Shiga Prefecture has lush mountains and countrysides that surround Lake Biwa, which is the biggest lake in Japan. By making a trip around Lake Biwa, you can see all the good spots in Shiga Prefecture. Enjoy your time by visiting the cultural heritage sites, or maybe by enjoying leisure activities unique to Shiga Prefecture. There are also spots where you can eat delicious local delicacies.
Hikone Castle is a famous castle in Shiga Prefecture. This castle with beautiful white walls was built 400 years ago by the order of Tokugawa Ieyasu. The castle tower has an observation deck with a panoramic view of Lake Biwa and the townscape. Hikone Castle has three floors with steep stairs, so we recommend wearing comfortable clothes that are easy to move in. In addition, you can meet Hikonyan, which is a popular mascot in Japan.
Tourist spots in Shiga Prefecture
Chikubu Island is an uninhabited island that floats in Lake Biwa. It has been designated a historic site and a place with scenic beauty. It is a spiritual place that has gathered people’s beliefs since a very long time ago. There is a popular form of prayer at Hogon-ji Temple, which is located within the island, where you write your wish on a piece of paper, and put it into a small Daruma (red-painted good-luck doll) called “Benten-sama no Shiawase Negai Daruma” (lit. goddess Benten’s daruma for wishes of happiness).
Ishiyama-dera Temple has a connection to Murasaki Shikibu, who is famous for writing The Tale of Genji. It is known as a temple of flowers, where various flowers bloom from season to season. We recommend visiting in spring to view cherry blossoms, or in autumn to view the coloring of autumn leaves, as they are especially beautiful.
Leisure activities in Shiga
Let’s explore Lake Biwa, the biggest lake in Japan, by canoe. Shirahige Temple, which is a spiritual place has a Torii gate that floats on water, and you can go through the gate by canoe.
Activities like ropeway and zipline are popular at Biwako Valley. For zipline courses, we recommend the 169-meter-long and 25-meter-tall course with a superb view of Lake Biwa! It’s an exhilarating experience speeding down the rope on top of the lake.
Try these delicious delicacies in Shiga Prefecture!
Funazushi (crucian carp)（公社）びわこビジターズビューロー
Shiga’s sushi include Funazushi (crucian carp) and Sabazushi (Atlantic mackerel). Funazushi is made by fermenting crucian carp, which has been pickled in salt, together with rice. It has a strong fragrance, but if you pour hot water or tea over it, it tastes delicious.
Sabazushi is made by pickling Atlantic mackerel together with a mixture of vinegar and sugar, which is then placed on a mound of vinegared rice. By pickling the sushi thoroughly, the fishy smell disappears, while preserving the raw texture of the sushi. Both of these sushi are local cuisines from Shiga, so you should definitely try them out.
Itokiri-mochi is a famous product from Taga Town, and a popular souvenir. Red bean paste is wrapped inside sticky rice that has blue and red stripes, and cut into rectangular rice cakes with a string. The long packages include a string that can be used to cut the long rice cake into whatever size you want.
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