Shops and Streets: Hidden Gems of Shiga

Shops and Streets: Hidden Gems of Shiga

Shiga is a prefecture in Japan that is rich with their art, agriculture and fisheries. The infamous enormous Japan’s freshwater Lake Biwa on of the oldest lakes in the world. Many more little great things lie ahead and have so many hidden gems can be found within this prefecture beaten off the path from street markets and little shops.

Town of Cat @Okishima Island

Okishima island is located in the offing of Lake Biwa approximately 1.5km from Omi-Hachiman City. It was onced known as the home to the descendants of exiled samurai and only 400 people lives in this island are known to be descendents of the samurais who fled for safety in the 12th century.

You can find cats napping and chilling nearly everywhere on this Island. Since the island is very well known for its fishery, the cats are in heaven to have fishes for meals almost all the time.

To get there, the closest train station is Omihachiman and then ride the bus that takes 30-minute to Horikiri New Port. Small ferries depart from Horikiri to Okishima Island.

Farmer’s Market Ohminchi

Ohminchi is one of the largest locally farm produce markets in Shiga. Filled with fresh, safe and assured produce on sale for everyone to enjoy. A buffet offers a wide range of delicious cuisine made by local residents using fresh local vegetables. Enjoy a healthy meal centered in carefully selected vegetable dishes. There is a restaurant that uses fresh vegetables harvested on the same morning. From gelato, cakes and other confections all made with seasonal fruit and vegetables are sold here.

Location: 785 Sumoto-cho, Moriyama-shi, Shiga Prefecture

JA Green Omi Kitekana

Get a lot of fresh vegetables and fishes from Shiga. There is also a tasting corner, you get to taste before you buy their local catch and harvest such as vegetables, abalone and shrimp beans. You can also shop for flower planted by the farmers here and the infamous trout from Shiga and bring home as souvenirs. There are seasonal events holds activities such as cooking classes with the crops produced by the locals.

Location: 872 Tagacho, Omihachiman 523-0821, Shiga

Ayuya Fish Market

Ayuya no Sato meaning Ayuya fish market, is a gourmet resort located on the shore of Lake Biwa in Yoshikawa, Yasu City, Shiga Prefecture.
Stop by for food and souvenir shopping as you travel around Lake Biwa. Try out homemade boiled fish using seafood on te second floor of the plaza caught in Lake Biwa and enjoy the good fresh catch as you dine.

Enjoy a bounty of freshwater cuisine, including ayu (“sweetfish”) that has inspired the name of this market in the summer, caught in the lake it self while enjoying Shiga’s picturesque mountains and lakeside scenery.

Location: 4187 Yoshikawa, Yasu 524-0292, Shiga Prefecture

Nagahama Art Fair

Nagahama is rich with art. If you are passing by Shiga on the first weekend of October, you cannot miss Art In Nagahama art fair held in Nagahama located on the northeastern shore of Lake Biwa.

Various arts, paintings, sculptures and potteries made by the locals here. Each artist has created their own pieces uniquely that will amaze you with the creativity.

Cool things about the fair are that you can also watch street artist working on their art right in front of your eyes. There was a slightly open space to the side of one of the streets where several larger-than-life murals were being painted throughout the day.

Location: 286-1 Kamiteru-cho, Nagahama City, Shiga

Shigaraki Pottery Village

Shigaraki is very famous and has a very deep history of pottery. You know when you’ve reached this village when you past the hundreds of tanuki raccoon dog figures. Here you get the had the opportunity to learn how to make, conserve, and distribute the ceramics. Get your hands dirty and sculpt your own Tanuki and being it home as a souvenir. There is Shigaraki Ceramic Cultural Park surrounded and paddy field with lushful mountains around the area.

Location: 1131 Nagano, Koka 529-1851, Shiga Prefecture


If you want to bring home a well made Tanuki, get to Tanuki-mura. The store is almost like a theme park filled with variety and styles of sculpture from auspicious creatures of Japanese folklore, frogs, owls, kappas, dogs, wolves, ninjas, samurais, lucky gods other many more other than Tanuki.
Tanuki can be found anywhere in Japan but this is the best place where you can grab the ones you actually like and high chances of what you’re looking for in one spot.

