally posted on Twitter under Shiga Headlines by Philbert Ono. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters including spaces and links (shortened by Twitter). Dates and times below are based on GMT instead of Japan time. 2015/7/6 10:32 In 2014, over 4.62 mil tourists lodged in Shiga, 550,000 more than in 2013. This 13% increase is the highest in Japan. 2015/7/8 2:29 All hotels in Shiga now can use a 24/7 multilingual call center for telephone

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Shiga History April-June 2015

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s most important and interesting news headlines for April-June 2015 (according to the year, month, day, and time posted at Japan time). Originally posted on Twitter under Shiga Headlines by Philbert Ono. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters including spaces and links (shortened by Twitter). Dates and times below are based on GMT instead of Japan time. 2015/4/3 13:57 New edition of Japan Post’s die-cut postcards are out. Shiga’s latest one shows Suigo boat rides in Omi-Hachiman. http://t.co/3UWwmIlpWJ 2015/4/5 6:33 Cherry blossoms now in full bloom in Shiga. Best sakura spots here: http://t.co/Nob3mdQYfO 2015/4/9 13:24 Contract teacher

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Zensuiji showing hidden Buddha

Zensuiji is one of the three Tendai Buddhist temples (called Konan Sanzan 湖南三山) in Konan, Shiga Prefecture designated as a National Treasure. The elegant lines of the thatched roof, Japanese gardens, and colorful autumn leaves make Zensuiji one of Shiga’s most aesthetic and popular temples. Its main object of worship (Honzon 本尊) is Yakushi Nyorai Ruriko Nyorai (薬師瑠璃光如来), the Buddha of Medicine and Healing. It is a statue of a seated Buddha normally hidden from view in the Hondo main temple hall built in 1366. However, for the first time in 14 years, this main statue will be exposed for public

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Grave of Azai sister Go

Back in 2011, NHK TV broadcast its yearlong Taiga Drama called Go–Himetachi no Sengoku (江〜姫たちの戦国〜) which I translate as “Go–Noble Ladies of Feudal Japan.” This series made the main character nationally famous. She was Go (1573-1626), also called Ogo or Oeyo and Sugen’in in her final years. She was the youngest of three sisters born to Azai Nagamasa (1545-1573), Lord of Odani Castle in northern Shiga (present-day Nagahama) and wife Oichi (1547?-1583) who was the younger sister of Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582). Born in Shiga’s Odani Castle, the three Azai sisters, called Azai sanshimai (浅井三姉妹), are perhaps Japan’s most famous or historical trio of sisters.

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Shiga History January-March 2015

https://shiga-ken.com/blog/2015/06/shiga-history-april-june-2015/Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s most important and interesting news headlines for January-March 2015 (according to the year, month, day, and time posted at Japan time). Originally posted on Twitter under Shiga Headlines by Philbert Ono. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters including spaces and links (shortened by Twitter). 2015/1/3 12:09 National news: Yogo, Nagahama got 1.3 meter of snow. 2015/1/13 12:33 Shiga’s 15,294 new adults turning 20 from last April 2 to April 1, 2015 are 586 more than last year, but way below the 21,926 peak in 1995. 2015/1/20 14:34 While commenting on her 3 years in office on Jan. 19, Otsu Mayor

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