Chikubu Island (Chikubushima) 竹生島
A hilly and lush uninhabited island
Chikubu Island, locally known as Island of the Gods, is located off the northern shore of Lake Biwa .
The shrine on the island, Hogonji, is more than 1500 years old
At the shrine, you can buy a Daruma doll that will pray for your wish for one year
How to Get There
Chikubu Island can be reached by ferry from three ports on Lake Biwa. It is most conveniently accessed from Nagahama Port.
You can catch a boat from Nagahama, Hikone, or Imazu Ports. Each boat takes 25-40 minutes.
To get to Nagahama, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Maibara (two hours from Tokyo or 20 minutes from Kyoto), then change for the Hokuriku Line to Nagahama (10 minutes).
Sacred and secluded
A hike in the forested hills brings you to the Buddhist temple of Hogonji, dating back to 724. Nearby is Tsukubusuma-jinja Shrine, a Shinto shrine and National Treasure dating back to 420. The temples reflect the confluence of the two religions in Japan over millennia.
The island of the gods
The island is thought to have its own benevolent spiritual energy and may even grant wishes. At Hogonji, you can write your wish on a slip of paper, then buy a red Daruma doll that will pray for your wish for a year. You can also try throwing a clay disc through the hard-to-reach Miyazaki Torii, a shrine gate, for good luck.