37Roof Tile Museum

The allure of Hachiman-gawara and other Japanese roof tiles

Roofs using Hachiman-gawara tiles are an essential element of the distinctive scenic beauty of the traditional Omihachiman townscape. The Roof Tile Museum, built on the remains of a tile factory in a Traditional Buildings Preservation District, exhibits precious tiles and tile-making techniques from the Edo period (1603-1868) and later. The museum buildings themselves contribute to the scenic old townscape around the Hachiman-bori canal.

Shoki roof tile decoration

Point of Interest

Current exhibits include Hachiman-gawara dolls made by artisans during their tile making work, replicas of gold leaf-coated roof tiles used on the castles of Nobunaga Oda and Hideyoshi,Toyotomi and gold leaf-coated tiles excavated from the ruins of Hachiman Castle.

The museum viewed from the Hachiman-bori canal


  • Address: 738-2 Tagacho, Omihachiman, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:00 - 16:30
  • Closed: Monday (except on a public holiday, in which case it will be closed the following day). Exception: Open every day in May, June, October and November.
  • Entrance Fee: ¥300 for adults, ¥200 for elementary and middle school students, ¥50 per person discount for groups of 10 or more
  • Inquiries: Phone 0748-33-8567, Fax 0748-33-8722
  • Parking: Paid parking at the Obata Kanko parking lot and other nearby facilities
  • Access: From the north side of JR Omihachiman Station (Biwako Line), board the bus bound for Chomeiji-Kyukamura to the Osugi-cho Hachimanyama Ropuuei bus stop, and walk for 3 minutes / 30 minutes drive from the Ryuo Interchange (Meishin Expressway) / 10 minutes drive on the Kogan Road to the city center

38Azuchi Castle Archaeological Museum

A place to encounter history and the spirit of Nobunaga

The museum is the core facility of “Omi Fudoki-no-Oka”, a group of historic sites that includes the ruins of Azuchi Castle built by Nobunaga Oda (Special Historic Location), the ruins of the Kannonji Castle, which was the 13th century residence of Sasaki of the Rokkaku clan, the “Dainaka no ko minami” archaeological site, with rice paddy remains from the Yayoi period (300 BC to 250 AD), and the Hyotan-yama Tumulus which is the largest keyhole-shaped imperial grave site in Shiga Prefecture.

The No. 1 Exhibition Room contains relics and objects unearthed in archaeological excavations in Shiga, mainly from the Yayoi and Kofun (250 to 650 AD) periods. The No. 2 Exhibition Room holds historical displays on Nobunaga Oda and other military leaders of the Warring States period (1467-1590) with ties to the Omi region, and their fortresses. The Special Exhibition Room presents a different exhibition each spring, summer, fall and winter, focusing on castles and archaeology.

A set of arms (5th century, Shingai Tumulus)

Point of Interest

Museum shop

The museum shop sells exhibition catalogs as well as books on castles and military leaders in the Warring States period, and books on archaeology. There is also an appealing selection of original museum products.



  • Address: 6678 Azuchicho Shimotoira, Omihachiman, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
  • Closed: Monday (except on a public holiday, in which case it will be closed the following day), Dec. 28 to Jan. 4
  • Entrance Fee: ¥450 for adults, ¥300 for high school and university students, no charge for elementary and middle school students
  • Inquiries: Phone 0748-46-2424, Fax 0748-46-6140
  • Parking: 70 cars, 13 buses
  • Access: 25 minutes walk or 10 minutes ride by rental bicycle from JR Azuchi Station (Biwako Line from Kyoto Station). The Biwako Line reaches Azuchi Station in 23 minutes from JR Maibara Station (Tokaido Shinkansen), and in 49 minutes from Kyoto Station

39Omi Merchant Museum

The Omi merchant village is a comprehensive museum

During the Edo period (1603 to 1868), many Omi merchants from the communities east of Lake Biwa plied the roads of Japan, from Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south, with goods carried on balance poles on their shoulders. Their arduous work eventually established many wealthy merchant families.

The museum uses video programs, models and dioramas to present the Omi merchant tradition from various angles, including the history and attractions of the Omi area and the culture, business practices, family precepts and education of the Omi merchants.

An Omi merchant on the road

Point of Interest

The Gokasho merchant house townscape

The museum fronts on Gokasho, a historic townscape of homes where Omi merchants lived with their families. After viewing the museum, visitors can immerse themselves in the Omi merchant atmosphere by walking around the neighborhood.



