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 Castle

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. One unusual feature is the teppōzama and yazam…
Top Choice Noodles in Nagahama

Yokarō

With its tatami room and garden, this intimate, 200-plus-year-old restaurant positively oozes 'old Japan' charm. The signature dish is yakisaba-sōmen (grilled mackerel over thin noodles), which is also available in …
Top Choice Area in Nagahama

Kurokabe Square

Kurokabe means 'black walls', and you'll find plenty of them in this photogenic historic district (it's not really a square). Many of the old machiya (townhouses) and kura (storehouses) are now antique shops, galler…
Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Nagahama

Daitsū-ji

Just northeast of Kurokabe Square, this Jōdō-sect temple rivals Kyoto's finest with its collection of dozens of historic fusuma (sliding door) and byōbu (folding screen) paintings of landscapes and wildlife on gold …
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…
Parade in Nagahama

Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri

The town's famous festival, Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri, takes place from 14 to 16 April. The highlight is costumed five- to 13-year-old children performing kabuki (stylised Japanese theatre) plays aboard a dozen elab…
Gardens in Hikone

Genkyū-en

This exquisite Chinese-influenced garden (1679) is criss-crossed by waterways and wooden bridges. Tree-topped islands, peninsulas and interestingly shaped rocks punctuate its pond. For ¥500 you get a cup of matcha a…
Museum in Nagahama

Nagahama Hikiyama Museum

A selection of the elaborately ornamented hikiyama (festival floats) used during Nagahama's famous festival Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri are on display for the rest of the year at this museum.