Nagahama and Maibara of Shiga Prefecture are conveniently located in terms of public transportation, and by Shinkansen it takes only 30 minutes from Osaka and Nagoya and 20 minutes from Kyoto. Nagahama and Maibara are located on the shore of Lake Biwa, which is the largest lake in Japan and the third-oldest lake in the world. The two cities are proud of their noble natural landscapes and old-town scenery remaining from the time of samurai warriors.
In spring, visitors can enjoy cherry blossoms in Nagahama Castle, which has been selected as one of Japan’s top 100 cherry blossom areas, as well as the traditional “Nagahama Hikiyama Festival”, which is registered as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO. The highlight of the festival are the Hikiyama (parade floats), which are often called “moving museum” filled with Japanese traditional technologies, and the Kodomo (Children’s) Kabuki performed only by boys between the ages of 5 and 12.
In summer, flitting fireflies and fireworks light up the summer night sky, and water crowfoot blooming in the fresh water makes people feel cool. Cruising on Lake Biwa is also very popular, and fresh dishes made with fish caught in the lake are superb.
In autumn, Keisoku-ji Temple, Seiryu-ji Tokugen-in Temple and Omi Kohoan Temple, three major viewing spots for autumnal leaves in Japan, show the many foreigners who visit there what “Japanese Beauty” is, and the Buddha statue “Kannon” gently welcomes tourists with “Japanese heart”.
In winter, this area is covered with beautiful white snow, and people can enjoy skiing or snowboarding. We recommend that you stay a long time, warming your body by relaxing in a hot spring and dining on hot-pot meals. The Nagahama Bonsai Plum Trees Exhibition, the largest bonsai exhibition in Japan, is a very popular event that is held from January to March every year. The event hall is a traditional Japanese-style house whose dynamic garden is kept up by famous gardeners from Kyoto.