46Echigawa Bintemari Handicraft Museum

The mystery and beauty of Echigawa bottle-crafted temari balls

Inside a glass flask is a decorative thread ball (temari) that is somehow larger than the flask opening.

The museum exhibits these bottle-crafted temari along with panels and videos explaining their history and fabrication process. There are also displays on the various handicrafts involved in making the bottled balls, and on the history and culture of the area.

There are special exhibitions on fine handiwork and books, and exhibits of arts and crafts. Workshops are also held. The museum is affiliated with the park and library.

Echigawa bottled temari balls

Point of Interest

Class for experiencing community traditions

The “Community Tradition Experience” class, held mainly at the museum, uses bottle-crafted temari production as the means for learning about the various handiwork traditions of Aisho and the local history and culture. For information, contact the Echigawa Tourism Council, phone 0749-42-7683.



  • Address: 1673 Ichi, Aisho-cho, Echi-gun, Shiga
  • Hours: 10:00 - 18:00
  • Closed: Monday, Tuesday, public holidays, the last Wednesday of the month, and over the New Year Holiday
  • Entrance Fee: No charge
  • Inquiries: Phone 0749-42-4114, Fax 0749-42-8484
  • Parking: 120 spaces
  • Access: 7 minutes walk, or short ride on a rental bicycle (Bicycles can be rented at Omi Railway Echigawa Station) , from Omi Railway Echigawa Station. From Maibara Station, board the Omi Railway to Echigawa Station. From Kyoto Station, board the JR Biwako Line to Notogawa Station, and board the Kokoku Bus bound for Ichigahara to the Echigawa Station bus stop

47Yutaka Merchant History and Folk Museum

An exciting visit to the home of tycoons who developed Hokkaido

Starting in 1781 with the establishment of the Mataju shop and brand name in Matsumae, Ezo (present-day Hokkaido), the Fujino family of Omi merchants grew very wealthy by exploiting fisheries and operating cargo ships, and flourished for four generations. During the Tenpo famine of the 1830s, the second generation of the merchant firm, Shirobe’e Fujino, built the Matsumae Garden and residence and Senju temple as a service to the public.

This museum was opened in July 1968, to commemorate the centennial of the Meiji Restoration, through the efforts of the late Taichi Natsuhara and many others. It is located in the former Fujino residence and office that was the origin of the Hoshi canned food brand (predecessor of the Akebono canned food brand) and was marked by a prominent “Mataju Estate” signboard along the Nakasendo Highway. The museum displays more than a thousand art and craft works from the former Fujino residence and the local area.

Matsumae Garden, one of the 100 finest gardens in the Lake Biwa area

Point of Interest

Japan’s first canned salmon label

The Matsumae Garden was built as a service to the public during the Tenpo Famine of the 1830s, and named after the Hokkaido town where the Fujino family began its commercial empire. Designed by Donketsu Katsumoto, the garden retains its original form and today is counted among the 100 finest gardens in the Lake Biwa area.



  • Address: 56 Shimoeda, Toyosato-cho, Inukami-gun, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:00 - 16:00
  • Closed: Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and over the New Year holiday.
  • Entrance Fee: ¥200 for adults, ¥100 for children
  • Inquiries: Phone 0749-35-3737
  • Parking: 8 cars, 1 medium-sized bus
  • Access: 15 minutes walk from Toyosato Station (Ohmi Railway Main Line) / 10 minutes taxi ride from JR Inae Station (Biwako Line) / 15 minutes drive from the Kotosanzan Smart Interchange (Meishin Expressway)

48Kongoen Handweaving Center

Observation and training facility for weaving of Omi jofu (ramie) and Hatasho tsumugi (pongee)

Aisho Town has long flourished as a production center for Omi jofu. From 1889, the Kawaguchi Orimono Co. (Then the Uzo shoten Co.) founded by Uzo Kawaguchi produced “Kibira” fabric (by handmade hemp yarn), and kasuri (splashed patterns), in both white, and blue. After the Second World War, breeding of wild and domesticated silkworms started, enabling the production of Hatasho kasuri pongee, which continues today. In 1978, in order to pass on traditional craft techniques and their history to future generations, Uzo Kawaguchi II established a recreation building, weaving museum, folk history museum (Kongoen) and dyeing studio on the factory property. All of the facilities were opened to the public as “Teori no Sato” (Handweaving Center) Kongoen. The studio offers workshops on weaving and on indigo tie-dyeing using “Japan blue” (sho-ai).

