Shiga

Shiga, Japan Oct. 04 Wed 7:16PM

21.4 / 70.4

Home of Japan’s Largest Lake

Shiga is located just east of Kyoto, and is famous for being the land of Japan’s largest lake – Lake Biwa. This prefecture is made up of thirteen cities, the capital of which is Otsu! Shiga is interestingly the only prefecture without its own regional newspapers.

Heard of the Tonda Traditional Bunraku Puppet Troupe? They originated in Biwa Town!  This group performs traditional Bunraku puppetry throughout Japan, and has been officially dubbed an Intangible Cultural Treasure.

Some wonderful architecture exists in Shiga, at the Sagawa Art Museum in Moriyama, Lake Biwa Museum in Kusatsu, and Miho Museum In Koka. An ancient ninja house is preserved in its original condition in the same town as the Miho Museum, and is now used as a visitor center!

Funa-Zushi is a renowned Shiga local food. This fermented sushi is made of fish from Lake Biwa. Shiga also produces very high quality wagyu beef, known locally as Omi beef.

Some other traditional foods of the area include root crops, sukiyaki, konjac, and somen noodles served with grilled mackerel.

One of the most famous tourism spots of Shiga is Ukimido hall at Mangetsu-ji temple. This floating temple building rests on wooden posts above the water.

Another noteworthy spot in Shiga is the Ishiyama-dera temple in Otsu – this temple has a room where Lady Murasaki conceptualized some parts of the famous book “Tale of Genji”

Hikone Castle is also quite noteworthy. This historical building is one of four national treasure castles in Japan. It hosts a few annual festivals and is encapsulated by cherry trees that blossom in the spring.

The most unique and renowned festival of Shiga is probably the Hikiyama festival – also known as the floats parade festival. It is held in April each year, and has been an official Intangible Cultural Property for almost 40 years.

Though Shiga is often overshadowed by its large tourism metropolis neighbor Kyoto, it has many beautiful and quaint historical districts that are worth visiting. Be sure to check out our articles related to this serene and peaceful prefecture!

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