  • Address: 583 Gokashotatsutacho, Higashiomi, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:30 - 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
  • Closed: Monday (except on a public holiday, in which case it will be closed the following day), and over the New Year holiday
  • Entrance Fee: ¥200 for adults, ¥100 for elementary or middle school students
  • Inquiries: Phone 0748-48-7101, Fax 0748-48-7147
  • Parking: 100 cars, 5 large vehicles
  • Access: From JR Notogawa Station (Biwako Line, 40 minutes from Kyoto Station or 13 minutes from Maibara Station), board the Omi bus bound for Yokaichi Station to the Puraza Sampo Yoshi-mae bus stop, and walk for 15 minutes

40Kampo Museum

A museum for feeling the culture of calligraphy

The museum presents permanent and special exhibitions of Chinese and Japanese calligraphy works and related materials. The collection of about 25,000 items includes modern and classical Chinese calligraphy tablets, prints, copybooks and writing materials, as well as modern and contemporary Japanese calligraphy education materials and furnishings.

Visitors are able to leisurely examine a wide variety of materials, as if on a trip to China. Saturday calligraphy classes and seal engraving classes are offered. A gallery talk with a mini-concert is presented three times a year, and there is a musical event each winter. Workshops on the making of rubbings from stone engravings and decorative roof-tile caps have been popular in recent years.

Restored exhibits from a Chinese palace (Dan Bo JING Cheng Dian)

Point of Interest


Workshops: When paper is pasted over a roof tile cap or stone engraving, and ink is applied through a padded layer, the characters engraved on the stone are transferred to the paper. Workshop participants experience rubbing, the oldest printing technique. Anyone is welcome to join. Advance registration is necessary.



  • Address: 136 Gokashotatsutacho, Higashiomi, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:30 - 17:00 (entry until 16:00)
  • Closed: Monday (except on a public holiday, in which case it will be closed the following day), and occasional closures for exhibit changes
  • Entrance Fee: ¥500 for adults, ¥300 for high school and university students, no charge for middle school students or younger
  • Inquiries: Phone 0748-48-4141
  • Parking: 80 spaces (no charge)
  • Access: From JR Notogawa Station (Biwako Line), take the bus bound for Yokaichi to the Kondo Tatsutaguchi bus stop, and walk for 15 minutes / 10 minutes walk from Omi Railway Gokasho Station / 10 minutes taxi ride from JR Notogawa Station (Biwako Line) / 16 kilometers drive via National Route 8 from either the Hikone Interchange or the Ryuo Interchange (Meishin Expressway)

41World Kite Museum and Higashiomi Oodako Hall

Exhibiting Japan’s largest kite and kites of Japan and the world

The main attraction is the Hundred Tatami Giant Kite (13 m long and 12 m wide), which was made in the mid-Edo period (18th century). Also shown on the first floor are exhibits about the history and fabrication of giant kites, and miniatures of large kites that were flown in the past. Videos show impressive giant kite flights, and scenes from the kite making process. In the second-floor exhibition room, about 600 kites are on permanent display, including many of the traditional local styles found across Japan, and unique kites from France, Great Britain, China and other countries. This is a colorful way to taste different cultures of the world. Children love the kite making workshops, where they paint their own designs to create original kites (cost: ¥300 per kite).

Hundred Tatami Kite

Point of Interest

Higashiomi Giant Kite Festival, where the Hundred Tatami Kite is flown

The Higashiomi Giant Kite Festival, held each year on the last Sunday in May, features a flight of the Hundred Tatami Giant Kite. It also includes the All Japan Local Kite Contest, and the Higashiomi Giant Kite Miniature Contest, in which contestants compete for the best design and flying technique.



