01Ikadachi “Kaori no Sato”Museum

Step back in time to ancient Ikadachi

In the Ikadachi valley between Mt. Hiei and Mt. Hira lie several atmospheric old hamlets surrounded by magnificent mountain slopes and fertile farm fields. In the old days, life in Ikadachi was much closer to nature than it is now. There was work in the hills cutting and planting trees, fields to tend in all seasons, cows and chickens in one part of the farmhouse, and the family circle around the old-fashioned cooking stove or open hearth, irori.

The old-fashioned cooking stove, irori.

Point of Interest


The “Kaori no Sato” Museum is a recreation of an old-time Ikadachi minka (farmhouse) filled with authentic utensils for cooking, eating and other activities, and tools for outdoor work. The museum takes us back in time to the nostalgic warmth and simplicity of the world of our ancestors.



  • Address: 1223-1 Ikadachishimozaijicho, Otsu, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:00 - 16:00
  • Closed: Monday, public holidays, and over the New Year holiday
  • Entrance Fee: No charge
  • Inquiries: Phone/Fax 077-598-2005
  • Parking: 10 spaces
  • Access: From JR Katata Station (Kosei Line from Kyoto Station), board the Kojaku Bus bound for Tochu or Namazu, to the Shimosaiji bus stop, and walk for 2 minutes / By car, 7 minutes from the Mano exit, or 15 minutes from Biwako Ohashi toll Bridge

02Kokuhoden Museum, Mt. Hiei

Cultural treasures of Enryaku-ji temple, a 1200-year-old World Heritage Site

Enryaku-ji temple on Mt. Hiei possesses a large number of Buddhist statues, paintings and documents, writings by the founder, and other cultural assets. The museum was opened in 1992 to preserve these treasures and inform visitors about the long history of Mt. Hiei. The exhibits on the first and second floors include National Treasures and are periodically refreshed with selected works from the temple’s large collection. The name Kokuhoden (national treasure museum) comes from a famous sentence written by Dengyo Daishi (Saicho), the founder of Enryaku-ji temple and the Tendai sect of Buddhism: “Ichigu wo terasu” brighten the world at your corner is itself a national treasure.

Seated Shakyamuni Buddha

Point of Interest

Five Great Wisdom Kings (four statues of a set of seven)

The preeminent treasure in the museum is the set of statues of the Five Great Wisdom Kings. The installation of these statues in the Wisdom Kings Hall of the Mudo-ji temple by the priest Soo a thousand years ago established the seat of practice and training for the Tendai sect of Buddhism. As a grounding for the teachings of the Great Wisdom Kings, the statues are recognized as the foremost and most miraculous images in the temples of Mt. Hiei.



  • Address: 4220 Sakamoto-honmachi, Otsu, Shiga
  • Hours: March to November, 8:30 - 16:30 (entry until 16:00); December to February, 9:00 - 16:00 (entry until 15:30)
  • Closed: Open every day (occasional exceptions during bad weather or exhibit changes)
  • Entrance Fee: ¥500 for adults, ¥300 for middle school students, ¥100 for elementary school students
  • Inquiries: Phone 077-578-0001, Fax 077-578-0678
  • Parking: 100 spaces at Enryaku-ji temple
  • Access: At JR Hieizan Sakamoto Station (Kosei Line from Kyoto Staion), cross to Cable Sakamoto Station and take the cable car to Enryakuji Station, and walk for 15 minutes / From JR Kyoto Station, Keihan Sanjo Station and Keihan Demachiyanagi Station, board a regular bus bound for Hiei Sancho, to the Enryakuji Bus Center stop

03Omi Shrine Clock and Treasure Museum

A collection of masterpieces and rarities to take us outside time

Official timekeeping in Japan began during the reign of Emperor Tenji (668-672) at his capital Omi Otsu no Miya, with the building of a water clock “to chime the hour with a bell and drum” (according to the “Nihon Shoki” chronicle). This museum opened in 1963 as the only clock museum in Japan. It was renovated and reopened in 2010 as the Clock Museum and Treasure House in the Omi shrine. The first floor displays about 100 rare clocks from Asia and the West, ancient and modern, including a suspended globe clock and a lantern clock, Yagura-dokei, with many items donated by the family of Prince Takamatsu. The second floor is the shrine museum, displaying outstanding works from the Omi shrine collection, including a reproduction of the “Landscape with Tower” screen painted by Shohaku Soga (Important National Cultural Property).

Water clock

Point of Interest

Suspended globe clock

This suspended globe clock from the Kansei era (1789-1801) is a type of pendulum clock. It was designed for celestial observation by the astronomers Goryu Asada and Shigetomi Hazami, and made by Tosaburo Toda. Among the four such clocks existing in Japan, this is the most complete. It is designated as an Important National Cultural Property.



  • Address: 1-1 Jingucho, Otsu, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:30 - 16:30
  • Closed: Monday (excluding public holidays)
  • Entrance Fee: ¥300 for adults, ¥150 for children (middle school or younger)
  • Inquiries: Phone 077-522-3725, Fax 077-522-3860
  • Parking: 100 spaces at Omi shrine
  • Access: 7 minutes by taxi from JR Otsu Station (Biwako Line from Kyoto Station) / 15 minutes walk or 3 minutes by taxi from JR Otsukyo Station (Kosei Line, second stop from Kyoto Station) / 10 minutes walk from Keihan Omijingumae Station (Ishiyama Sakamoto Line)

04Kinoshita Museum of Art

A tranquil and engaging museum of fine art

A fine collection of Nihon-ga (modern Japanese-style paintings), mainly from widely appreciated Kyoto artists, including Seiho Takeuchi, Shunkyo Yamamoto, Suiho Nishiyama, Insho Domoto, Kansetsu Hashimoto, Shoha Ito, Hisako Ohara, Taikan Yokoyama, Shunso Hishida, Saburosuke Okada, Chu Asai and Daisaburo Nakamura.

