Top things to do

Buddhist Temple in Ōtsu

Ishiyama-dera

This Shingon-sect temple was founded in the 8th century. Climb the many steps past a garden of massive boulders to the hondō (main hall), famed as the place where Lady Murasaki wrote The Tale of Genji. Continue expl…
Buddhist Temple in Ōtsu

Mii-dera Temple

Just past its 1200th anniversary (in 2014), these rambling, deeply wooded precincts at the edge of central Ōtsu are the head temple of the Jimon branch of Tendai Buddhism. Four of its buildings are national treasure…
Fireworks in Ōtsu

Biwa-ko Dai-Hanabi Taikai

For the best views of Ōtsu's Great Fireworks Festival head to the waterfront near Keihan Hama-Ōtsu Station. Trains to/from Kyoto are packed for hours before and afterward.
Cultural in Ōtsu

Ōtsu Matsuri

At Tenson-jinja, near JR Ōtsu Station, ornate floats are displayed on the first day and paraded around the town on the second day.