  • Address: 3-5 Yokaichihigashihonmachi, Higashiomi, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
  • Closed: Wednesday, fourth Tuesday of each month, the day after a public holiday, and over the New Year holiday
  • Entrance Fee: ¥300 for adults, ¥150 for elementary and middle school students, ¥50 reduction per person for a group of 20 or more
  • Inquiries: Phone 0748-23-0081, Fax 0748-23-1860, IP 0505-801-1140
  • Parking: 20 cars, 5 buses
  • Access: 1 kilometer walk from Omi Railway Yokaichi Station. Board the Omi Railway at JR Omihachiman Station (Biwako Line from Kyoto Station or Maibara Station). A bus occasionally runs from Yokaichi Station to the Oodako Kaikan-mae bus stop

42Omi Hino Shonin-kan

Introducing the 400-year history of Hino merchants and commerce

Numerous merchants from Hino traveled throughout Japan from the 17th to the early 20th century selling lacquerware bowls, medications and other well-known Hino products, eventually establishing some 1000 branch shops, mainly in the Kanto region around present-day Tokyo, and also operating breweries for sake and soy sauce. Their commercial activities displayed a remarkable spirit of entrepreneurship, creativity and dependability that survives today. Many other merchants from Omi also plied Japan with their wares, but the Hino merchants were the only group with a formal organization, “Outoban Nakama”, which existed as early as the 17th century, consisting of about 400 members, and which established nationwide local, and express delivery systems. Hino merchants worked collaboratively to pioneer new business models, and also completed many philanthropic projects to help individuals and communities in the Hino area.

Salon built as an “otasuke bushin” (community service)

Point of Interest

Domestic wine, found under the floor of a merchant’s storehouse

Among the rarities on display are quantities of imported pharmaceutical minerals (medicine ingredients) of a type found nowhere else in Japan except in the 8th century Shosoin storehouse at the Todai temple, and bottles of the wine sold by Hino merchants which is the oldest wine produced in Japan. Many private companies use the museum as a training site.



  • Address: 1011 Okubo, Hino-cho, Gamou-gun, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:00 - 16:00
  • Closed: Monday (except on a public holiday in which case it will be closed the following day), Friday, and over the New Year holiday (12/29 to 1/4)
  • Entrance Fee: ¥300 for adults including high school and university students (¥50 reduction per person for groups of 30 or more), ¥120 for elementary and middle school students
  • Inquiries: Phone 0748-52-0007, Fax 0748-52-0172
  • Parking: 30 cars, 2 large vehicles
  • Access: From JR Omihachiman Station (Biwako Line from Kyoto Station) or from Omi Railway Hino Station, take the bus bound for Kitahataguchi to the Okubo bus stop, and walk for 3 minutes / 20 minutes drive from the Yokaichi Interchange (Meishin Expressway)

43Shiga Peace Museum

Oral transmission of prayers for peace

The Shiga Peace Museum opened on March 17, 2012 as a center for transmitting people’s experiences of war and cultivating the spirit of desiring peace. With the motto of “Passing on objects and memories”, the museum strives to provide each visitor, through display materials and accounts of personal experiences, with a sense of the thoughts and prayers of those who experienced war at first hand.

Basic exhibition

Point of Interest

Educational activity

To forge new connections and create opportunities for action, the museum mounts special exhibitions on themes of war and peace, sends guest speakers into schools, conducts study programs at the museum and elsewhere, and coordinates volunteer activities.



  • Address: 431 Shimonakanocho, Higashiomi, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:30 - 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
  • Closed: Monday and Tuesday (except on a public holiday), over the New Year holiday (Dec. 28 to Jan. 4), and occasional closures due to activity requirements
  • Entrance Fee: No charge
  • Inquiries: Phone 0749-46-0300, Fax 0749-46-0350
  • Parking: 60 spaces
  • Access: From JR Hikone Station or Omihachiman Station (Biwako Line), board the Omi Railway to Yokaichi Station, then board a bus for 20 minutes to the Aito Shisho-shinryosho-mae bus stop / 10 minutes drive from the Yokaichi Interchange (Meishin Expressway)

44Hitomi Museum of Art

Featuring the world’s largest collection of Bernard Leach pottery

The museum was founded on the private collection of Reizo Zushi and his wife Sugako Zushi, founders of the Osaka apparel maker Hitomi Co., Ltd. It maintains and displays an extensive collection of pottery by Bernard Leach, Shoji Hamada and other leaders of the mingei folk art movement. The largest of the three exhibition rooms holds the permanent display of the Leach collection. In the smaller rooms, prints by Miro and Hiroshige and other works from the collection by leading artists are displayed in exhibitions that change every six months. There are also exhibits several times each year of works by local artists, and regular gallery talks and special events.

