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Blessings of Lake Biwa: 5 breathtaking views to enjoy in Takashima City

Blessings of Lake Biwa: 5 breathtaking views to enjoy in Takashima City

Does the name “Takashima” ring any bells? You may be familiar with the popular department store chain “Takashimaya” (高島屋). In fact, Takashimaya has its roots traced to its founder who was born in Takashima District in Omi Province, which is known today as Takashima City!


Also known as “The Hometown of Water” of Shiga Prefecture (滋賀県 Shiga-ken), Takashima City (高島市 Takashima-shi) is located in the northwest part of Lake Biwa (琵琶湖 Biwako), the largest lake in Japan. Takashima City produces one-third of the water that flows into Lake Biwa and is considered a rich natural treasure house surrounded by forests and lakes. 


Takashima City has long prospered as the key junction of transportation connecting old capitals of Kyoto and Nara with the Hokuriku Region, making it an important post town as well as a nice little stopover for those travelling around Lake Biwa. You can experience the beauty of each season in Takashima City through activities such as picking fruits such as apples and grapes, and outdoor activities like SUP and canoeing! 


The best things in life are free, so let’s dive deep into some of the best nature views offered in Takashima City.


Shirahige-jinja: The mysterious, floating torii gate of Lake Biwa

shirahige01.JPG.jpg (154 KB)

(Image credit: Biwako Takashima Tourism Association)


Founded 2,000 years ago, Shirahige Shrine (白鬚神社 Shirahige-jinja) is said to be the oldest shrine in Omi Province (now Shiga Prefecture). Dedicated to Sarutahiko Okami (猿田彦大神,) the Shinto God of longevity, marriage, and academia, many would visit this head shrine to pray for health, relationships, pregnancy, and good luck in general. The shrine’s most distinctive feature is its floating torii gate located in the waters of Lake Biwa. To capture dramatic images of the morning sun rising over the torii gate, the recommended time to visit this shrine is in the early mornings. The torii gate is also illuminated after sunset. 


Shirahige Shrine (白鬚神社)
Address: 215 Ukawa, Takashima-shi, Shiga 520-1122
Nearest station: Omi-Takashima Station (近江高島駅)
Access: 5-minute taxi/car ride from Omi-Takashima Station
Tel: +81-740-36-1555


Avenue of Metasequoias: Spectacular all-year round

(Image credit: Biwako Takashima Tourism Association)


Approximately 500 dawn redwood (metasequoia) trees are planted along a 2.4km stretch, forming a beautiful avenue (メタセコイア並木道 Metasekoia Namikimichi) on the approach road to the Makino Highlands and the Nosaka Mountain Range in the distance. This postcard-perfect spot charms visitors in every season; with fresh greenery in spring (late April to May), deep green in summer (June to October), vibrant autumn leaves in autumn (mid-November to early December), and bare trees blanketed in snow in winter (mid-January to February). 


Avenue of Metasequoias (メタセコイア並木道)
Address: Makinocho Hiruguchi~Makino, Takashima-shi, Shiga 520-1835
Nearest station: Makino Station (マキノ駅)
Access: From Makino Station, take a 25-minute bus ride on the Makino Kogen Line Bus and alight at "Makino Picland" Stop. Alternatively, take a 7-minute taxi ride from the station.
Tel: +81-740-33-7101


Sea of clouds and autumn leaves of Onyu Valley

(Image credit: Biwako Takashima Tourism Association)


Located on the prefectural border between prefectures Shiga and Fukui, the scenery from the Onyu Valley (小入谷 Onyudani) is breathtaking, particularly when the sea of clouds, or unkai (雲海), covers the surrounding mountains from late October. This iconic phenomenon takes place in the wee hours of dawn on days when the weather is favourable. Enjoy both the dramatic hues of red and yellow and this mysterious shrouding phenomenon at Onyu Valley!


Drivers are warned to check road conditions beforehand and to be cautious when travelling along the Koiriya Forest Road.


Onyu Valley (小入谷)
Address: Kutsuki Onyudani, Takashima-shi, Shiga 520-1443
Nearest stations: Adogawa Station (安曇川駅), Higashi-Obama Station (東小浜駅)
Access: The valley can be accessed from both prefectures of Shiga and Fukui. From Shiga’s Adogawa Station, it is a 70-minute ride by car. From Fukui’s Higashi-Obama Station, it is a 40-minute ride by car.
Tel: +81-740-33-7101


The cherry blossoms of Kaizu-Osaki

(Image credit: Biwako Takashima Tourism Association)


The cherry blossoms of Kaizu-Osaki (海津大崎) have been selected as one of the “100 Best Cherry Blossom Viewing Spots in Japan”. About 800 magnificent someiyoshino variety of cherry trees are lined along a 4km stretch of the Biwa Lake shoreline. In recent years, the best time to see the cherry trees is around early April (depending on the weather and other factors), and the area is known as one of the best places in the Kinki region for late-blooming cherry trees. 


(Image credit: Biwako Takashima Tourism Association)


Kaizu-Osaki is also known as one of Lake Biwa's eight scenic spots, with the blue of the lake and Chikubu Island in the distance creating a beautiful contrast that attracts many cherry blossom viewers every year.


Kaizu Osaki (海津大崎)
Address: Makino-cho Kaizu, Takashima-shi, Shiga 520-1811
Nearest station: Makino Station (マキノ駅)
Access: From Makino Station, take a 6-minute ride on the Kunizakai Bus and alight at the "Kaizu-ikku" stop. Then, take a 3-minute walk. Alternatively, take a 1-hour stroll via Sunny Beach/Lake Terrace.
Tel: +81-740-33-7101


Otomegaike Pond

(Image credit: Biwako Takashima Tourism Association)


The area around Otomegaike (乙女ヶ池) was known as "Katori no Umi" during the 7th century Manyo Period and formed an inlet to Lake Biwa at the foot of the mountains. Today, Otomegaike Pond is an 8.6ha lake with an average depth of 1.6m and is home to fish such as crucian carp and black bass. There is a fishing pier on the lake which has attracted many black bass anglers in recent years.


Otomegaike Pond (乙女ヶ池)
Address: 3061-1 Katsuno, Takashima-shi, Shiga 520-1121
Nearest station: Omi-Takashima Station (近江高島駅)
Access: 5-minute walk from Omi-Takashima Station
Tel: +81-740-33-7101


Access to Takashima City

Takashima City can be reached by train from Kyoto in about 50 minutes, and by train from Kansai Airport in about 2 hours. 


Takashima City Fair @ JAPAN RAIL CAFE (1-31 October 2023)

(Image credit: Takashima City & JAPAN RAIL CAFE)


Experience Takashima City in the heart of Singapore! The Takashima City Fair will be held at JAPAN RAIL CAFE for one month from 1 October 2023. Come and have a look at Takashima City’s best products that make use of the city's treasured traditional techniques that will surely entice you to make a trip to Takashima yourself.


This article is written in collaboration with Takashima City. For more information, visit Takashima City's official Instagram & website.


Header image credit: Biwako Takashima Tourism Association


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