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Shiga Prefecture

Shiga Prefecture in Kansai DistrictShiga PrefectureShiga Prefecture is located at the northeast part of Kansai District, and is an inland prefecture.
The old name of this prefecture is "Oumi".

It is nearly oval, and there is the Japan's largest Lake Biwa in the center of the prefecture.
Mountains surround this prefecture, and most cities and towns are around Lake Biwa.

This prefecture is at the border between the Pacific side and the Sea of Japan side.
So it often snows in winter at the northern half of the prefecture but it is fine at the southern half.

Since ancient times, Shiga Prefecture has been the area with important traffic routes.
This area is just at the center of Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka), Tokai (Nagoya) and Hokuriku (Wakasa Bay, Kanazawa).
So the important roads and railroads run through this prefecture.
There are much passing of people and materials, but most of them don't stay.
Then there is no large city in this prefecture.

Instead, the geographical and economic background has created many efficient merchants.
They had left from Oumi, then done business at the other cities. They had worked diligently and sincerely.
They has been called "Oumi-merchant", and created varoius revolutionary business know-hows.
The founders of many excellent companies were from Oumi-merchants.

Recently, the south part of the prefecture has become a commutable area to Osaka, and the population is increasing by gradation.

Tokaido Shinkansen runs along the east coast of Lake Biwa. (Unfortunately, we cannot see the view of the lake on the Shinkansen.)
But the station of Shinkansen is only Maibara in this prefecture.
The prefectural capital is Otsu city, and is very close to Kyoto. We can reach Otsu within only ten minutes by JR train.

A journey to Lake Biwa : Biwako Visitors Bureau official website

The climate in Hikone
Highest Temperature (deg C) 6.8 7.3 11.0 17.3 22.1 25.7 29.7 31.6 27.3 21.3 15.3 9.8
Lowest Temperature (deg C) 0.7 0.8 3.3 8.0 13.1 18.0 22.4 23.6 19.9 13.4 7.6 2.9
Mean monthly rainfall (mm) 107 102 120 114 150 191 218 109 169 116 85 91

Tourist spots in Shiga Prefecture

Map of Shiga Prefecture

Lake Biwa /1/
Mount Hiei /2/
Enryakuji temple /3/
Hiyoshi Taisha shrine /4/
Miidera temple /5/
Ishiyamadera temple /6/
Hikone Castle /7/
Mount Ibuki /8/

Scenic or Nature / Park or Garden / Resort / City, Town or Village / Quarter or Street /
Temple or Shrine / Museum or Laboratory / Market or Commercial facility / Factory /
Other Building or Construction / Historic place / Remains / World Heritage Site

Main events in Shiga Prefecture

Oumihachiman Sagicho FestivalOumihachiman Sagicho Festival (Mid-March)

It is an annual festival of Himure-Hachimanguu shrine in Oumihachiman city.
Generally, Sagicho is the event that New Year's decorations are taken to shrines and burned when the New Year's period is over.
But this festival is held in March.
Several huge torches with many decorations are made, and they are carried by many men throughout the city.
And in the evening, they are burnt in the precincts of the shrine. Many young men wearing woman's dress dance around the burning torches.

Otsu FestivalOtsu Festival (Early October)

It is an annual festival of Tenson Shrine in Otsu city.
It has been held since the early 17th century.
Like Gion Festival in Kyoto, beautiful 13 floats parade throughout the city.
But unlike Gion Festival, the parade is lively.
Each float has a wind-up dolls, and it is moved in front of the crowd.
And a beautiful tapestry is set up on the float, and one of the floats has the 16th-century tapestry from Belgium.

Local foods and products in Shiga Prefecture


Funazushi means "sushi of crucian carp", and is a local food of Shiga Prefecture.
In spring, fresh crucian carp are salted and pressed under a stone. The crucian carp is an endemic fish in Lake Biwa.
In summer, boiled rice is filled in the body of the fish, and they ferment in boiled rice in a tub for 6-12 months.
The rice melts into a sticky mess and stinks. This food is "sushi", but this sticky rice isn't generally eaten.
Fermented crucian carp is sliced and served. But it has an unusual odor and tastes very sour.

SaradapanSaradapan (Saradroll)

It is a bread stuffed with unique food. The unique food is chopped "takuan" dressed with mayonnaise. It looks like "salad".
Takuan is one of popular Japanese pickles made of daikon (Japanese radish).
Such unique sandwich has been sold by a small bakery "Tsuruya" in Kinomoto town at the north part of Shiga Prefecture since 1957.
It has been popular only among people in the town.
But after this sandwich had sometimes introduced on TV since 2000, it became very popular.
The price is only 130 yen, but Tsuruya is getting orders from all over the country now.

Shigaraki wareShigaraki ware

It is pottery and stoneware made in Shigaraki area located south part of Shiga Prefecture.
The kiln is one of the oldest kilns in Japan, and the potteries have been created since the 8th century.
Shigaraki ware is usually created without glaze. But the works are completed as if they were glazed.
By the simplicity, tea utensils for tea ceremony had been created in the middle ages.
Now various goods for everyday use are produced here.
Especially, the humorous ceramic raccoon dog is famous as the symbol of Shigaraki.

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