What to do and Eat in Shiga Prefecture

Wanderguide by

Amy Vivian-Neal

What to do and Eat in Shiga Prefecture

Home to the largest lake in Japan, mouth-watering cuisine and breathtaking scenery, Shiga Prefecture is Japan’s best kept secret! Sharing borders Kyoto and Nagoya, you can make Shiga a one day trip or a destination for your next holiday in Japan!

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🛏️ Accomodation

Image - Lake Biwa Otsu Prince Hotel
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Lake Biwa Otsu Prince Hotel
Amy:Treat yourself to one of the most luxurious hotels in the prefecture with beautiful views of the lake with every room,
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Image - Hikone Castle Resort & Spa
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Hikone Castle Resort & Spa
Amy:This is one of the pricier options for hotels Hikone city but with a primo location by the iconic Hikone Castle and spa amenities, it makes for a splurge that pays itself back! Though there’s an in-house restaurant that’s top quality in service and food, there’s also many restaurants nearby that can cater to all travel budgets.
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一般社団法人 近江日野交流ネットワーク
Amy:Hino is a small rural town in eastern Shiga Prefecture. It’s a beautiful place where one can be at home with nature. You can contact Omi Hino Exchange Network and arrange to stay with a Japanese family for 2 or 3 nights. It’s a wonderful and unique opportunity to see, eat and experience the lives of agricultural families in Japan. More information is available on their website: https://www.omi-hino.jp/inbound/english.html#a4
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Image - Marumo-ryokan
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Marumo-ryokan
Amy:If you’re travelling in Japan why not stay a night or two in a traditional Japanese inn? Marumo-Ryokan is a family owned inn with super friendly hosts. The food served is home made and delicious and there’s also a hot spring in the residence too. This inn is prefect to stay at during the winter as it’s only 15 minutes away from Hakodateyama Ski Resort.
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🚗Visit