Weaving of Omi jofu

Point of Interest

Vat for natural fermentation of indigo dye

“Teori no Sato” Kongoen Handweaving Center is an experiential museum operated by producers of Omi jofu (designated as a national Traditional Craft) and Hatasho pongee (designated as a prefectural Traditional Craft). The weaving workshops and indigo musubi-some dyeing workshops are very memorable experiences.



  • Address: 514 Kanotono, Aisho-cho, Echi-gun, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:00 - 17:00
  • Closed: Every Monday from April to November, every Monday and Sunday from December to March, and over the New Year holiday
  • Entrance Fee: ¥320 for adults (¥270 per person for a group of 25 or more), ¥170 for elementary and middle school students
  • Inquiries: Phone/Fax 0749-37-4131
  • Parking: 80 cars, 30 buses
  • Access: 15 minutes by taxi from Omi Railway Echigawa Station / For an ETC-equipped vehicle, 5 minutes drive from the Koto-sanzan Smart Interchange (Meishin Expressway) / For a non-ETC-equipped vehicle, 20 minutes drive from the Hikone Interchange, or 15 minutes drive from the Yokaichi Interchange (Meishin Expressway)

49Aisho-cho Historical Museum

Presenting the Buddhist art, festival regalia, and archaeological relics of Aisho-cho

Aisho-cho Historical Museum displays a replica of the seated Kannon statue originally located at Kongorin Temple, and the Kongorin temple bell (1303, a Prefectural Cultural Property). There are also art and craft works designated as Municipal Cultural Properties, including a byochin egoro incense pan from the Heian period (9th to 12th centuries) and a pair of wooden guardian lions from the Muromachi period (14th to 16th centuries), as well as archaeological relics and a hikiyama festival float. There is an exhibit about Echihatauji, a member of the Hata clan who developed the Echi area during the 6th and 7th centuries, and a display of cultural relics unearthed from archaeological sites in the area. Special exhibitions are held each spring, summer and autumn, and public lectures are presented. Near the museum, in addition to Kongorin Temple are the “Teori-no-sato Kongoen” weaving center, the Echihatauji Tomb Mound Park, the Mekata Castle Ruins Park, and the Nishizawa Shinzo Museum.

Seated Kannon statue, formerly at Kongorin temple (replica)

Point of Interest

Spring Noh Performance by children

To more deeply acquaint visitors with the traditions of Japan, each year during Golden Week (early-May holiday season in Japan) the Noh stage in the Historical Museum is the venue for the Spring Noh Performance by children at the end of a year of training, and the Green Concert by the Echi High School Band.



  • Address: 878 Matsuoji, Aisho-cho, Echi-gun, Shiga
  • Hours: 10:00 - 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
  • Closed: Monday and Tuesday (excluding public holidays), the day after a public holiday (except Saturday or Sunday), and over the New Year holiday. Exception: Open every day in November.
  • Entrance Fee: ¥300 for adults, ¥150 for elementary or middle school students (¥50 per person discount for groups of 20 or more)
  • Inquiries: Phone 0749-37-4500, Fax 0749-37-4520
  • Parking: 300 spaces at Kongorin temple
  • Access: From Inae Station (JR Biwako Line), Echigawa Station (Ohmi Railway Main Line), or Toyosato Station (Ohmi Railway Main Line), take an Ainori Aisho Group Taxi to the Kongorin temple taxi stop, and walk 1 minute to the museum. Taxi seats must be reserved in advance (phone 0749-22-0106) / 1 minute drive from the Kotosanzan Smart Interchange (Meishin Expressway)

50Dynic Astronomical Observatory “TENKYUKAN”

Explore space and the stars with powerful telescopes

The “Tenkyukan” is a public observatory located atop a hill in Taga. During the daytime hours each Saturday, the telescopes are set to observe sunspots and solar prominences. On Saturday evenings a 60 cm reflecting telescope (the largest telescope in Shiga Prefecture) and several other telescopes are available for viewing such phenomena as craters on the Moon, the rings of Saturn, and constellations, nebulae and star clusters as they appear during each season.

60 cm reflecting telescope

Point of Interest

Stargazing party

At the stargazing party each Saturday evening, everyone has the chance to observe the heavens through the largest telescope in Shiga Prefecture, a 60 cm reflecting telescope. The close-up views of craters on the Moon and the rings of Saturn are so powerful that people often gasp in amazement.



