Shiga Prefecture (滋賀県 Shiga-ken) is a prefecture of Japan, which forms part of the Kansai region in the western part of Honshuisland. It encircles Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan. The capital is Ōtsu.
Shiga has many tourism resources, but Shiga is overshadowed by its much more famous neighbor Kyoto. Over four million foreign tourists visited Japan in 2000, but only sixty-five thousand visited Shiga.
The main gateways to Shiga are the Maibara Station in northern Shiga and the city of Otsu in the south. The Maibara Station is about 2 hours and 20 minutes away from the Tokyo Station by the Tokaido Shinkansen. It is easy to go to Otsu from Kyoto and Osaka by high-speed trains.
Shiga’s most prominent feature is Lake Biwa. The northern shore is especially scenic, such as the cherry blossoms of Kaizu Osaki in spring and the sacred island Chikubu-shima. The western shore has white sand beaches, popular among Kyotoites during the summer. The scenery of the southern shore, particularly around Otsu, was selected as Ōmi Hakkei or Eight Views of Ōmi, popularized by Hiroshige’s ukiyo-e. Most of the original eight views are now almost gone or changed from centuries ago. One remaining view is the Ukimidō “floating temple” building at Mangetsu-ji temple in Katata, northern Otsu. It was reconstructed with concrete in 1937, but a small temple still stands on the lake near the shore, accessible by a short bridge. Another scene features Ishiyama-dera temple in southern Otsu, which is also renowned for having a room where Lady Murasaki thought up the plan for some chapters of Tale of Genji.
The many mountains around the lake offer beautiful views. Mount Hira is a popular picnic spot. Mountain roads like the Oku-Biwako Parkway road up north and the Hiei-zan Driveway and Oku-Hiei Driveway overlooking the southwestern shore. In Otsu, the Otsu Prince Hotel’s Top of Otsu restaurant provides a panoramic view of the lake and city. The Michigan paddlewheel boat offers lake cruises.
Site of Shiga :