Image - La Collina ラ コリーナ近江八幡
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La Collina ラ コリーナ近江八幡
Amy:La Collina is an unique dessert shop like no other. It uses materials from local forests for its building, with grasses on its roof and wood on its wall, designed by Terunobu Fujimori. Their dorayaki and baumkuchen are fantastic!
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Image - MIHO MUSEUM
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MIHO MUSEUM
Amy:The Miho Museum was designed by the world-famous architect I. M. Pei. Taking themes of nature and buildings, harmony with art, the traditional and the modern, and the fusion of the east and west, more than 80% of the building's volume is submerged underground, taking great care not to destroy the natural environment around it. The museum opens seasonally three times per year, and allows special exhibitions and permanent installations to be viewed. The café and restaurant on-site provide meals made with organic locally sourced ingredients.
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Image - Biwako Terrace
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Biwako Terrace
Amy:There aren’t many cafes in the world that have a sweeping view a beautiful lake. Take time out at The Biwako Terrace in the midst of breathtaking scenery.
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Image - Chikubu Island
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Chikubu Island
Amy:Travel your way across Biwa Lake to Chikubu Island, also known as the Island of Gods. A place of spiritual importance to both Buddhism and Shintoism. This a must visit for travellers in Shiga Prefecture!
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Image - Rosa & Berry Tawada
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Rosa & Berry Tawada
Amy:Nestled in the Maibara hills you’ll find a serene English Garden where you can try your hand at making your own chopsticks, candles or artisanal soaps. There’s a traditional English tea house and a buffet style restaurant serving mouthwatering delicacies made with locally produced ingredients.
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Image - Hikone Castle
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Hikone Castle
Amy:Hikone Castle is a Japanese Edo-period castle in the city of Hikone, in Shiga Prefecture. It is considered the most significant historical building in Shiga. Hikone is one of only 12 Japanese castles with the original keep, and one of only five castles listed as a national treasure. Best time to visit is during Spring when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom!
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Image - Hachiman-Bori
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Hachiman-Bori
Amy:This historic merchant route connected the town to Lake Biwa and allowed Omihachiman to grow and thrive during the Edo Period. Today, it remains an important cultural heritage site. There are many restaurants, cafes and shops bordering the canal.
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Image - Mount Ibuki
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Mount Ibuki
Amy:Mt. Ibuki or Ibukiyama is Shiga Prefecture's tallest mountain at 1,377 meters as well as one of Japan's 100 most famous mountains. It has beautiful hiking trails from spring through to autumn.
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Image - Enryakuji
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Enryakuji
Amy:Enryakuji is one of the most important monasteries in Japanese history and the headquarters of the Tendai sect of Japanese Buddhism.
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Image - Former Chikurin-in Temple
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Former Chikurin-in Temple
Amy:Originally a large temple with lodging for Shugendo practitioners, the complex now features a beautiful ryokan, a smaller temple and grand landscaped gardens. The garden, designed around 300 years ago by tea master Sen-no-Rikyu, is especially beautiful in spring, when the pond is lined with cherry trees in bloom. The trail up the hill behind the garden leads to an archery ground and the views across the mountains towards Kinpusenji Temple are lovely in all seasons. The garden is illuminated in autumn.
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Image - Mizunomori Water Botanical Garden
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Mizunomori Water Botanical Garden
Amy:A beautiful botanical garden, with white and pink lotuses blooming during late July to August.
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Image - Sandai Shrine
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Sandai Shrine
Amy:Sandai Shrine is a small shrine near Kusatsu in Shiga Prefecture, with an impressive garden of trailing wisteria. You can see these beautiful flowers during May to early June.
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Image - 曳山博物館
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曳山博物館
Amy:The Nagahama Hikiyama Festival is said to be one of the Three Great Float Festivals in all of Japan. The main feature of this festival is the Kabuki performances performed by the local children. The festival is a 5 day affair April 13th~16th. If you can’t make it for this incredible festival, I highly recommend you check out the Hikiyama Festival Museum!
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Image - Biwako Hakodateyama YUrien
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Biwako Hakodateyama YUrien
Amy:Mt. Hakodateyama has a wonderful view over Lake Biwa, and is perfect for picking mountain produce or hiking from spring through fall, and sees two million lilies bloom in the summertime. The Lily Park is open from early July to late August, while Kokia Park is open from mid-September to mid-October.
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Image - Shirahige Shrine
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Shirahige Shrine
Amy:The Shirahige Shrine in Takashima City, Shiga Prefecture features a torii gate in Lake Biwa, and has become popular in recent years as a picturesque photo spot with a beautiful sunset. Shirahige Shrine is located north-west of Lake Biwa and was built about 2000 years ago. It’s said to bring a variety of fortunes, such as longevity, marriage and academic achievement.
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Image - Omi-Maiko Nakahama Beach Resort
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Omi-Maiko Nakahama Beach Resort
Amy:Biwa Lake’s most clear and beautiful beach. Great place to cool down in the summer months.
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Image - Taga Taisha
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Taga Taisha
Amy:A stunning local shrine that continues to have central role in the Taga community. On August 3rd to 5th the shrine holds the annual Lantern Festival. During the festival the shrine grounds are decorated with more than 10,000 lanterns sent from the faithful all across Japan, with ceremonies and rituals then performed beneath these lanterns for the three days.
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😊Experience

Image - Otsu Port
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Otsu Port
Amy:Otsu Port is the gateway to Biwa Lake. Float across the clear waters on the Michigan Cruise and watch the spectacular scenery of Biwa Lake as it passes by. There’s also a restaurant onboard the cruise ship and daily music performances!
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Image - Chikubu Island
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Chikubu Island
Amy:Travel your way across Biwa Lake to Chikubu Island, also known as the Island of Gods. A place of spiritual importance to both Buddhism and Shintoism. This a must visit for travellers in Shiga Prefecture!
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Image - アウトドアスポーツクラブオーパル
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アウトドアスポーツクラブオーパル
Amy:Rolling inside a giant vinyl water ball is great fun, providing a unique experience as you float across the surface of Biwa Lake.
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Image - BSCウォータースポーツセンター
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BSCウォータースポーツセンター
Amy:Rent a kayak or sign up for a wind surfing lesson at the BSC Water Sports Centre!
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Image - Soranone cafeteria
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Soranone cafeteria
Amy:Soranone Cafeteria is not your typical restaurant as can you take part in the cooking process. Help fire up the traditional brick furnace to cook your organic rice in!
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Image - 宗陶苑
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宗陶苑
Amy:Try your hand at making some pottery pieces!
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Image - Kōka Ninja Village
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Kōka Ninja Village
Amy:Strike your best ninjitsu pose and train like a ninja at the Kona Ninja Village. Children and adults can rent out colourful ninja costumes and try their hand at shuriken practise, stealth tests, climbing and infiltration courses and learn all about the history of the Koka ninjas as well as visit a real ninja house with all the contraptions and secrets revealed by a friendly guide (Japanese only!)
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Image - 滋賀県醒井養鱒場
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滋賀県醒井養鱒場
Amy:Samegai Trout Farm is the largest trout farm in all of Asia. It’s a great place for families with young children. You can go fishing and either take what you’ve caught home or have it cleaned and cooked for you onsite! Children will love feeding the fish and playing in the Touch Pond, home to some large but friendly trout!
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Image - Maibara Cycle Station
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Maibara Cycle Station
Amy:Cycling around Biwa Lake is a popular hobby for locals. You too can try it out or venture out and explore the rural countryside with Maibara Cycle Station. There’s the option to simply rent out a bike or go on a guided tour of Maibara and beyond!
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Image - Midori Farm
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Midori Farm
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🍕Eat

