Shiga History September–December 2018

Chronology of Shiga Prefecture’s major news headlines for September–December 2018 (according to the year, month, day, and time posted at GMT).

Originally posted on Twitter under Shiga Headlines by Philbert Ono. Twitter posts are limited to 280 English characters including spaces and links (shortened by Twitter). Dates and times below are based on GMT, not Japan time.

Biwako tattoo.
2018-09-04 03:51:10Typhoon No. 21 (Jebi) will reach Shiga and the Kinki Region this afternoon peaking at 3 pm to 6 pm with heavy rains and winds. Train services have been suspended. Current status of JR train lines here:
2018-09-04 15:08:29In Shiga, Typhoon No. 21 (Jebi) has caused one fatality (age 71 man crushed in a collapsed warehouse in Higashi-Omi ), 8 injured people, significant property damage, & some power outages. Hikone Castle has suffered damage to walls on multiple structures. Beware of landslides.
2018-09-05 14:08:33In Shiga, the number of people injured by Typhoon No. 21 (Jebi) has risen to 40. A preschool in Koka had its roof blown off. Wall of Hikone Castle’s main tenshu tower was damaged. Windows shattered at Nishi-Azai Jr. High in Nagahama. No injuries. Lots of fallen trees in Shiga.
2018-09-06 12:32:15More typhoon damage reports from Shiga. Damaged: In Kusatsu, the Kusatsu-juku Honjin lodge’s plaster wall. In Otsu, Miidera Temple’s To-in Kancho-do Hall’s roof 唐院灌頂堂. In Kora, Saimyoji Temple’s Hondo Hall. Over 2,171 agricultural greenhouses and warehouses.
2018-09-06 12:32:54Scenic Kaizu district in Makino, Takashima suffered major damage from Typhoon No. 21 (Jebi) with 5 fallen utility poles, wrecked cars, and multiple homes damaged including lakeside Korian funazushi restaurant 湖里庵 whose roof and walls blew away. Kaizu remains without power.
2018-09-23 02:56:37Hikone has become a Tokyo 2020 Olympics Host Town for Spain’s national handball team. On Sept. 6, Royal Spanish Handball Federation President Francisco Vidal Blázquez García visited Hikone to sign the Host Town agreement and toured practice facilities like Green Stadium.
2018-09-23 02:56:51Age 42 mother from Moriyama arrested for ordering her age 12 daughter to shoplift 41 die-cast toy cars and trains worth ¥40,000 from a store in Ritto in June. Mother has admitted to the charges and her daughter has been sent to a child welfare center.
2018-09-23 02:57:06Biwa-ichi” cyclists riding around Lake Biwa in 2017 estimated to be 95,000, over 20,000 more than in 2016. Biwa-ichi & Awa-ichi now being promoted together. Awa-ichi is cycling around Awaji island in Hyogo. The upside down shape & cycling distance of Awaji is similar to Biwako.
2018-09-23 02:57:18Moriyama is the only municipality in Shiga to have a bicycle police force called the “Moriyama Cycle Police.” Three new bicycles were donated by GIANT to the force on Sept. 20. With Biwako Ohashi Bridge & GIANT rental shop, Moriyama sees many cyclists riding around Lake Biwa.
2018-09-29 22:10:18Typhoon No. 24 (Trami) is expected to approach Shiga by midday today Sept. 30, peaking in the evening. Trains are delayed and will be totally suspended from midmorning. Current JR train status:
2018-10-01 12:44:14In Shiga, Typhoon No. 24 (Trami) caused one death in Koka (age 46 security guard fell into a river) and two people injured (age 88 man in Higashi-Omi & age 50 man in Takashima). Fallen trees, but no major damage to buildings. Greenhouses damaged over a wide area in eastern Shiga.
2018-10-02 12:20:06More Typhoon No. 24 (Trami) damage reports in Shiga: In Konan, National Treasure temple Zensuiji’s roof was damaged. The roof was already damaged from a July typhoon. Ibukiyama Driveway to Mt. Ibuki is closed for a month due to a landslide.
2018-10-02 21:54:30Latest blog post: Things to know before visiting Shiga Prefecture
2018-10-02 22:07:34Belated post for my photos of this year’s Sagicho Matsuri festival held on March 17–18, 2018 in Omi-Hachiman. Year of the Dog. #左義長まつり #近江八幡 #戌年
