Top things to do in Shiga Prefecture

Top Choice Museum in Shiga Prefecture

Miho Museum

Secluded amid hills and valleys near the village of Shigaraki, this knockout museum houses the Koyama family collection of Japanese, Middle Eastern, Chinese and South Asian art, and beautifully displayed special exh…
Top Choice Castle in Hikone

Hikone-jō

Completed in 1622, this diminutive castle of the Ii family of daimyō (domain lords) is rightly considered a National Treasure; much of it remains in its original state. Two unusual features are the teppōzama and yaz…
Buddhist Temple in Ōtsu

Mii-dera

Established in 672, over a century before the founding of Kyoto, Mii-dera gets its name for its three springs ('mi' means 'three' and 'i' means 'spring'). The highlight is the Hondō (main hall), last rebuilt in 1599…
Buddhist Temple in Ōtsu

Ishiyama-dera

This Shingon-sect temple, founded in the 8th century, has a lot going for it, including Japan's oldest pagoda (the Tahōtō, built in 1194) and an impressive location atop a stone outcrop, but it's most famous for hos…
Buddhist Temple in Nagahama

Daitsū-ji

Temples are great repositories of artwork, though most only allow visitors in a few times a year (if at all) to see them. This isn't the case at Daitsū-ji, where you're free to wander the worn tatami (tightly woven …
Parade in Nagahama

Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri

Nagahama's famous festival lasts a week, but the highlight takes place on 15 April, when costumed five- to 13-year-old children perform kabuki (a form of stylised Japanese theatre) aboard a dozen elaborately ornamen…
Sweets in Ōtsu

Chikara Mochi

Chikara Mochi has been making its signature pillow-soft mochi (pounded-rice cakes), generously dusted with a mix of kinako (roasted soy-bean flour) and matcha (powdered green tea), for over 200 years. The stall, wit…
Fireworks in Ōtsu

Biwa-ko Dai-Hanabi Taikai

This display of 10,000 fireworks over Biwa-ko is a major summer event, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors. You can get good views from the waterfront near Keihan Hama-Ōtsu Station, but you'll have to get ther…
Noodles in Nagahama

Yokarō

The signature dish here is local speciality yakisaba-sōmen (grilled mackerel over thin wheat noodles). The restaurant is inside a 150-year-old wooden building, with seating on tatami mats (the best ones face an inne…
Area in Nagahama

Kurokabe Square

Kurokabe means 'black walls' and many of the stucco shopfronts in this historic district are charcoal grey. The shops themselves sell craft and takeaway items (like croquettes stuffed with Omi-gyū, the local variety…