Exploring Shiga: A Local Guide to Japan's Lake Country

Exploring Shiga: A Local Guide to Japan's Lake Country

Introduction to Shiga

Shiga Prefecture, located in the beautiful Lake Biwa region of Japan, is a hidden gem waiting to be explored. With its stunning natural landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and delicious cuisine, Shiga offers a unique experience for travelers looking to immerse themselves in a traditional yet modern Japanese setting.

Getting to Shiga

Shiga is conveniently located in the heart of Japan and can be easily accessed from major cities such as Tokyo, Osaka, and Kyoto. The most common way to reach Shiga is by taking a train, with several JR train stations located throughout the prefecture. Alternatively, you can also fly into Osaka or Nagoya and then take a train or bus to Shiga.

Exploring Lake Biwa

One of the main highlights of Shiga is Lake Biwa, Japan's largest freshwater lake. With its crystal clear waters and picturesque surroundings, Lake Biwa offers numerous recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming. Visitors can also explore the lake's many charming lakeside towns, such as Otsu and Hikone, which are rich in history and culture.

Discovering Cultural Treasures

Shiga is home to several historical sites and cultural treasures that offer a glimpse into Japan's rich heritage. The Hikone Castle, a well-preserved feudal castle, is a must-visit for history buffs. The Enryaku-ji Temple, located on the slopes of Mount Hiei, is another important cultural site that dates back to the 8th century.

Enjoying Local Cuisine

No visit to Shiga is complete without sampling its delicious local cuisine. One of the must-try dishes is Omi beef, a premium Japanese beef known for its marbling and tenderness. Other local specialties include funazushi, a type of fermented sushi made with Lake Biwa's native fish, and Omi-gyu sushi, a sushi roll filled with Omi beef.

Exploring Shiga's Hot Springs

Shiga is also renowned for its hot springs, which offer a perfect opportunity to relax and rejuvenate. Some of the popular hot spring resorts in the region include Kusatsu Onsen and Ogoto Onsen. These natural hot springs are known for their healing properties and are a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Getting Around Shiga

Shiga has a well-developed transportation network, making it easy to explore the prefecture. The most convenient way to get around is by using the train system, with several JR train lines connecting major cities and towns in Shiga. Buses and taxis are also available for shorter distances or to reach more remote areas.

Visiting in the Four Seasons

Shiga is a destination that can be enjoyed year-round, each season offering its own unique charm. In spring, the cherry blossoms bloom around Lake Biwa, creating a stunning backdrop for hanami (flower viewing) parties. In summer, visitors can cool off by the lake or enjoy the colorful fireworks displays. Autumn showcases the vibrant fall foliage, while winter brings the opportunity for winter sports in the nearby mountains.


Shiga Prefecture is a perfect blend of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and gastronomic delights. Whether you're looking to relax by the lake, explore historical sites, or indulge in delicious cuisine, Shiga has something to offer for every traveler. Don't miss the chance to experience the unspoiled beauty of Japan's lake country.