Large platter, galena glaze with “lion” design in slip decoration

Point of Interest

Wines are left in contact with their lees to increase complexity and good flavor

“The beauty of utility” in handmade items is the concept that guided the mingei folk-art movement. That ideal is applied to winemaking at the winery attached to the museum. The full selection of unfiltered, hand-bottled wines is available for tasting at no charge.



  • Address: 2083 Yamakamicho, Higashiomi, Shiga
  • Hours: 10:00 - 18:00 (last admission 17:00)
  • Closed: Over the New Year holiday
  • Entrance Fee: ¥500 (no charge for elementary or middle school students accompanied by an adult)
  • Inquiries: Phone 0748-27-1707, Fax 0748-27-1950
  • Parking: 15 cars, 2 buses
  • Access: Take the Omi Railway from JR Omihachiman Station (Biwako Line) to Yokaichi Station. Take a taxi to the museum, or take the Omi Bus bound for Eigenji Shako to the Yamakamiguchi bus stop and walk for 1 minute

45Wood-turning Craft Museum

Headquarters for the centuries-old tradition of wood turning artisanship

The small village known as Oguradani on the upper reaches of the Echi River has long been renowned throughout Japan as a center of wood turning. Traditionally, many wood turners (kijiya) who used lathes to fashion bowls, trays and other objects would seek out remote locations to do their work, and move on when the supply of good wood was exhausted.

Opened in 1981, the museum preserves rare records, including the Ujikogari-cho national directory of wood turners, and displays old woodworking tools and documents, such as professional licenses.

Rokuro (Wood-turning craft machine)
Wood turner’s license (goinkan)

Point of Interest


Oguradani is a shrine for woodworking artisans throughout Japan. The museum displays many kokeshi (Japanese dolls of wood) contributed by artisans from famous woodworking communities in Gifu, Nagano, Miyagi, Aizuwakamatsu and other regions, as well as bowls and other turned products.



  • Address: 178 Hirutanicho, Higashiomi, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:00 - 16:00, by appointment only
  • Closed: Dec. 1 to Mar. 31
  • Entrance Fee: ¥300, no charge for children below middle school age
  • Inquiries: Phone/Fax 0748-29-0430, cellphone 090-6913-6317“Ogura Masami”
  • Parking: 10 spaces
  • Access: Take the Omi Railway from JR Omihachiman Station (Biwako Line) to Yokaichi Station and take a taxi to the museum, or drive via National Route 421 from the Yokaichi Interchange (Meishin Expressway)

71Omi Hino Merchant Museum (Former Yamanaka Residence)

Experience the Lifestyle and History of Hino Merchants

Opened on April 1, 2015, the Omi Hino Merchant Museum preserves the former principal residence of the Yamanaka Shokichi family, who operated a sake brewery in Fujinomiya, Shizuoka. The Museum maintains materials on the history and culture of the Hino area, provides visitors with authentic historical experiences, and serves as a center for information on the merchant culture of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Several buildings in the extensive residential compound were designated as cultural properties by the municipality of Hino on March 31, 2015. Among them, the main house, zashiki (reception parlor) building, Western-style parlor building, newer zashiki building, and bathhouse are open to visitors. The main house was built about 1850 on land bestowed by the Ishihashi family, lords of the Nishoji domain, in the local farmhouse style. The older zashiki building is constructed in a plain style, though with some elaborate touches such as decorative nail head coverings. The new zashiki building, built in 1926 and facing on a large garden, is in the traditional sukiya-shoin style, yet it includes a fully Western-style room as well as an attached bathhouse with a shower and stained glass window, offering glimpses of the family’s taste and refinement.

Western-style parlor

Point of Interest

the new zashiki building

Garden viewing from the new zashiki building, to enjoy seasonal beauties including autumn colors, blooming camellias, and snow-covered scenery.



  • Address: 1264 Nishioji, Hinocho, Gamogun
  • Hours: 9:00 - 16:00,
  • Closed: Monday, Tuesday, the day after a public holiday, and December 29 to January 4
  • Entrance Fee: ¥300 for adults, ¥120 for elementary or middle school students
  • Inquiries: Phone 0748-52-0008, Fax 0748-52-3850
  • Parking:50 spaces, large vehicle parking available
  • Access: From JR Omihachiman Station or Kintetsu Hino Station, board the bus bound for Kitahataguchi to the Mukaimachi stop, and walk for 2 minutes
  • Access: 25-minute drive from the Meishin Expressway Yokaichi Interchange