2018-10-05 12:26:14Nice PR video of Kyoto and Shiga by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, featuring English-speaking local tour guides in Kyoto and Shiga.
2018-10-05 12:27:21Typhoon No. 25 (Kong-Rey) is expected to be closest to Shiga from Oct. 6 late afternoon through the evening. Most Sat. events in Shiga will be held as scheduled, but they may be scaled back due to the weather. Otsu Matsuri will be held, but the paper lanterns might not be used.
2018-10-08 00:24:00In Koka at Rakuyaji Temple, Japan’s largest statue of a seated Kannon Buddha with 11 faces can be viewed until Dec. 9, 2018. Normally hidden, this Buddha is shown only once every 33 years. Rent a bicycle from Aburahi Station (JR Kusatsu Line). #櫟野寺 #大開帳
2018-10-10 14:01:57At the Asian Para Games being held in Jakarta, Ritto native and visually-impaired swimmer KIMURA Keiichi won the gold in the men’s 200m Individual Medley with a time of 2 min. 29.79 sec. #木村敬一
2018-10-10 14:02:14“Biwako Towa”, a new children’s song about Lake Biwa has been chosen by local NPO Biwako Trust from among 38 candidates. Lyrics mention memories on the Uminoko ship and 2 local places. They hope local kids will sing it. Good luck to them. #びわ湖トワ
2018-10-11 00:07:01新しいびわ湖の歌を作ることがいいと思いますが、「琵琶湖周航の歌」の世紀の名曲がせっかくあるので県内の全校や「うみのこ」にも教えて欲しいです。この歌はいろんなことを教えてくれます。物語性、描写力とイメージ性、想像力、自然と人との友情や郷土愛も促します。非常に教育的な歌だと思います。
2018-10-11 21:58:13Nagahama Kimono Garden Party #長浜きもの大園遊会 will be held tomorrow on Oct. 13. About 1,000 ladies in kimono will converge at Daitsuji Temple by 2 pm. Photographers need to register at Ekimachi Terrace (from 10 am) before photographing the ladies.
2018-10-16 04:09:30My friend Jamie in Illinois loves Shiga so much that she recently had this Lake Biwa (Biwako) tattoo done on her wrist. The two little dots show where she once lived in Shiga. She’s really Shiga crazy all right… #琵琶湖タトゥー
2018-10-27 23:57:43Higashi-Omi resident Okura Yohei (31, 大藏陽平) male jr. high teacher in Hikone who was arrested for indecent acts with age 14 jr. high girl at a Hikone hotel in June 2018 was fired on Oct. 19 by Shiga BOE. He also did it with the same girl in May and July. Fined ¥700,000 in Sep.
2018-10-27 23:58:02The jr. high school soft tennis coach (31) in Otsu who ordered a boy player to run 80 laps around the school in the summer heat has been punished with 1/10 pay for one month. He resigned on Oct. 19. (The boy collapsed from the heat and was taken by ambulance. He recovered.)
2018-10-27 23:58:15Two disturbing hit-and-run cases. On Oct. 21 in Egashira-cho, Omi-Hachiman, an elderly man was found dead on a rice paddy roadside with his bicycle destroyed by a car. On Oct. 23 in Mikumo, Konan, age 15 boy 馬庭颯士 was found unconscious with his destroyed bicycle on the road.
2018-10-27 23:58:34Shiga Labor Bureau found the number of disabled workers inflated by 3 in Shiga Pref. Gov’t & by 34 in the Shiga Board of Education. They aren’t legally disabled. BOE must hire 27.5 more disabled workers to meet the required 2.2% quota. The pref. gov’t meets its 2.5% quota.
2018-10-27 23:59:30On Oct. 26, pleasure-seeking Shiga police captain (50) has been punished with reduced pay for meeting his intimate girlfriends while on duty. Since 2014, he had met over 10 women in their 30s and 40s via online dating sites. He even met them seven times in 2018 in a police car.
2018-10-27 23:59:49Record number of 5,635 bullying cases in Shiga’s 395 public schools has been reported for the last school year. Exceeded 5,000 for the 1st time. The 912 cases of violence (especially in primary schools) is also the most ever, increasing by 30% over the preceding school year.
2018-10-28 00:00:00Beijing-based company ofo will pull out of Japan and terminate its bicycle-sharing operation in Otsu at the end of Oct. 2018 after only 6 months in operation. Otsu is now stuck with 400 bright yellow bicycles at 66 locations in the city. They hope to somehow continue the service.
