Shiga: Exploring Local Culture & Traditions

Shiga: Exploring Local Culture & Traditions

Shiga: Exploring Local Culture & Traditions

Shiga, located in the western part of Japan, is a beautiful prefecture known for its rich culture and traditions. From ancient temples to picturesque landscapes, Shiga offers a plethora of attractions that are sure to captivate any traveler. Let's delve into the heart of Shiga and explore its hidden gems.

Temples and Shrines

Shiga is home to numerous temples and shrines that showcase the region's deep spiritual heritage. One must-visit site is the famous Enryaku-ji Temple, located on Mount Hiei. With its stunning architecture and panoramic views of Lake Biwa, this UNESCO World Heritage site is a true marvel. Another must-see is the Hiyoshi Taisha Shrine, which dates back to the 8th century and offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere.

Traditional Crafts

Shiga is renowned for its traditional crafts, which have been passed down through generations. One such craft is Omi-Mino paper, known for its durability and delicate beauty. Visitors can witness the intricate process of papermaking at the Omi-Mino Paper Art Museum and even try their hand at creating their own paper masterpiece. For pottery enthusiasts, a visit to the Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park is a must. Here, you can witness the creation of Shigaraki-yaki, a style of pottery known for its earthy tones and rustic feel. Don't forget to pick up a unique piece as a souvenir to remember your visit.


Shiga is famous for its vibrant festivals that showcase the region's lively spirit. One of the most popular events is the Nagahama Hikiyama Festival, held in Nagahama City. This colorful festival features elaborate floats parading through the streets, accompanied by traditional music and dance performances. Immerse yourself in the festive atmosphere and join the locals in celebrating this cultural extravaganza. Another festival worth experiencing is the Sanno Festival, held at the Hie Shrine in Otsu City. Known for its grand procession of decorative floats, this event is a feast for the eyes. Be sure to savor the delicious street food and soak in the energetic atmosphere as you witness this age-old tradition.

Natural Beauty

Shiga is blessed with breathtaking natural beauty, thanks to its proximity to Lake Biwa, the largest freshwater lake in Japan. Take a leisurely stroll along the lake's shoreline and enjoy the tranquil scenery. For a more adventurous experience, take a boat tour and explore the hidden coves and islands that dot the lake. Nature enthusiasts should not miss the opportunity to visit the Biwako Valley. This picturesque valley offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and is a haven for outdoor activities such as hiking and skiing, depending on the season. Make sure to bring your camera, as you wouldn't want to miss capturing the awe-inspiring landscapes.

Local Cuisine

No travel guide would be complete without mentioning the local cuisine. Shiga boasts a delectable array of dishes that are unique to the region. One must-try dish is funazushi, a type of fermented sushi made with locally caught crucian carp. The strong aroma and distinctive flavor are not to be missed for adventurous eaters. For those with a sweet tooth, Omi-gyu soft serve ice cream is a must-try. Made with rich Omi beef, this creamy treat offers a unique blend of sweet and savory flavors that will tantalize your taste buds.

Getting Around

Shiga is well connected by public transportation, making it easy for travelers to explore the prefecture. The most convenient way to travel within Shiga is by train, with the JR Tokaido and Hokuriku lines serving the major cities. Buses and taxis are also readily available for shorter journeys or reaching remote destinations.


Shiga is a captivating destination that offers a perfect blend of cultural heritage, natural beauty, and culinary delights. Immerse yourself in the local traditions as you explore the temples and shrines, witness the mesmerizing festivals, and indulge in the flavors of Shiga's cuisine. Plan your visit to this enchanting prefecture and embark on an unforgettable journey.