Plenty of places to see besides Lake Biwa! An introduction to the staple sightseeing spots of Shiga Prefecture

Lake Biwa, one of the biggest lakes in Japan, is one of Shiga Prefecture’s most famous sightseeing spots. There are, however, plenty of other must-see sightseeing spots as well, and here we’d like to introduce a range of things that make Shiga great - a place full of historical wonder.

Enryaku-ji, Mt. Hiei

Enryaku-ji, Mt. Hiei
Enryaku-ji is a historical structure well-known throughout Japan, and is also registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within a 1,700 hectare mountain area there are three main areas - the East Pagoda, West Pagoda, and Yokokawa - each having their own main hall.

The garden inside Enryaku-ji
The Yokokawa area is quite far away, so for casual sightseeing we recommend the East and West Pagodas.

A temple within Enryaku-ji
At Enryaku-ji, you can come face-to-face with its 1,200 year-old history and traditions. Be sure to visit if you’d like to get a taste of the historical atmosphere that Japan prides itself on.

Address: 4220 Sakamoto Honmachi, Otsu, Shiga Prefecture
Opening Hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm (closes early at 3:30pm in December )

Hikone Castle

Hikone Castle’s exterior
Hikone Castle is another one of Shiga Prefecture’s famous sightseeing spots. It had a sudden rise to fame thanks to the popular local mascot Hikonyan.

Spring at Hikone Castle
The inside of the castle is spacious, with plenty of famous sightseeing spots! It’s sure to be a hit with those that love history.

Beautiful gardens at Hikone Castle
Just taking a stroll in Hikone’s beautiful gardens is very pleasant. You can go on a rickshaw sightseeing ride around the castle grounds, or do some elegant sightseeing from a roofed boat - there are lots of ways to see the area.

Address: 1-1 Konkicho, Hikone-shi, Shiga Prefecture
Opening Hours: 8:30am - 5:00pm

Kurokabe Square

Kurokabe Square’s townscape
Kurokabe Square features rows of retro Japanese architecture, with construction dating back over 100 years. It’s a city famous for glass crafts, and there are a host of shops and other establishments such as glass workshops, museums, galleries, restaurants, cafes, and more.

Stores around Kurokabe Square
Kurokabe Square stands out as a place that treasures its old-fashioned looks, while maintaining a modern atmosphere. It’s been a popular sightseeing spot for over 300 years.

Address: 12-38 Motohama-cho, Nagahama-shi, Shiga Prefecture
Opening Hours: 10:00am - 5:00pm

Shirahige Shrine

Shirahige Shrine
Out of the Shirahige Shrines located throughout Japan, this one in Shiga Prefecture functions as the head shrine. This is where the main hall is located. The shrine holds many special events throughout the year, and is also loved by the locals as a place to rest.

Shirahige Shrine’s torii in the lake at sunset
Shirahirge Shrine’s torii floating on Lake Biwa is a perfect spot for a photo. The shrine itself provides a wide range of different scenery depending on the time you visit.

Address: 215 Ukawa, Takashima-shi, Shiga Prefecture
Opening Hours: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Michigan Cruise

Michigan Cruise
Climb aboard the sightseeing ship “Michigan” and take a relaxing cruise around Lake Biwa’s southern area in this fun sightseeing activity. There are an abundance of course options, and there’s plenty of entertainment on hand such as course meals and musical performances.

Nighttime scenery on the Michigan Cruise
Cruising around Lake Biwa at night is just one of the many ways you can enjoy the beauty of the area at night.

Address: 5-1-1 Hamaotsu, Otsu-shi, Shiga Prefecture
Reception Hours: 9:00am - 5:00pm


Ukimido was built on top of Lake Biwa during the Heian Period, and was built as a place to offer prayer for safety and enlightenment. It’s a very small temple, but a popular tourist spot where many tourists visit.

Sunset at Ukimido
Viewing the evening scenery will bring you tranquility. As it’s located along the lake shore road, it has great ease of access. Recommended for those who leisurely want to enjoy a quiet scenic location.

Address: 1-16-18 Honkatata, Otsu-shi, Shiga Prefecture Operating Hours: 8:00am to 5:00pm

Koka Ninja Village

Koka Ninja Village
Koka Village is famous as the birthplace of the ninja. This ninja stronghold, which gained fame as a hidden village, features many hands-on facilities, such as the ninjutsu museum, the house of tricks, and the shuriken dojo.

Inside the Koka Village Grounds
There are 9 “ninja dojo” in total that can be visited as training grounds - all popular with children. If you manage to clear all of them, you’ll get a scroll.

Koka Ninja Village’s House of Tricks
You can find plenty of ninja goods at the shops. There are plenty of souvenirs here that you can’t get anywhere else, such as ninja rice crackers, shuriken, and ninja outfits.

Address: 394 Kokacho Oki, Koka-shi, Shiga Prefecture
Opening Hours: 10:00am - 4:00pm
Weekly Holiday: Monday

A superb line-up of fantastic sightseeing spots

That about wraps it up the sightseeing spots introduced here are just a fraction of what’s out there!
There are still plenty of charms to be found within Shiga Prefecture. When you visit, be sure to find new wonders through your own exploration.

Pricing information and schedule may not be up to date and are subject to change without notice. Please check before your trip.

Related ski resorts

Biwako Valley Shiga Prefecture

Dec. 24th to Mar. 21st
Longest run distance1,600 m
Maximum gradient30 °
Longest run1,600 m
Maximum30 °

Adult 2 people1 night

AUD 594.80〜 (JPY 58,200〜)