Three temples in Shiga Prefecture, Saimyoji Temple, Kongorinji Temple, and Hyakusaiji Temple, also called the three mountains in Eastern Biwa Lake, are famous for their autumn colors. A shuttle bus runs from Hikone Station and tours these three temples during the autumn season. There is also a fare that allows passengers to ride the bus an unlimited number of times throughout the day. (November 17th to 25th)
The three temples are about to enter their most beautiful time of year.
This picture is of Kongorinji Temple, founded by Gyoki under the imperial order of Emperor Shomu in the Nara period (the year 741).(60 minutes by car from the hotel)
Hiyoshi Taisha, located at the foot of Mt. Hiei, was founded 2,100 years ago and is now the head shrine for over 3,800 Hiyoshi, Hie, and Sanno shrines throughout Japan. As it was located to the northeast (considered an inauspicious "demon gate" direction) of Heian-Kyo (ancient Kyoto), it was venerated as a shrine that would ward the city against evil spirits and disasters.
With approximately 3,000 maple trees there, Hiyoshi Taisha is famous for its fall leaves. The best time for viewing this in a typical year is from early November till early December. There will also be illuminations from November 10th-25th. (24 minutes by car from the hotel)
Visit the mountain pass (Onyutoge) that joins Shiga and Fukui prefectures to marvel at the brilliant colors of autumn. Late October is the best time to come. The "cloud ocean" tends to drift in early in the mornings of October and November, a time any people visit the region to photograph the autumn colors and cloud ocean. (120 minutes by car from the hotel)
“Hachimanbori Festival,” which we reported on last year, will be held on October 13th and 14th (18:00 ～ 21:00 on both days). Approximately 3,500 lights, including LEDs and candles, will light up the tasteful cityscape. (30 minutes by car from the hotel)
As a result of this heat, these sunflowers in 1st Nagisa Park bloomed all at once. Sunflowers at dusk are so beautiful. (5 minutes by walk from the hotel)
On the other side of Hakodateyama at the Iris meadow in Taniai, the beginning of June marks the blooming of over 10,000 lilac colored Iris. The contrast of the Iris's violet with the verdant green of the mountain backdrop creates a fantastic scene that is equally beautiful in rain or shine.
We hope you will come visit this wondrous landscape during this brief period of time when its beauty is at its peak. （75 minutes by car from the hotel）
There are only 12 castles in Japan whose main keeps remain intact. Standing alongside Himeji Castle, Matsumoto .....more information
You can enjoy the viewing of sakura along the previously introduced Lake Biwa Canal and Omihachiman. Historically, the best time to see them is around early to mid-April in both Lake Biwa Canal and Omihachiman. Lake Biwa Canal will also be lit up between March 31 and April 15, and Mii-dera, within walking vicinity from Lake Biwa Canal will also be lit up at the same time.
1-4 are：Omihachiman（30 minutes by car from the hotel）
5-9 are：Lake Biwa Canal（40 minutes by car from the hotel）
10-13 are：Mii-dera（40 minutes by car from the hotel）
Now is the time to see the rape blossoms of Daiichi Nagisa Park, located about a five minute walk from hotel. The Contrast between the snow-capped Hira Mountains and the rape blossoms is very beautiful. (5 minutes by walk from the hotel)
The Bonsai Exhibition of Ume Trees with Blossoms ("Nagahama Bonbai-ten") is the largest bonsai exhibition of ume trees and also has the longest history in Japan. It is a cherished event reminiscent of the new year. "Bonbai" is the Japanese word for an ume plum tree planted in a pot as a bonsai. The Nagahama Bonsai Exhibition of Ume Trees with Blossoms is held at Keiunkan, a Meiji-era Japanese-style building, and about 90 plants are displayed that are continuously at their peak viewing season, chosen from among 300 potted bonsai. Within the venue you can find a large tree nearly 3m tall, and an old tree that has been standing for 400 years. The fragrance of ume flowers wafts through the air.
The Nagahama Bonsai Exhibition of Ume Trees with Blossoms began in 1952, and this year marks its 67th run. The exhibition is held until March 11th. (70 minutes by car from the hotel)
Biwako Daughters is a place where you can easily get a taste of local food. Their recommendation is "Funazushi" (fermented crucian carp sushi), a renowned specialty of Shiga Prefecture. It does not have a particularly strong smell, and is easy to try even if you are new to the dish. It pairs fantasically with sake or wine. They also stock perfect products for souvenir shopping, like "Urori-ni" (small stewed fish) which goes great in ochazuke, and "ayu-ni" (stewed ayu or sweetfish), which has a slightly bitter taste that you can't get enough of. You can also try unique light snacks like the "unagi sando" (eel sandwich) or the funazushi sandwich. (15 minutes by car from the hotel)
Tokoji Temple is located at the foot of Mt. Hakkase in Higashiomi City. With few visitors, the temple offers an elegant air of quiet and stillness. According to legend the temple was built by Prince Shotoku to enshrine a statue of Yakushi Nyorai, but the details are unknown. It has a unique double-roof hondo structure. Many photography enthusiasts consider the temple a hidden gem for beautiful fall colors. The third photo was taken on the 18th, and the others on the 17th. The best season for enjoying the fall colors is now, until around the end of the month. (70 minutes by car from the hotel)
Hyakusaiji Temple is one of the oldest temples in Oumi, built at the behest of Prince Shotoku during the era of Empress Suiko. It is said to have been modeled after Ryounji Temple in the Korean Kingdom of Baekje. The characters for Hyakusai are the same as Baekje, and this indicates the temple may have been established for foreigners living in Japan. During the Heian period it became a temple of the Tendai sect under control of Enryakuji Temple on Mount Hiei. Throughout the Kamakura to Muromachi periods it was a huge temple with over 1,000 monks, but in the end it was burned down and destroyed by Oda Nobunaga. The current hondo, niomon, sanmon and other structures are reconstructions from the Edo period. The temple is particularly beautiful during the fall foliage season. (60 minutes by car from the hotel)
