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Shiga Prefecture
 
 
Sakura Spots April

■Hou Park | Nagahama City
Hou Park is known to be a cherry blossom viewing spot close to Nagahama Castle ruins. The park is spread out on the lakeshores of Lake Biwa, and the castle tower is beautifully restored. About 900 Someiyoshino grow in the park as if surrounding the castle tower.

■Ishiyama Temple | Otsu City
It is said that the historical female writer Murasakishikibu built the plot for her masterpiece “The Story of the Genji (Genji Monogatari)” in this old temple. With Mt.Garan in the back, the temple is located at a place of sceninc beauty looking out over Seta River and not only laypeople but also the Imperial Family has worshipped this temple for centuries. In spring, 1,500 cherry trees produce beautiful blossoms all together.

 
Foliage Spots November - December

■Kongorinji Temple | Aisho Town

Kongourinji Temple is one of the Three Head Temples on the east side of the lake (Lake Biwa) and is known widely across the country for its history and precious architecture from Kamakura Period including the main hall, a national treasure, the three-layered-pagoda and the grand gate. The purely Japanese patterns of the architecture shows beautifully against the especially dark red leaves in autumn. This dark red maple leaves are known as “the bloodstained leaves” and the living buddha with spirits within, for there is a legend that tells that when the man carved the principle statue of this temple the tree bled from the edge of the knife.
 
Prefectural Guide
 

Otsu

In the old days, Otsu has flourished as the 53rd post-town of Tokaido Highway which ran from Edo (Tokyo) to Kyoto. This historical city is a treasury of cultural assets and large temples and many tourists come to visit the temples of Hieizan Enryakuji, Miidera and Ishiyamadera. It is also the entrance to touring Japan’s biggest Lake Biwako.
Conversely to the historical sides, museums and amusement institutions such as Hamaotsu
A-Qus show a modern aspect of the city.

 
Hikone

The center of Hikone sightseeing is undoubtedly Hikonejo, one of the four castles that are registered as national treasures. Around the castle, there are many cultural assets associated to the Ii Family which used to own the castle.
There are a variety of local dishes and traditional sweets that you can taste.

 

Koga

This area surrounded by mountains was an important military base during the turbulent age for it was the connection point of the eastern states with Kyoto.
Perhaps due to this character of the area, Koga is famous as the origin of Koga School of ninja. It is an area of unique culture where you will find the one and only existing ninja mansion in Japan and Shigaraki-yaki, a style of ceramics that has a history of 1,200 years.

 

Nagahama

Nagahama is famous for the story of the tycoon Toyotomi Hideyoshi building a castle in only one day. Therefore, there are many Hideyoshi-related cultural assets preserved in this area.
The townscape is of Meiji modern style which invites you to a slow and comfortable walk.

Kurokabe Square, a revived Kurokabe architecture complex containing a museum, glass ateliers and souvenir shops, is now becoming one of the poplar tourist spots.

 
Oumi

During the turbulent age when commerce was heavily controlled, Oumi allowed merchants unrestricted access to the town and commercial services which eventually contributed to the development of Oumi as a commercial town. The remnants of the old commercial town may still be found in the old town where the merchant houses still stand in neat squares.

Oumi is also famous for its water, and a boat ride on yakatabune (roofed boat) along the riverside will guide you to the good old days of Japan.
 

 
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