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Nagahama 長浜

Nagahama Hikiyama Festival Nagahama Hikiyama Festival
Nagahama Hikiyama Festival Nagahama Hikiyama Festival

A town blessed with abundant nature, rich in history and tradition

Nagahama's city center is Kurokabe Square, an area popular for its old town atmosphere. In April, the Nagahama Hikiyama Festival is held, and children's kabuki plays are performed on floats, reminiscent of a moving museum.

Don't Miss

  • Kids' Kabuki parades, a big highlight of the Nagahama Hikiyama Festival
  • Artisinal art glass manufacturers at Kurokabe
  • The oldest extant train station building in Japan

How to Get There

Nagahama is located in Shiga Prefecture , on the northeastern shore of Lake Biwa . It is easily accessible by rail from Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and other major cities.

To get to Nagahama, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Maibara (just over 2 hours from Tokyo or 20 minutes from Kyoto), and then take the Hokuriku Line to Nagahama (about 10 minutes).

Quick Facts

Toyotomi Hideyoshi developed the town as his administrative capital

Nagahama has a microbrewery that brews seasonal craft beers

The Nagahama Hikiyama Festival is UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage

Nagahama through the ages

Prominent warlord and politician Toyotomi Hideyoshi built Nagahama Castle around 1577. His castle was destroyed in 1615 and some parts of it were used to construct Hikone Castle. The current Nagahama Castle was rebuilt and opened as the Nagahama Castle History Museum in 1983, thanks to donations from citizens.

The museum has exhibitions about the history of Nagahama going all the way back to the Jomon period (c. 8000 B.C.-300 B.C.), the oldest known civilization in Japan. From here, take a stroll around Kurokabe Square and visit artisanal glassmakers. Head south from Kurokabe Square to visit the Yanmar Museum, a facility where children can learn and have fun.

Another spot of note is the former Nagahama Station building, built in 1882. It's the oldest preserved railroad station building in Japan and great for a visit. The current Nagahama Station is in a different location.

Nagahama Hikiyama Festival

Moving museums and children's kabuki

The Nagahama Hikiyama Festival has drawn crowds for hundreds of years. Young boys and adults perform Kabuki on beautiful “hikiyama” floats, which have been described as "moving museums." pulled through the city. The floats are on display in the Hikiyama Hakubutsukan museum year round.

Sacred spaces

If you need a quiet moment, take a ferry from Nagahama Port to Chikubu Island, home to Hogonji Temple and Tsukubusuma Shrine.

There is also Nagahama Hachimangu Shrine , which enshrines a local deity. It has a history of over 1,000 years, and was patroned by Hideyoshi. The temple is known as the starting point for the Nagahama Hikiyama Festival and is famous for its hydrangeas that bloom in June.

Nagahama Hachimangu Shrine

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.


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Ruins of Nagahama Castle
Nagahama Castle
hikone castle

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