The Ukiyo-e genre influenced many artists across the world, including Van Gogh and Monet, and is still a renowned art form within and outside of Japan. Sagawa Art Museum is currently showing a collection of works from ten ukiyo-e artists, including Katsushika Hokusai and Utagawa Hiroshige, two masters indispensable in any discussion of the genre. Showcased are valuable first prints, bijinga (portraits of women), landscapes and more, in the diverse styles of ten different artists. Open until November 26. (5 minutes by car from the hotel)
Kyorinbo Temple is believed to have been established by Prince Shotoku in 605. Kyorin means "teaching among trees," which is how Prince Shotoku taught. The grounds have an area of around 6,500 square meters. The temple offers many sights, including the reed-thatched shoin (study) and gardens featuring large mossy boulders, said to be the works of Kobori Enshu. It is known for its beautiful fall colors, which are lit up in the evenings during the period. (40 minutes by car from the hotel)
“THE BIWAKO TERRACE”is a cafe with picturesque views that first became a talking point as a photogenic spot .....more information
About 3000 lights decorate the historical streets of Omihachiman for a festival that will let you get a taste of a unique and nostalgic world. Townhouse tours, concerts and other events are also held during this period. We recommend taking the Himure Hachimangu Shrine cable car for a spectacular view, which the locals call the "Hachiman dollar view"— the 80,000 dollar view. Do drop by while you're taking a stroll in the evening breeze. Holding on October 7th and 8th. (30 minutes by car from the hotel)
In the Jizo River or the Jizo River, which is made up of the famous "Isame no shimizu" or holy water that is written about in the Nihongi - The Chronicles of Japan and other works, you can see the very rare water plant known as the 'baikamo.' The baikamo grow only in clear running water that is around 57°F, and so there are only a limited number of places in the entire country that they can grow. From early summer to early autumn, their white flowers bloom in the water. In addition, the precious freshwater fish, "hariyo" also live in these waters. (72 minutes by car from the hotel)
An exterior that attracts one’s attention and makes one ask, ”What is this building?” It’s in fact Taneya Club’s flagship store, La Collina Omihachiman, expanded to include both the Japanese and Western confectionary shops, Taneya Club and Club Harie. The confectionery ingredients are blessedly natural. To love nature, to learn from nature, and to live together with nature; with this as its concept, the store’s interior is a reproduction of Omi’s landscape of the heart. It includes Japanese and Western confectionery shops, as well as a cafe and bread bakery. What we really want you to try here is the baumkuchen. The fluffiness and taste of baumkuchen upon its completion is something you will never forget once you’ve tried it once. (25 minutes by car from the hotel)
In the Omi Hachiman area, the traditions of riverside life and Omi merchants live on. It is a townscape .....more information
Did you know that you can catch ayu (sweetfish) in Lake Biwa? The ayu which grow in Lake Biwa mature to only about 10 cm in length, and thus are called "ko-ayu" (baby ayu). When offshore net fishing restrictions are lifted in June, fishing boats take advantage of the tendency of ayu to gather at the surface as the water temperature rises - charging into the schools of ayu and scooping them up using large nets which dip into the water. The fishing continues until the end of July. Ayu can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, such as broiling with salt, or as tempura.(40 minutes by car from the hotel)
Hokkaido is not the only place with long, straight roads in Japan. The Metasequoia Namiki spans approximately 2.4km. The road is lined with about 500 metasequoia trees that put on fresh green leaves in spring and red leaves in autumn, and can be enjoyed all year round.(60 minutes by car from the hotel)
In the Himure Village along the road to Himure Hachimangu, Taneya, a traditional Japanese confectionery, and Club Harie, a pastry store, stands facing each other. Each respectively has its teahouse and a cafe. At the teahouse, not only can you taste the famous Tsubura Mochi and sweets, but you can enjoy meals like the Taneya combination set shown in the picture (2,700 yen) which is a must eat set that uses Omi mochi rice to create the rice and red beans. A must try dish at the cafe would be the scone (540 yen). For the sweet lovers, Himure village is the place to go for the famous Baumkuchen or the variety of seasonal Japanese confectionery.(25 minutes by car from the hotel)
From the Biwako Valley terrace, 1100m elevation, come view the open scenery while enjoying a gelato with unique Shiga Prefecture flavors such as Omi wakoucha (Japanese black tea), adoberries, and Kokabu Farm milk. There's also activities such as ziplines to enjoy.(30 minutes by car from the hotel)
The Lake Biwa Canal was created in order to allow the water of Lake Biwa to flow to nearby Kyoto City. The canal is beautiful during the late spring season of fresh green leaves, but it is also picturesque during early spring when the beautiful sakura cherry blossoms are blooming.(40 minutes by car from the hotel)
This is the gateway to Shirahige shrine. The inner gateway is straddling the path and is situated in the middle of Lake Biwa. Although pictures of the gateway situated in the lake are famous; experiencing scenery that cannot be seen without visiting is the best part of traveling.(40 minutes by car from the hotel)
If you enter an old road off of Route 8 on the national highway, you will find a tunnel built with bricks called the Shizukatake Tunnel. The atmosphere of the tunnel is indescribable, history emanates from the very structure itself drawing the interest of those who set their eyes upon it. On the other end of the tunnel once can enjoy the incredible view of Biwako Lake, spreading out as far as the eye can see. (80 minutes by car from the hotel)