Welcome to Shiga Prefecture
Just across the Higashiyama mountains from Kyoto, Shiga Prefecture (滋賀県, Shiga-ken) is dominated by Biwa-ko (びわ湖), Japan's largest lake. Long an inspiration for poets, the lake was developed in the 20th century as a resort destination; concrete hotel blocks and tourist cruises now overshadow its lyrical charms. But Shiga has a few sights of note: temples that date to the early days of the Japanese empire, a well-preserved medieval castle and a fantastic (if remote) art museum. And while it's very close to Kyoto, you won't see Kyoto-level crowds out here.