2018-11-02 23:48:18The Oct. 23 hit-and-run victim Maniwa Hayato (15) 馬庭颯士 in Mikumo, Konan died of his injuries on Oct. 30. Age 19 construction worker in Koka has been arrested, although he denies the charges saying he hit a deer.
2018-11-02 23:48:37Shiga’s biggest Halloween event was held in Kusatsu again this year on Oct. 28. Some 20,000 people, many in costume, enjoyed food/souvenir booths near JR Kusatsu Station. The event has been held since five years ago by the local chamber of commerce.
2018-11-02 23:49:06The new Moriyama City Library opened on Nov. 1, 2018. Designed by Kuma Kengo, the beautiful, wood-themed building replaces the old public library with more floor space & books & a cafe. Kuma, who designed the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Stadium, attended the opening. 守山市立図書館 隈研吾
2018-11-02 23:49:16From late Nov. 2018 in Gokasho, Higashi-Omi, the Tonomura Uhee & Nakae Jungoro Omi merchant homes will be used as lodging facilities for foreigners at ¥150,000 per night on a trial basis. The other two Omi merchant homes will be used as dining facilities.
2018-11-07 14:42:51Omi-Hachiman resident Hisatomi Takashi (51 久冨隆司) turned himself in to police on Nov. 3 and was arrested for his hit-and-run of Yamamoto Toshikazu (62 山本敏和) found dead with his smashed bicycle on a rice paddy on Oct. 21 in Egashira-cho, Omi-Hachiman.
2018-11-07 14:43:19Hashimoto Takashi (44, 橋本隆志), a dentist with his own dental clinic in Kusatsu, has been arrested for raping a female acquaintance in Sept. He has admitted to the charges.
2018-11-07 14:43:41Kansai Electric Power Co. restarted the No. 3 nuclear reactor at its Takahama plant in Fukui Prefecture on Nov. 7, 2018 after completing 3 months of regular inspections. Fukui now has a total of four nuclear reactors operating at the Takahama and Oi plants. 高浜原子力発電所3号機
2018-11-07 14:48:52Konan’s public library is the first in Shiga to start lending e-books via smartphones and tablets. The number of available titles will be increased from 130 to 700 by March 2019. #湖南市立図書館 #電子図書館 No English e-books yet.
2018-11-07 14:53:11Due to aging facilities, Ohmi Railway Museum at Hikone Station will close on Dec. 8, 2018. It will be open on Nov. 10 & Dec. 8 only, then it will close. See outdoor exhibits of old train cars & indoor exhibits. The museum artifacts might later be displayed at Yokaichi Station.
2018-11-18 00:25:53An Edo Period textile merchant’s machiya home in Hikone was designated as a National Registered Tangible Cultural Property on Nov. 16. In the neighborhood of Nanamagari, the Hasama home (迫間家) with two floors is a remnant of a castle town home.  国の「登録有形文化財」
2018-11-18 00:26:02Yunoki Shuichiro (68, 柚木俊一郎), the operator of Koka-no-Sato Ninja Village 甲賀の里 忍術村 amusement park, hit a car in Koka on Nov. 14 & injured a woman. He abandoned his car & fled the scene. He had been driving without a license for 10 years. Arrested on both counts.
2018-11-18 00:31:35During mortar shell firing practice at the Aibano Training Area in Takashima, Ground Self-Defense Forces shot a 81mm mortar that fell & exploded on a national road in a civilian area, damaging a nearby occupied car on Nov. 14. No injuries. Live-fire exercises have been suspended.
2018-11-18 01:43:22Front wall of Tokugen-in Temple in Maibara fell over from the Sept. typhoon. Even by late Oct, they still had no plans to remove the debris due to the lack of manpower and funds. So two friends & I volunteered to clear it away in 3 days last week. Temple paid the truck. #徳源院
2018-11-20 14:26:38Garden of Tokugen-in Temple in Maibara. Despite its remote location, many tourists come to see the autumn foliage. Map:
2018-11-24 14:45:41Snow fell on Mt. Ibuki, Shiga’s highest mountain, on Nov. 23 for the first time this season. Bitterly cold winds also blew.
2018-11-24 14:46:09In Koka, disappointed with Rakuyaji Temple’s hidden Kannon on display until Dec. 9 for the 1st time in 33 years. You can only see the head through a small window far in the back. Photos not allowed. Pay ¥800. Buses run from Koka Station. 櫟野寺大開帳
