Boating excursions in the lakeside district. A castle town on the eastern shore of Lake Biwa-ko with a nostalgic atmosphere.
Omihachiman, that sits at the foot of Mt. Hachiman-yama in the center of Shiga, is a castle town of Hachiman-yama-jo. The castle was built in 1585 on the eastern shore Japan's largest lake, Lake Biwa. It is also known as a base town for Omi-shonin, or Omi merchants. The quaint streets with lattice windows, the pine trees stretching out from the gardens of private residence, 'udatsu' (roof of unusual shape) and the Hachiman-bori area that was the hub of ship transport all are listed and preserved as a national important preservation district for the group of historic buildings.
Until the mid 19th century, the town of Omihachiman was divided by Hachiman-bori, north of which was a residential area for the warriors and south was for the townsfolk. The area for the townsfolk was further divided into the merchants' and craftsmen's areas. The current Shin-machi-dori Street marks the former merchants' area; preserved there, and open to the public, is the former residence of a wealthy merchant family, the Nishikawas. Local Artifacts Museum was built in the grounds of the former residence of an Omi merchant who traveled abroad, Nishimura Taroemon. Next to it is the History and Folklore Museum that shows us the lives of the merchants. Along the Hachiman-bori are white-walled storehouses and old houses like Haku-un-kan, a building where western architecture and Japanese tradition are well-matched; also here is the Kawara Museum (tile museum) that displays tiles from all parts of Japan.
In the Lake Nishinoko area, from Omihachiman to Azuchi, is Japan's largest waterfront area, regarded as one of the eight most beautiful spots of Lake Biwa and as "a water district of Azuchi Hachiman in spring colors." There you can enjoy cruising by houseboat through reed beds in a maze of waterways, while listening to the songs of waterbirds and watching seasonal views. Today, it is designated as the first Important Cultural Landscape in Japan, because of the importance of its ecosystem, where reeds have a water purification effect.
From Tokyo :
[Rail] 2h 20 min to Maibara Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and 22 min from Maibara to Omihachiman Station by JR Tokaido Line.
From Osaka :
[Rail] 1h 4 min from Osaka to Omihachiman Station by JR Tokaido Line.