Autumn festivals and foliage November 2017 in Shiga Prefecture

Recommended festivals (matsuri), events, exhibitions, and fall leaves in Shiga Prefecture in November–December 2017. (Most official Web sites are in Japanese only.) Compiled by Philbert Ono. Updated: Nov. 8, 2017 November 3, 2017 ♦ Little Edo Hikone Castle Festival Parade, Hikone Castle, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm Very elaborate costume parade of mainly kids dressed as samurai and Edo-Period ladies. Highlights include the Hikone Gun Battalion giving a matchlock gun demo (in front of Horse Stable), Ii Naosuke played by an actor on horseback, fireman acrobatics, and Sarugaku dancers. The parade route starts from Joto Elementary School and proceeds along the road to

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Yokaichi Shotoku Matsuri Goshu Ondo

Video link: http://youtu.be/U6vSoyvD2Sw This is my video of the Yokaichi Shotoku Matsuri (八日市聖徳まつり) festival in Higashi-Omi, Shiga Prefecture on the evening of July 27, 2013. It’s an annual bon dance held for the 44th time on the Ekimae road perpendicular to Yokaichi Station. A bon dance is a Buddhist tradition to welcome ancestral spirits visiting in summer. It was my first time to see one of Shiga’s biggest bon dances. The evening started with the Saturday Night Market (本町土曜夜市) at the Honmachi shopping arcade from 5 pm to 9 pm. The arcade was crowded with games, food, and knickknacks. It got quite hot in there being a

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Old Toyosato Elementary School burglarized

A bit of disappointing news for anime fans, especially those who love the late-night anime program called “K-ON!” (けいおん!) which started to air in April 2010. The school depicted in K-ON! is modeled after the old Toyosato Elementary School in Toyosato which has subsequently drawn many fans to visit the school. At around 1:15 am on Nov. 17, 2010, the security alarm in the old Toyosato Elementary School’s former library (Shutoku Ki’nenkan 舎酬徳記念館) sounded. The Hikone Police responded and found 22 figurines based on the K-ON anime stolen along with a portable cash safe containing almost 300,000 yen and three guitars

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Shiga History 2009

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s news bits for January-December 2009. Compiled by Philbert Ono. March 1, 2009: Hikone Prince Hotel is renamed Hikone View Hotel (彦根ビューホテル) upon the change of the hotel ownership from Prince Hotels to a Tokyo-based company called Study, Co., Ltd. The hotel is now part of the Itoen Hotel Group. March 2009: The six northern Shiga towns of Torahime, Kohoku, Takatsuki, Kinomoto, Yogo, and Nishi-Azai (虎姫、湖北、高月、木之本、余呉、西浅井) took steps to merge with the city of Nagahama on Jan. 1, 2010. The proposed merger was approved by the prefectural government. Mar. 4, 2009: Caffee (キャッフィー), the mascot character used

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William Merrell Vories exhibition in Omi-Hachiman

The William Merrell Vories exhibition is being held in Omi-Hachiman until Nov. 3, 2009. For 1,000 yen, you can enter a few of the Vories-designed buildings in Omi-Hachiman normally closed to the public. It’s an on-your-own walking tour of Vories buildings starting at Hakuunkan, a Western-style (but not designed by Vories) building across the torii near Hachimanbori. Go inside Hakuunkan and pay 1,000 yen to receive a few tickets to enter the other buildings. You also receive a map of the walking tour. The 2nd floor of the Hakuunkan also has an exhibition on Vories. However, everything is in Japanese.

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Old Toyosato Elementary School reborn

Renovation of the old Toyosato Elementary School (豊郷小学校), housed in a building designed by William Merrell Vories in 1937, has been completed and a ceremony was held on May 30, 2009 to mark its completion. At a total cost of 650 million yen, the old building was repainted, reinforced against earthquakes, installed with an elevator, and preserved as much as possible. The three-story building’s first floor has a public library and small play area for infants. The second floor with classrooms is preserved as it was originally. The old library next to the main building will be used a gallery. During

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Shiga History 2007

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s news bits for January-December 2007. Compiled by Philbert Ono. March 21, 2007: Hikone Castle celebrates its 400th anniversary with an 8-month-long festival lasting until Nov. 25, 2007. Three castle structures (Umaya horse stable, Tenbin Yagura turret, and Nishinomaru Sanju-yagura turret), normally closed to the public, are open to the public during the festival period. Official mascot Hiko-nyan (a helmeted cat) soon becomes nationally popular. May 5, 2007: At the Expoland amusement park in Suita, Osaka, the Fujin Raijin II roller coaster derails, killing Yoshino Kogawara, 19, from Higashiomi, Shiga Prefecture. Nineteen others are injured. June 16,

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