2018-11-25 13:50:22Kongorinji Temple today in Aisho. Quite a hike to the main temple hall (felt sorry for all those old ladies panting and wondering how much more they had to climb). The fall scenery was beautiful along the way and all those little Jizo statues. Good exercise! 金剛輪寺 湖東三山
2018-11-25 13:53:32Stairway to Buddhist Paradise?? Autumn colors at Saimyoji Temple in Kora was absolutely stunning this morning. Shuttle buses from Hikone Station ended today, but the foliage should last a few more days. 西明寺 湖東三山
2018-12-03 12:00:46NHK「鶴瓶の家族に乾杯」が米原によく来てくれてありがとうございました!ゲストの國村隼さんが醒ケ井や木彫り職人、森 哲荘にも訪れてよかったね!私も哲荘さんと会ったことあります。とてもいい方です。NHK TV with Tsurubei in Maibara, Dec 7, 1 pm. 再放送は12月7日13:00
2018-12-07 00:10:50Poor Hikone Castle. It has suffered typhoon damage one after another with the wall plaster peeling off. It will take a while to repair the main tower as they await funding. #彦根城台風被害
2018-12-07 00:16:04Finally did a taste test of Koka Cola vs. Coca-Cola. Taste is almost identical. (Ingredients in both are almost identical.) But Coca-Cola is fizzier. Biggest difference is the price: ¥225 vs. ¥75. Koka Cola is made in Koka w/permission of Coca-Cola. #甲賀コーラ #滋賀酒造株式会社
2018-12-15 00:04:30Tatebayashi Ladies Choir in Tatebayashi, Gunma Prefecture sang a shortened version of “Biwako Shuko no Uta” (Lake Biwa Rowing Song) last week for their holiday concert. #館林レディースコーラス #琵琶湖周航の歌
2018-12-26 14:46:05A mobile phone shop in Kakimicho, Higashi-Omi was burglarized on Dec. 15. Stolen were 68 iPhones (including the iPhone XS) and 12 iPads worth ¥8.8 million. Security cameras recorded the 5-min. crime by multiple culprits.
2018-12-26 14:46:24Efforts and experiments to replant and revive the huge lotus field that died in 2016 at Karasuma Peninsula in Kusatsu have failed. The city will rethink its strategy and methods to regenerate the lotus colony.
2018-12-26 14:46:34Last year’s numbers of bluegill (519.5 tons) & black bass (202.4 tons) invasive fish in Lake Biwa were the lowest ever recorded in the past 11 years. Baby boom of bluegill born 6 years ago were nearing their lifespan, and gillnetting & electric shocks have been effective.
2018-12-26 14:46:48Shiga police captain (40s) received disciplinary warning for sexual harassment of a female worker for 4 months this year. Police lieutenant (40s) received disciplinary warning for power harassment of a fellow policeman by kicking, hitting, & ridiculing him for 8 months this year.
2018-12-26 14:47:02In Otsu at the Toshoji (等正寺 Kozeki-cho) and Kamikosanji (上高山寺Otowadai) temple cemeteries, a total of 73 gravestones were found to be toppled or broken by vandals on Dec. 18 and 20 respectively. The gravestones weigh about 100 kg, and it will cost 10 million to fix.
2018-12-26 14:47:14For 10 years in a row, Shiga’s 5th grade boys & girls scored lower than the national average in the annual physical strength survey conducted by the Ministry of Education. On the other hand, Shiga’s 8th grade boys and girls both scored higher than the national average. #体力調査
2018-12-26 14:47:25Shiga Prefectural Government is planning to beef up multlilingual services and environments for the expected influx of foreign blue-collar workers from next April. It will form a study team to gather info on foreign resident issues and to formulate measures. Good luck…
2018-12-26 14:47:54Umamioka Watamuki Shrine in Hino will see many more New Year’s worshippers in 2019, Year of the Boar. The shrine’s god has the boar as its messenger. The shrine will also sell a special ema prayer tablet with an iron-branded boar design. Only once every 12 years. 馬見岡綿向神社
2018-12-29 08:33:12Since yesterday, lots of snow in northern Shiga. Fortunately, trains are running for people returning to their hometowns for New Year’s. 滋賀に帰省中の方、お帰りなさい!
2018-12-31 11:26:09Toshi-koshi soba (年越しそば) noodles on New Year’s Eve would have to be Ibuki soba (伊吹そば). This one has yomogi (mugwort). Thank you everyone for reading Shiga Headlines in 2018. Here’s a recap:

