Shiga

The largest lake in Japan, Omi-hakkei that resembles the scene of Lake Tungtinghu in China.

Shiga is situated at the center of Japan and has the Lake Biwa-ko, the largest lake in Japan at its center. It is an inland prefecture surrounded by Mt. Ibuki-san in the northeast, the Suzuka Mountain Range in the east, Mt. Hira-san and Mt. Hiei-zan in the west, and the Shigaraki Mountains in the south.

There is the Lake Biwa-ko Quasi-National Park that covers the Lake Yogo-ko, Mt. Ibuki-san, Mt. Hira-san and Mt. Hiei-zan around the Lake Biwa-ko that occupies one-sixth of the area of Shiga. Shiga has a number of scenic spots called Omi Hakkei, or eight scenic views of Omi, an old name for Shiga, which resemble the sights of Lake Tungtinghu in Hunan, China.

As it is located at a pivotal point of the traffic between the western and eastern Japan, civilization flourished in this area since the earliest times. There are a number of precious historic heritages including Hiei-zan Enryaku-ji Temple designated as the World Cultural Heritage, Hikone Castle designated as the national treasure, and many famous Buddhist images. Shiga has the third largest number of national treasures and important cultural properties, after Nara and Kyoto.

You can also enjoy Shigaraki ware pottery noted for statuettes of raccoon dogs, Otsu-e Pictures with vivid colors and other traditional arts and crafts, traditional sushi with fermented fresh water fish called Funa-zushi which was documented as early as in the 8th century and Omi beef for your palate, as well as the Hikiyama-matsuri Festival where decorative floats parade through the city in spring.

Getting to Shiga

Take JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line for 2 hours and 15 minutes from Tokyo Station or for 15 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Kyoto Station. Then, take JR Tokaido Line for 10 minutes from Kyoto Station to Otsu Station.