Nagahama Hachiman-gu Shrine
Famous for Nagahama Hikiyama Festival, Nagahama Hachiman-gu Shrine has a majestic kagura hall and a Noh theater
(c) Biwako Visitors BureauAt the request of the Emperor of the time, Minamoto Yoshiie (military commander who lived from 1039-1106) built the shrine in 1069 dividing the tutelary deity of the renowned Iwashimizu Hachiman-gu of Kyoto. The building was later lost but reconstructed when Toyotomi Hideyoshi (one of the three great military commanders of Sengoku) became the lord of Nagahama Castle in 1574.
There are a front shrine, a big main shrine and a Noh theater separate from a majestic kagura hall (place where music performance is dedicated to the deity) in the vast grounds. The enshrined deity is believed to protect against evils that could happen to people of certain age (they pray for protection against evils and for security in their life,) and bestow health, longevity and easy delivery.
Many shrines have small auxiliary shrines dedicated to other deities in their grounds for convenience of worshippers. Nagahama Hachiman-gu Shrine also has auxiliary shrines of Kora-jinja, Tsukubusuma-jinja, Tenman-gu, Konpira-gu and other shrines.
The famousNagahama Hikiyama-matsuri Festival, one of the Japan's Three Biggest Float Festivals, is held in April. Some of the huge dashi (floats) have theaters on which children perform kabuki plays. The rarity and fun of the festival attract a lot of spectators.
Address: 13-55 Miyamae-cho, Nagahama City, Shiga
Admission Fee: Free
Directions: Train: 13 minutes by foot from JR Hokuriku Honsen Nagahama Station (50 minutes from Nagoya, or; one hour from Shin-Osaka)
Car: 10 minutes from Nagahama Interchange on the Hokuriku Expressway