Autumn festivals and foliage November 2018 in Shiga Prefecture

Recommended festivals (matsuri), events, exhibitions, and fall leaves in Shiga Prefecture in November–December 2018. (Most official Web sites are in Japanese only.)

Compiled by Philbert Ono. Updated: Nov. 14, 2018

Little Edo Hikone Castle Festival Parade

Little Edo Hikone Castle Festival Parade

November 3, 2018
♦ 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 the castle and passes in front of the Umaya Horse Stable. Video here. Short walk from JR Hikone Station. Map | Video | Photos



November 18th-25th, 2018
Koto Sanzan Temple Trio autumn foliage, Kora, Aisho, and Higashi-Omi
Koto Sanzan (湖東三山) is a trio of large Tendai Buddhist temples famous for autumn leaves in eastern Shiga. They are Saimyoji (西明寺) in Kora, Kongorinji (金剛輪寺) in Aisho, and Hyakusaiji (百済寺) in Higashi-Omi (see map below). They are also famous for structures that are National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties.

During the autumn foliage period, convenient shuttle buses (Koto Sanzan Shuttle Bus) run every day between Hikone Station and these three temples. For more details and the shuttle bus schedule in English, click here.



November 3rd-30th, 2018
Eigenji Temple Autumn Foliage and Light-up, Higashi-Omi, 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm for light-up
Although this temple is not one of the Koto Sanzan Temple Trio, it’s also famous for autumn leaves with 3,000 maple trees. Along with Saimyoji, Eigenji is also one of Japan’s 100 Grand Autumn Foliage Sites. Established in 1361, Eigenji belongs to the Zen Rinzai Buddhist Sect (Eigenji School). Since it’s a different sect, Eigenji is not a member of the Koto Sanzan trio of Tendai Sect temples. Impressive during the day, but also beautiful at night when the leaves are illuminated along with the walking paths. Admission 500 yen.

From Ohmi Railways Yokaichi Station, go to Bus stop 1 and take the bus going to Eigenji Shako (永源寺車庫) and get off at Eigenji-mae (永源寺前). Takes about 35 min. Bus schedule (in Japanese) from Yokaichi Station on weekdays | Saturday | Sunday. Note that from Eigenji-mae, the last bus for Yokaichi Station leaves at 7:16 pm on Sat./Sun. and 8:27 pm on weekdays. Map
永源寺 ライトアップ


Zensuiji and maples.

November 10–December 2, 2018
♦ Konan Sanzan Temple Trio Autumn Tour, Konan, all day
Not to be confused with Koto Sanzan, Konan Sanzan is a trio of Tendai Buddhist temples in the city of Konan. A small city like Konan is lucky to have as many as four National-Treasure structures at the three Konan Sanzan temples. Like Koto Sanzan, Konan Sanzan temples are also noted for autumn leaves. During this period, a convenient shuttle bus plies between the temples and train stations.

The temples are Jorakuji (常楽寺), Chojuji (長寿寺), and Zensuiji (善水時). Jorakuji has not one, but two buildings that are National Treasures: the Hondo main hall and three-story pagoda. Chojuji means, “Long Life Temple,” and its small, but distinctive Hondo hall is a National Treasure. Zensuiji has the largest and most impressive Hondo hall (National Treasure) bearing elegant roof lines. Not to be missed by architectural buffs. The three temples are all in quiet, rural neighborhoods.

