For centuries, Shiga Prefecture has benefitted from its strategic position between Tokyo and Kyoto. Wealthy merchants and powerful leaders built stunning temples, shrines and castles, and celebrated their prosperity with raucous festivals that continue today. Blessed with Lake Biwa and mountains that enjoy snow in winter, it’s a great place to get away from the crowds and get outdoors in any season.
Shiga is easily accessible by shinkansen from Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya and beyond. Destinations on the south and western sides of Lake Biwa can be reached quickly on local trains and commuter lines from Kyoto.
Maibara Station on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line is your transport hub for destinations on the eastern side of Lake Biwa. The journey from Tokyo to Maibara takes between two and three hours. The JR Tokaido Main Line—or Biwako Line as it is nicknamed in this section—whisks visitors from Kyoto to Otsu and Koka on the south side of the lake. Alternative transport options from Kyoto include the JR Kosei Line and the Tozai Subway-Keihan Keishin Line.
Omi Hemp Textiles
Made from either hemp or a flax-like fiber called ramie, Omi jofu is a summer fabric. Patterns give this natural text...
Shigaraki is one of Japan’s six ancient potting centers. Its kilns fire unglazed stoneware and glazed ceramics called...
Cherry blossom fever sweeps Shiga throughout the month of April while festival season gets into full swing, with several of the biggest and best taking place in the same month.
Fireworks flood the summer sky and watersports on Lake Biwa help beat the heat. Summer is also a time for forest bathing in the vivid green grounds of Shiga's temples.
Enjoy fall foliage throughout November, witness the Otsu Matsuri festival and search out the autumn moon that inspired the world’s first novel.
Bring your skis and boards to Biwako Valley, or escape the chill in the area's onsen. Warm up with tasty treats and hot local sake.