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On this page, we will post everything interesting, beautiful, cool, exciting, yummy and fun we found around Lake Biwa!

Shigaraki Fire Festival 信楽火祭り

As dusk fell, the town centre of Shigaraki is filled with a magical atmosphere. Dimly lit paper lanterns line along streets, and rhythmical pounding of Taiko drums echoes throughout the town. Shigaraki Fire Festival, probably the biggest annual event of this small but worldly famous pottery-making town, fell on July 26th this year. As fire … Read more

Nagisa Park (in Moriyama)

Rape blossoms on a snow-covered field

About 15km north of Nagisa Park in Otsu City (see the previous post), on the eastern shore near the narrowest part of the Lake Biwa, there lies another park of the same name. Compared with its huge counterpart in more populated urban Otsu, this Nagisa Park (officially “Daiichi (No.1) Nagisa Park”), located on a quiet … Read more

Nagisa Park (in Otsu)

Nagisa Park facing Lake Biwa, Mt. Hiei and Mt. Hira

Got tired with concrete jungles in Osaka and tourist-packed streets in Kyoto? Away from the hectic atmosphere in big cities, Nagisa Park (literally Shore Park) in Otsu is a great place to catch fresh lake breezes and take a deep breath under the open sky. It is a waterfront park on the city centre of … Read more

End of 2013

Picture board at Hiyoshitaisha

The year 2013 is coming to an end, and 2014 is approaching. According to Japanese Zodiac (which refers to 12-year cycle where each year has its corresponding animal sign), the coming 2014 is the year of “horse”, while 2013 is of “snake”. The snake is now being kicked out, and the horse is about to … Read more

Tarobo-gu (Aga Shrine)


Today’s post is about Tarobo-gu, a Shinto shrine in the plain east of Lake Biwa. In Shinto (Japan’s indegenous religion) belifes, the sacred represent natural phenomenon. Since ancient times, people have worshipped mountains, rocks, waterfalls, rivers, trees and many other things in nature as the home of deities, or as deities themselves. It is more … Read more

Autumn leaves at Hiyoshitaisha

Autumn leaves and stone wall

Autumn has deepened around Lake Biwa. The trees are now ablaze with beautiful scarlet, orange and yellow. Along with cherry blossom in spring, the viewing of autumn leaves has been a popular seasonal activity for the Japanese for centuries. Every day the local news media report the turning of colors in the foliage at major … Read more

Mikami-yama (Omi-Fuji)

Mikami-yama from the western shore

From almost everywhere around the southern portion of Lake Biwa, you will see a beautifully symmetrical mountain standing prominent on the eastern plain. That is Mikami-yama (Mt. Mikami), one of the most well-known natural landmarks in Shiga Prefecture. While not very high at 432 metres, the peak’s claim to fame is obviously its eye-catching, nearly … Read more

Oki-shima (3)

"Torii" gate at Itsuku-shima Shrine

(Continued from the previous post) With most of its land being hilly and forest, Oki-shima boasts rich wildlife. Besides a stroll around the atmospheric village, it is worth extending your walk beyond its outskirts to experience the nature of the island. From the south-western edge of the village, you can head north along a narrow … Read more

Oki-shima (2)

Fish traps beside the lane

(Continued from the previous post) Although the island has few so-called “tourist attractions”, walking around the Oki-shima village uncovers a lot about the local life in this “remote” enclave. Along the southwestern shore stretches the island’s only settlement, about 150 houses huddle together over the constrained strip of land backed by a mountain. The village … Read more

Oki-shima (1)

Oki-shima Port

Lake Biwa contains four islands. Oki-shima, located by the eastern shore of the middle portion of the lake, is the largest of the four, and the only one inhabited freshwater island in Japan. On this post and a few upcoming posts, we will be featuring nature and people’s lives of the island! The 1.5-square-km area … Read more