One thing you have to understand is that two of the temples (Jorakuji and Chojuji) are on one side of the train tracks and the third temple (Zensuiji) is farther away on the other side of the tracks. So there are two separate bus routes going to the three temples and there’s a train ride between Jorakuji/Chojuji and Zensuiji.

The Konan Community bus called Meguru-kun runs from JR Ishibe Station (JR Kusatsu Line) to Jorakuji and Chojuji once an hour from 8:24 am to 3:45 pm. From Jorakuji, you can take the bus to Chojuji. From Chojuji, take the bus back to JR Ishibe Station and catch the train to JR Kosei Station one stop away.

From JR Kosei Station, take the bus to Zensuiji (get off at the “Iwane” stop). The last bus leaves Zensuiji (Iwane) at 5:16 pm for JR Kosei Station. You can also tour the temples in reverse order, starting with Zensuiji.

In the morning, buses leave JR Kosei Station (north exit Kita-guchi) for Zensuiji at 8:28 am, 9:25 am, 10:15 am, 12:20 pm, 1:45 pm, 2:45 pm, 3:50 pm (except on weekends and holidays). Bus fare is ¥250 per ride for adults. ¥130 for kids.
Konan Sanzan info and bus schedule in Japanese | Map

Hiyoshi Taisha torii lit up in autumn.

November 10th–25th, 2018, 5 pm–8:30 pm
Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine Maple Festival Light-up, Otsu
Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine at the foot of Mt. Hie in Otsu, Shiga Prefecture is the head shrine for all Hiyoshi, Hie, and Sanno Shrines in Japan (around 2,000). The spacious grounds includes two shrines that are National Treasures and 3,000 maple trees lit up at night 5:00 pm–8:30 pm during this period. Even the green leaves look great against the dark sky. The shrine also has a chrysanthemum display around the same time. Highly recommended if you’re in that part of the city. Near Hiezan Sakamoto Station on the JR Kosei Line and Keihan Line’s Sakamoto StationMap | Photos



November 16–December 2, 2018
Ishiyama-dera Temple Autumn Foliage Light-up
, Otsu, 5:30 pm – 9:00 pm (enter by 8:30 pm)
Founded in 749, Ishiyama-dera, belonging to the Shingon Buddhist Sect, is the 13th Temple of the Saigoku Pilgrimage. The temple is noted for National Treasure architecture, cherry blossoms, and fall leaves. The maples are nice even during the day, but the evenings will include LED lights. Mini-concerts on weekends at 6:30 p.m. Admission ¥600. Map
三井寺 秋のライトアップ

November ??, 2018
♦ Miidera Temple Autumn Foliage Light-up
, Otsu, 5:00 pm – 9:00 pm (enter by 8:30 pm)
Established in the 7th century, Miidera temple, or Onjoji, is one of Otsu’s major temples and one of Japan’s four largest temples. It is the headquarters temple of the Tendai Jimon Buddhist Sect and former rival of Enryakuji temple on Mt. Hiei. It is a complex of numerous structures including National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. The temple bell is famous for being one of the Omi Hakkei (Eight Views of Omi) depicted in ukiyoe prints. During this period, the temple’s three-story pagoda will also be open to the public. Map
三井寺 秋のライトアップ

Hyozu Taisha

Hyozu Taisha garden

November ??, 2018
Hyozu Taisha Shrine Garden Autumn Foliage Light-up, Yasu, 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm (until 9 pm on weekends and holidays)
Established in 717 (Nara Period), Hyozu Taisha Shrine has a noted Japanese garden with a pond ringed by small rolling hills and autumn leaves. The fall leaves certainly look colorful and impressive when illuminated in the evenings and reflected in the pond. Events and merchandise booths will be held on weekends.

A short bus ride from JR Yasu Station’s North Exit (Kita-guchi). Take the Yoshikawa Line (going to Nishi Kawahara 2-chome 西河原2丁目 or Ayame-hama あやめ浜) and get off at Hyozu Taisha 兵主大社. Buses are infrequent (schedule here). The last bus leaving Hyozu Taisha for Yasu Station leaves around 9:02 pm on weekdays and around 7:17 pm on Sat./Sun. Or take a taxi (costing about 2,000 yen from Yasu Station). Map


Genkyuen autumn foliage light-up.

