Relaxing Trip in Shiga

Shiga Prefecture’s most distinctive feature is Lake Biwa, the largest lake in Japan.

It looks like an ocean! Shiga has not only a beautiful landscape with Lake Biwa, but also numerous historical sites, which were stages for drama in history, due to its location close to Kyoto.

Make a little side trip from Kyoto or Osaka to Shiga and enjoy a relaxing and interesting time there.

1. A Castle with a Cute Mascot Hikone Castle (Hikone City)

As one of the five National Treasure castles in Japan, with more than 400 years of history, Hikone Castle gives a different impression with its beautiful white castle tower depending on the angle from which you are looking at it. When you are at this castle, you should see “Hiko-nyan,” a mascot character of Hikone City. He greets visitors to the castle everyday!

Nearest station: JR Hikone Station

Hikone Castle & Genkyu-en Garden: 800 yen, Hikone Castle Museum: 500 yen

Address 1-1 Konkicho, Hikone, Shiga
Business hours 8:30 – 17:00
Regular holiday Open 365 days

2. Relaxed Visit to the World of Karuta Omi Shrine (Otsu City)

This shrine is dedicated to Emperor Tenji, who moved the capital city to Otsu in the middle of the 7th century. Since the waka poem by Emperor Tenji is the first poem in Ogura Hyakunin Isshu (a classical anthology of 100 waka by 100 poets), this place hosts many competitions of Hyakunin Isshu karuta (card game). It is also the setting of the popular comic “Chihayafuru.” It offers a kimono-wearing experience session, in which you can walk around the premises wearing a traditional kimono.

Nearest station: JR Otsukyo Station

Kimono wearing experience: 1,000 yen and up

Kimono wearing and karuta making experience (reservation only): 1,000 yen

Address 1-1 Jingucho, Otsu, Shiga
Business hours 9:00 – 16:30 (10:00 – 16:00 for kimono wearing experience session and other sessions)
Regular holiday Open 365 days

3. Casual Trial of Ascetic Training Enryaku-ji Temple on Mount Hiei (Otsu City)

Founded by the Buddhist priest Saicho in 788, this is the main temple of the Tendai sect of Buddhism and the entire large premises are registered as a World Heritage Site. The temple has long been a place of ascetic training, from which many high priests were produced. Enryakuji Kaikan hotel offers ascetic-training experience sessions, including zazen (seated meditation) and shakyo (sutra copying), as well as serving shojin-ryori (vegetarian) food.

Nearest station: Sakamoto Cable Enryakuji Station

Fees: 700 yen, Kokuho-den: 500 yen

Shakyo session and zazen session (reservation required in advance): 1,080 yen each

Business hours 8:30 – 16:30 (varies depending on seasons and places)
Regular holiday Open 365 days

4. Visit a Spiritual Spot by Boat Chikubu Island (Nagahama City)

Chikubu Island in Lake Biwa is home to Hogon-ji Temple, the 30th temple of the Saigoku Kannon Pilgrimage, and Tsukubusuma-jinja Shrine, which is famous for kawarake-nage (a ritual in which you toss small clay discs to get good fortune), making the whole island a popular spiritual spot. To get to the island, you can take a daily cruise boat from Nagahama Port. Visit the island by boat feeling the breeze on the grand lake, and be immersed in the spiritual atmosphere of the island.

Chikubu Island entrance fee: 400 yen

Address Hayazakicho, Nagahama, Shiga
Access From Nagahama Port or Imazu Port

5. Resort Place with a Panoramic View Biwako Valley (Otsu City)

Arriving at the peak of the 1,100-meter mountain by Japan’s fastest ropeway, you will be at “Biwako Terrace.” You can have a grand, sweeping view of Lake Biwa, sitting on a sofa in a relaxing atmosphere. The place offers various activities in summer, such as an exciting zip line, and also serves as a popular ski area close to Kyoto in winter.

Ropeway (round trip): 2,500 yen

Address 1547-1 Kido, Otsu, Shiga
Access about 10 min by route bus from JR Shiga Station
Business hours 9:30 – 17:30 on weekdays (9:00 – 17:30 on weekends and holidays and in August)

6. Excursion trip MIHO MUSEUM

A museum exhibiting a variety of Japanese art works and ancient art works from all over the world.

Address 桃谷-300 Shigarakicho Tashiro, Koka, Shiga
Access 50 min by bus from JR Ishiyama Sta.

Enjoy delicious food in Shiga

Omi Beef

From cows raised in abundant nature, Omi Beef is one of the four top Wagyu beef brands in Japan. The beef is characterized by its tenderness and sweet yet non-greasy fat. You can enjoy Omi Beef casually in an Omi beef burger.


Funazushi is a type of sushi, in which nigorobuna (round crucian carp) from Lake Biwa is salted and fermented with rice for preservation purposes, and it is a famous “smelly” Shiga specialty dish. It goes very well with sake.


Baumkuchen, a German traditional pastry, from Club Harie, has a surprisingly fluffy texture. It is available at its branches in Shiga Prefecture (Omihachiman, Hikone, etc.).

Club Harie Himurekan

Nearest station: JR Omihachiman Station

Open 365 days

9:00 – 18:00, Café last order: 17:00

A Variety of Kominka Cafes in Omihachiman

As a castle town formed in the Warring States period (15th-16th century) and that prospered as a town of merchants in the Edo Period (17th-19th century), Omihachiman still retains old streetscapes. The city has many kominka cafés, which are located in renovated old folk houses (minka). Have fun enjoying coffee and a unique atmosphere in these old buildings.

Unique Items from Shiga

Lake Biwa Stationery

Unique stationery, such as “Biwako template” that allows you to draw the shape of Lake Biwa, Lake Biwa-shaped paper clips, and masking tapes printed with various fish of Lake Biwa and with items related to travelling in Shiga, are available at souvenir shops in Shiga Prefecture.

Kaiyodo Figures

Located in Nagahama City, “Kaiyodo Figure Museum Kurokabe Ryuuyukan” is operated by a globally famous toy manufacturer, Kaiyodo. The wide variety of items on display includes the latest figures, cute animal figures, and anime-based figures.

Nearest Station: JR Nagahama Station

800 yen

Address 13-31 Motohamacho, Nagahama, Shiga
Business hours 10:00 – 17:00 (10:00 – 18:00 in summer)
Regular holiday Closed irregularly

Echigawa’s Binzaiku Temari

This is a traditional craft that has been made in Aisho Town for generations. It is a mystic item in which a beautiful temari (traditional toy ball) is placed inside a glass bottle with a small opening. It attracts attention with its delicacy and beauty. You can buy one at “Ruburu Echigawa.”

Echigawa Station Community House Ruburu Echigawa

Nearest Station: Omi Railway Echigawa Station

Address 895-3 Ichi, Aishō, Echi District, Shiga
The information herein is as of May 2018
att.JAPAN consists of members in their 20s and 30s, and we are all travel lovers. In addition to information about sightseeing and great dishes all over Japan, we offer a wide range of information about various subjects/topics, such as onsen (hot spring) and ryokan hotels. We introduce lots of information only att.JAPAN can offer, including information about famous sightseeing spots, the latest news about new facilities all over Japan and rare less-known areas in Tokyo, one-day model walking courses, and anime pilgrimages. We also offer contents to introduce Japan from the view of writers from abroad.

Shiga Article

Shrine and Temples Museums Article