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Shiga Prefecture

Lake Biwa in Shiga ~Go on excursion of the lake district~

For six months after October, “The culture of water” campaign will take place in Shiga, especially around lake Biwa.
Before the campaign starts, I decided to visit the eastern and northern sides of lake Biwa. The themes of my excursions are “water and life”, “water and prayer”, and “water and food”.
I walked around, talk to locals, and ate local cuisine to re-discover the charm of this beautiful area and “The culture of water”.

Tennei-ji (Gohyakurakan)

Founded in 1811, Tennei-ji is a temple of the Soto school of Zen Buddhism, built atop a hill that overlooks the nearby town.
It is said that Ii Naonaka, lord of the Hikone clan, had a female servant named Wakatake executed for falling pregnant with an illegitimate child while working in a male-barred place. However, upon later learning that he was the father, he built Tennei-ji to memorialize Wakatake and his son.

Katsube Shrine – Katsube’s Fire Festival

This fire festival has a history of around 800 years. It is held to pray for good health and avoidance of illness.
The Katsube Fire Festival has been designated as an Intangible Folk Cultural Property of Shiga Prefecture.
During the festival, young men dressed in loincloths set fire simultaneously to 12 large torches. The torches are shaped to look like snakes, and each is 5 meters long, has a diameter of 4 meters, and weighs around 400 kilograms.
The flames from the torches reach over 10 meters in height, making for an amazing spectacle.