November 17–December 2, 2018
Genkyuen Garden Autumn Foliage Light-up, Hikone, 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm (enter by 8:30 pm)
Adjacent to Hikone Castle, Genkyuen was built as a castle garden in 1677 by Ii Naooki, the fourth lord of Hikone Castle. I would call this Shiga’s best place to view autumn foliage illumination. The pond’s reflection of the colorful autumn leaves at night doubles the impact. Hikone Castle in the background is also lit up for a perfect night scene. Reminds me of a master painter using a black canvas. Admission ¥700 (¥350 for jr high and younger). Short walk from JR Hikone Station. Map

November 15–December 5, 2018, 5:30 pm–7 pm (enter by 6:30 pm)
Kyorinbo Garden Autumn Foliage Light-up, Azuchi, Omi-Hachiman
Beautiful Japanese garden designed by Kobori Enshu. Part of a temple at the foot of Mt. Kinugasa. Autumn foliage at night is reputed to be most beautiful. Of course, you can also go during the day. Tripods/monopods and food are not allowed. No photography inside the buildings. The garden is usually open only on weekends and holidays, but it will be open every day during the evening light-up days. Admission 600 yen (200 yen for jr high and younger). From JR Azuchi Station, take a taxi for 10-min. ride. Google Map
石の寺 教林坊 紅葉ライトアップ


Toyosato Elementary School (Image:

November 24–December 25, 2018, 5 pm–10 pm
♦ Former Toyosato Elementary School Evening Illumination, Toyosato
Pretty outdoor and building illumination in the evening. Christmas concert on Dec. 22 at 3 pm in the hall. Designed by William Merrell Vories the school has become nationally famous as the backdrop for the popular K-ON! anime/manga series. For groups of four or more, guided tours of the old school are provided for a fee.



October 27–November 25, 2018
Hie Momiji Matsuri Maple Festival, Otsu
In the Yokawa complex of Enryakuji Temple on Mt. Hiei, lots of maple leaves in autumn. From the ropeway station, take the shuttle bus to Yokawa complex. 比叡のもみじ

November 23–December 2, 2018
Metasequoia (dawn redwood) trees, Makino, Takashima
A pretty road lined with Metasequoia trees turn color in autumn. At JR Makino Station, take the Makino Kogen bus and get off at the Makino Picland bus stop. メタセコイア並木

November 25, 2018
♦ Tonda Ningyo Puppet Show
, Nagahama, 1:30 pm
The famous Tonda puppet troupe will perform three acts at Lute Plaza. Admission 1,200 yen at the door. For info, call 0749-63-7400.
At JR Nagahama Station, go to Bus stop 1 and take the bus at 12:27 pm going to Nagahama Shiyakusho Azai-shisho-mae (長浜市役所浅井支所前) and get off at Biwa Shisho-mae (びわ支所前). Takes about 20 min. Only three buses go there on Sunday. Or take a taxi if you’re rich or going with friends.
Google Map

December ??, 2018, 6:30 am
Hot Air Balloon Over Lake Biwa, Takashima, early morning
Dramatic sight of hot-air balloons crossing Lake Biwa. They start off very early in the morning at Omi-Shirahama Beach so you would have stay near this beach in Takashima. The balloons aim to land in Notogawa in Higashi-Omi across the lake. Note that weather conditions can cancel the event.

Tarobogu Shrine Fire Festival

Tarobogu Shrine Fire Festival

December 2, 2018
Tarobogu Shrine Fire Festival, Higashi-Omi, Noon – 4:00 pm
Held annually on the first Sunday of December, the Tarobo Shrine Fire Festival burns a big pile of pine tree branches and 100,000 wooden prayer tablets called goma (護摩) collected from believers all over Japan. The tablet is written with the believer’s name, address, and prayer wish. The fire burns as a prayer for family health and safety. After the fire settles down, barefoot priests and anyone can walk over the not-so-hot ashes. Very dramatic festival (photos).
Short walk from Ohmi Railways Tarobogu-mae Station. Map

For art and museum exhibitions in Shiga, see Kansai Art Beat’s exhibition schedule for Shiga museums.

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