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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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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Shiga History 2008

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s news bits for January-December 2008. Compiled by Philbert Ono. Feb. 23, 2008: A 50-km section between Kameyama (Mie Pref.) and Otsu (Kusatsu Tanakami Interchange 草津田上インターチェンジ) of the New Meishin Expressway 新名神高速道路 opens to traffic. A ceremony was held at the Koka-Tsuchiyama Interchange with the Governors of Shiga and Mie in attendance. Passing though Koka and Otsu, the new expressway is expected to lessen traffic on the old Meishin Expressway between Nagoya and Kobe, shorten the driving time to the Kansai area, and bring more visitors to Koka. March 15, 2008: Nishi-Otsu Station (西大津駅) on the Kosei

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Spo-rec Shiga 2008

Jamie and Megan Thompson sang “Lake Biwa Rowing Song” (Biwako Shuko no Uta) at Spo-Rec Shiga on Oct. 18, 2008 at Kibogaoka Park in Yasu, Shiga Prefecture. The performance was part of the side entertainment on the opening day of the sports festival. The MC was Chiho Ono, a friend and radio personality at e-radio (FM Shiga) which organized this stage entertainment. Afterward, I went to see the Sports Recreation event at Kibogaoka Park. They had the opening ceremony. Many people were there from all 47 prefectures and South Korea too. It’s a great event and Kibogaoka Park is a

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Event notice: Sports Recreation Shiga 2008

The Sports Recreation event will be held in Shiga during Oct. 18-21, 2008. On the first day Oct. 18 at Kibogaoka Park in Yasu, there will be some entertainment on a side stage called スポレク「夢」ステージ near the Nishi-guchi west gate during 9:30 am to 11:15 am. During this entertainment time, we will appear and sing “Lake Biwa Rowing Song“(Biwako Shuko no Uta in English) on this outdoor Yume stage at around 10:20 am. Jamie and Megan Thompson will sing the song. If you have time, please come down to see us. On the same day, the Spo-rec opening ceremony will

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Rice-planting festivals in Yasu and Taga

I went to see two rice-planting festivals in Shiga, for the first time. The first one was in Yasu on May 25, 2008. It’s held on the fourth Sunday in May in a sacred rice paddy near Mikami Shrine. Women and men in colorful costumes plant rice seedlings accompanied by singing, taiko drumming, and dancing. Started at 10 am with a Shinto ceremony, then the rice planting was held from 10:30 am to 11 am. The rice paddy is called Yuki Saiden (悠紀斎田記念田) which was the used to produce the rice used for the Showa Emperor Hirohito’s accession to the

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Climbing Mt. Mikami (Omi-Fuji)

Mt. Mikami in Yasu is nicknamed Omi-Fuji because it has a conical shape like Fuji-san. I recently climbed this mountain. Only 432 meters high. It was a pretty easy climb. There are two hiking trails, Omote and Ura. The Ura trail is less steep but takes longer to reach the top. The Omote trail is steeper and goes almost straight up the mountain. I went on the Ura path. It took me 90 min. to reach the top. I took my time taking pictures, etc. The mountain has a thick forest. The view from the top is nice, but you

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