Image - R cafe at Marina
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R cafe at Marina
Amy:Lunch at R cafe with a stunning view of Biwa Lake! They serve Hawaiian influenced dishes. Weirdly enough they also serve high tea.
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Image - Gallery & Cafe ENSOU
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Gallery & Cafe ENSOU
Amy:A dessert specialist cafe with super instagrammable seasonal deserts and cakes. Their berry tart with chocolate chunk is out of this world divine and beautiful!
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Image - Bakery&Café 野坐
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Bakery&Café 野坐
Amy:An exquisite bread specialist cafe that is in sync with the seasons. Every time I visit this cafe, they always have new seasonal items on their menu as well as in their bread range.
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Image - 毛利志満
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毛利志満
Amy:You’ve probably heard of Kobe beef but have you ever tried it’s lesser known cousin, Omigyu beef? Locally raised, high quality beef available at this restaurant!
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Image - Omi Beef Okaki Honten
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Omi Beef Okaki Honten
Amy:This is another Omigyu specialty restaurant. Similar in terms of pricing but more difficult to get to without a car. Absolute worth going to though!
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Image - Sun-Burger 彦根クレープ
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Sun-Burger 彦根クレープ
Amy:Sun-Burger are some of the most delicious and filling burgers I’ve ever had. If you want to try them you need to head over before noon as they often sell out!
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Image - 近江八幡日牟禮ヴィレッジ たねや日牟禮乃舎
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近江八幡日牟禮ヴィレッジ たねや日牟禮乃舎
Amy:Exquisite traditional Japanese sweets served in a tranquil Japanese-style cafe.
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Image - 竹平楼
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竹平楼
Amy:One of the finest Kaiseki (seasonal) course restaurants in Shiga Prefecture. This place is the epitome of Japanese cuisine.
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Image - かまーとの森
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かまーとの森
Amy:Super fun and quirky shop filled with homemade items. There’s also a cafe that’s a popular lunching spot for locals.
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Image - 山本園
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山本園
Amy:If you’re after a specialist dessert cafe that hand makes its products then you must check out Yamamotoen.
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Image - 目利きの銀次 彦根西口駅前店
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目利きの銀次 彦根西口駅前店
Amy:A super fun hot spring themed Japanese style bar serving only the freshest seafood. Great food at a reasonable price.
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Wanderguide map

  1. Lake Biwa Otsu Prince Hotel
  2. Hikone Castle Resort & Spa
  3. 一般社団法人 近江日野交流ネットワーク
  4. Marumo-ryokan
  5. La Collina ラ コリーナ近江八幡
  6. MIHO MUSEUM
  7. Biwako Terrace
  8. Chikubu Island
  9. Rosa & Berry Tawada
  10. Hikone Castle
  11. Hachiman-Bori
  12. Mount Ibuki
  13. Enryakuji
  14. Former Chikurin-in Temple
  15. Mizunomori Water Botanical Garden
  16. Sandai Shrine
  17. 曳山博物館
  18. Biwako Hakodateyama YUrien
  19. Shirahige Shrine
  20. Omi-Maiko Nakahama Beach Resort
  21. Taga Taisha
  22. Otsu Port
  23. Chikubu Island
  24. アウトドアスポーツクラブオーパル
  25. BSCウォータースポーツセンター
  26. Soranone cafeteria
  27. 宗陶苑
  28. Kōka Ninja Village
  29. 滋賀県醒井養鱒場
  30. Maibara Cycle Station
  31. Midori Farm
  32. R cafe at Marina
  33. Gallery & Cafe ENSOU
  34. Bakery&Café 野坐
  35. 毛利志満
  36. Omi Beef Okaki Honten
  37. Sun-Burger 彦根クレープ
  38. 近江八幡日牟禮ヴィレッジ たねや日牟禮乃舎
  39. 竹平楼
  40. かまーとの森
  41. 山本園
  42. 目利きの銀次 彦根西口駅前店

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