  • Address: 283-1 Taga, Taga-cho, Inukami-gun, Shiga
  • Hours: Saturday only, 11:00-17:00 and 19:30-21:30
  • Closed: Sunday through Friday, and over the New Year holiday (12/28 to 1/ 4)
  • Entrance Fee: For the stargazing party at 19:30- 21:30, ¥200 for high school students and older, ¥100 for elementary and middle school students
  • Inquiries: Phone 0749-48-1820, Fax 0749-48-1961
  • Parking: 50 spaces
  • Access: 25 minutes bus ride from JR Hikone Station (Biwako Line from Maibara or Kyoto) / 10 minutes drive from the Hikone Interchange (Meishin Expressway)

51Taga Town Museum

Stegodon skeleton and the natural and cultural features of Taga

The Taga Town Museum is a comprehensive museum of the natural features and history of the Taga area. Packed with information about all aspects of the township, the museum exhibits dioramas of local natural settings, specimens of animals and plants, displays about the Kawachi no kaza-ana Cave, which is the largest cave in the Kansai region, replicas of Wooden sitting statue of Amitabha made in the same fashion as the originals, and the 1.8 million-years-old skeleton of the ancient proboscidea Stegodon aurorae, which was found in Taga.

A special feature of the museum is its numerous stuffed animals and other natural specimens that can be touched by visitors.

Wild animals of Taga

Point of Interest

Skeleton of Stegodon aurorae

The Taga Town Museum holds guided nature walks, lectures and other events at various times. A popular event is the fossil search, where visitors join in excavating a clay block from the same stratum that held the Stegodon skeleton.



  • Address: 976-2 Shide, Taga-cho, Inukami-gun, Shiga
  • Hours: 10:00 - 18:00 Tuesday to Friday, 10:00 - 17:00 Saturday, Sunday and holidays
  • Closed: Monday, the day after a public holiday (except on a Saturday or Sunday), the last Thursday of each month, and over the New Year holiday
  • Entrance Fee: ¥200 (¥150 per person for groups of 20 or more). No charge for children or for adults who live or work in Taga
  • Inquiries: Phone 0749-48-2077, Fax 0749-48-8055
  • Parking: 50 spaces
  • Access: 20 minutes bus ride from JR Hikone Station (Biwako Line from Maibara or Kyoto). From the west gate, board the bus bound for Kogyodanchi via Taga-cho Yakuba to the Akebono Park Taga bus stop / 20 minutes walk from Omi Railway Taga Taisha-mae Station. ・ 10 minutes drive from the Hikone Interchange (Meishin Expressway) via National Route 306 or the Koto Sanzan Smart Interchange via National Route 307

52Hikone Castle Museum

Full of treasures passed down from the Ii clan of Edo period feudal lords

The museum is on the grounds of the restored Hikone Castle (a designated National Treasure) in an impressive building called the Omote Goten, which used to house the government offices of the Hikone domain, and the living quarters of the daimyo. The museum collection of some 86,000 items includes the Hikone Screen (a National Treasure) and four Important Cultural Properties. The core of the collection consists of samurai military artifacts, Noh masks and costumes, tea sets, furniture, paintings and calligraphy, and a wealth of documents from the Ii clan, the hereditary lords of the Hikone domain and the senior daimyos under the Tokugawa shogunate. There is a permanent exhibit of selected items from the collection, and special exhibitions are regularly held. The inner part of the former State Chamber was the living area of the lords and their families, and has been thoroughly restored. Visitors can bathe in the period atmosphere of the living rooms, garden and tearoom and their wealth of furnishings.

Armor owned by the daimyo and national political leader Naosuke Ii

Point of Interest

Noh stage

The Noh stage at the center of the museum was constructed in the Edo period and is regularly used for performances of Noh and Kyogen.



  • Address: 1-1 Konkicho, Hikone, Shiga
  • Hours: 8:30 - 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
  • Closed: Dec. 25 to Dec. 31
  • We might close museum temporarily.
  • Entrance Fee: ¥500, or ¥250 for elementary and middle school students
  • Inquiries: Phone 0749-22-6100
  • Parking: Paid parking at nearby municipal and private lots
  • Access: 15 minutes walk from JR Hikone Station (Biwako Line from Maibara or Kyoto Station). From the west exit of the station, follow the large street with a view of the castle until the street ends, turn left to reach the castle grounds, and when the path ends go a short distance to the left and then cross the bridge on the left to reach the museum