Location: 1293-2 Shigaraki-cho Maki, Koka 529-1803, Shiga Prefecture

Michi-no-Eki Aguri no Sato Ritto

This place is not very much a tourist destination as it is a Roadside Station. Although it is full of local products, mainly agricultural and handmade products. If you’re looking for souvenir and gifts, this is a perfect place to stop by if you’re passing by Ritto.
Several local rice varieties, local seasonings, teas and handmade products that come in various size and packaging even trial sizes so that you can bring onboard on the plane. The warmth of the local people will surely make you feel very welcome. Try some black bread with Bincho charcoal and freshly made tofu.

Location: 961-1 Deba, Ritto 520-3041, Shiga Prefecture

Kawara Museum

The Kawara Museum is a museum all about hachiman-kawara tiles and the history of Hachiman, devoted to Japanese-style roof tiles. In Japan, traditional roof tiles have always been highly decorative with many types of functional tile.

The museum consists of ten buildings with roof tiles which form a whole pavilion. The new tiles on the roof of the museum were altered to look more aged to make them fit in better with the other buildings in the neighbourhood.

Reservations are required for tile making experience. It cost only 300 yen for an adult to enjoy the museum.

738-2 Tagacho, Omihachiman, Shiga 523-0821, Japan

Kaiyodo Figurine Museum

Kaiyodo Museum is located in a preserved district of Nagahama showcasing figures even on a 1-to-1 scale and life-sized. The museum is small but packed with interesting figurines that are very well done and detailed. Other than figurines there are many dioramas and all kinds of miniatures on display is a feast for action figures lover. You can also experience making your own original figure on weekends and holidays.

Location: 13−31 Motohamacho, Nagahama City, Shiga

Borderless Art Museum NO-MA

A vacant 80 year-old traditional town house, in the preserved historical buildings area of Omi-Hachiman city, it was chosen to ashowcases arts and work made by disabled artist Shiga Prefecture has a long-standing history of fostering the creativity of persons with disabilities.

It was just after the Second World War where clay-based art activities started at the local Omi Gakuen School. This was led by notable figures, such as Mr. Kazuo Itoga, Mr. Ichiji Tamura, and Mr. Taro Ikeda. They are known as the founding fathers of welfare for the disabled in Japan. You will be surprised to see world class art in from of painting, sculptures and even art installation.

The musuem closes on Monday unless Monday is a public holiday, the museum will be open and closed the following day.

Location: 16 Nagahara-cho Kami, Omi-Hachiman-shi, Shiga

Kurokabe Glass Museum

You can’t miss the infamous Kurokabe Square in the town Nagahama of Shiga but you defnitely have to check out how glasses are made infront of your eyes in Korokabe Glass shop

Erected in 1900, this former bank has been transformed into a magnificent glass shop that you can see and even try to make some glass accesories yourself.

Nagahama Hikiyama Museum

The Hikiyama Museum is designed to be an introduction to the Nagahama Hikiyama Festival that opens in 2000 in promoting the importance of protecting festival traditions.

If you’re not around from April 9th to 17th to watch the magnificent floating Hikiyama Festival where Kabuki’s perfrom on the floating stage, here is were you get to see the miniature of tradition and culture of this festive. It is easiy accesible een for the handicapped.

There are also an exhibition of stage dummies and a children Kabuki show that is a must see! The entry fee is only 600 yen and it is free for disabled guests and the aide.

Location: 14-8 Motohamacho, Nagahama, Shiga, Japan


The delicious smell of fish can be smelled as you pass by outside the traditional wooden restaurant. With 200 years experience of Somen noodle making, try out the Yaki Saba Somen (fried mackerel noodle). The mackerel is boiled for 2 days before it was fried.

You’ll get the authentic Japanese dining experience, sitting on tatami mats while enjoying the food there. It is also a festive dish served to visitors in the region’s traditional Nagahama Hikiyama Festival.

Location: 7-8 Motohamacho, Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture


Yuzanso is a traditional japanese retreat complete for your rest and to fill up your stomach. Enjoy freshly picked organic meals in Halal Japanese-style prepares specially for Muslim visitors while enjoying a beautiful landscape of Lake Biwa. The food prepared are halal certified so visitors can indulge authentic japanese kaiseki style dinner without a doubt.

Their room ranges from economy to premium, both offer a spectacular view over Lake Biwa. The premium rooms, however, includes in open-air bath so you can sink in to relax while enjoying the wonderful panoramic view. There is also a public bath in the establishment for both men and women if you wish to take the economy room yet want to take a dip in the hot water.

Location: 1 Chome-9-28 Ogoto, Otsu, Shiga

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