In 2008 the Kinoshita Museum of Art moved to a new building in Hieidaira, designed especially to realize a new art museum concept. The goal is to make fine art more accessible, by bringing viewers closer to the museum in spaces that foster more intimacy and dialogue with the artworks. The exhibition is changed each month and related reading materials are made available, in a perfect setting for relaxed enjoyment and conversations with other visitors.

Exhibit room

Point of Interest

Chu Asai, “The samurai who draws a bow”

Following the museum concept of making art works more appealing and accessible, there are no glass panels or other shields between the exhibited works and the viewer. Viewers are encouraged to relax and take their time, view books and catalogs, and enjoy coffee at no charge.



  • Address: 2 Chome-28-21 Hieidaira, Otsu, Shiga
  • Hours: 10:00 - 16:00
  • Closed: Tuesday and Wednesday (excluding public holidays)
  • Entrance Fee: ¥500
  • Inquiries: Phone 077-575-1148
  • Parking: Available
  • Access: From JR Otsukyo Station (Kosei Line from Kyoto Station), board the Keihan Bus bound for Hieidaira, to the Hieidaira Ni-chome stop / From Sanjo Station in Kyoto (Keihan Line and Tozai Subway Line), board the Keihan Bus bound for Hieidaira, to the Hieidaira Ni-chome stop

05Otsu City Museum of History

Presenting the traditional charm of Otsu through authentic models, Otsu-e folk paintings, and Hiroshige prints of Omi

The waterfront city of Otsu, lying between Lake Biwa and a chain of verdant mountains, has a rich history and cultural properties, and has played an important role in Japan as a land and water transport center. Exhibits at the museum portray high points of Otsu history with authentic models of the 7th century imperial capital at Otsu, water transportation on Lake Biwa, a bustling post town street in the Edo period, and the castles at Sakamoto, Otsu and Zeze. Also on display are treasures from Buddhist temples at the foot of Mt. Hiei, Otsu-e folk paintings from the Edo period, and Hiroshige’s woodblock print series “Eight Views of Omi.”

The second-story museum lobby has a panoramic view of Lake Biwa. The museum serves as the main information resource for several important historic sites located nearby, including the Onjo-ji temple (Mii-dera) adjacent to the museum, the Enryaku-ji temple, which is a World Cultural Heritage Site, and the remains of the 7th century the imperial palace of Omi Otsu no Miya (Otsukyo).

Model of an old townscape street in the Central Otsu

Point of Interest

Hiroshige Utagawa, “Eight Views of Omi” portraying the autumn moon at Ishiyama

During the Edo period (1603-1868), the most popular souvenirs along the Edo-Kyoto highway between Oiwake to Otani were the paintings of folk art characters known as Otsu-e. These humorous and satirical images are still a delight to view today. Not to be missed are the woodblock prints by the master Hiroshige Utagawa, dipicting the Eight Views of Omi in the first half of the 19th century when it was rated as one of the famous sightseeing area in Japan.



  • Address: 2-2 Goryocho, Otsu, 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), the day after a public holiday (excluding Saturday and Sunday), and over the New Year holiday (12/27 to 1/5)
  • Entrance Fee: ¥270 for adults, ¥200 for high school and university students, ¥130 for elementary and middle school students
  • Inquiries: Phone 077-521-2100, Fax 077-521-2666
  • Parking: 70 spaces
  • Access: 5 minutes walk from Keihan Bessho Station (Ishiyama Sakamoto Line) / 15 minutes walk from JR Otsukyo Station (Kosei Line from Kyoto Station) / From JR Otsu Station (Biwako Line from Kyoto Station), 10 minutes by Keihan Bus to the Bessho stop

06Otsu-e Art Museum

Enjoy folk-art drawings from Edo times in a tatami-room setting

Otsu-e, the popular drawings marketed to travelers along the Tokaido highway through much of the Edo period, originated in the busy post town of Otsu. Recognized as a leading folk-art genre of Japan, Otsu-e portray popular story characters or humorous figures, such as “Oni no Nenbutsu” (Demon Impersonating a Nenbutsu Prayer Reciter), “Fuji Musume” (Dancing Girl with Wisteria), “Zato” (Blind Masseur), or “Yarimochi Yakko” (Retainer Carrying a Pike in a Daimyo Procession). The drawings were often used as amulets for protection or luck.

Beginning about 1690, a number of Otsu-e artist studios and picture shops sprang up at Oiwake, the village on the outskirts of Otsu where the Fushimi highway branched from the Tokai highway. As Basho Matsuo composed in Haiku “Otsu-e no Fude no hajime ha nanibotoke” (the literal translation: with what Amitabha did the Otsu-e brush begin?), the drawings began as portrayals of Amitabha Buddhist themes, before other themes gradually appeared. Their fame was heightened by “Otsu-e bushi”, a folk song and dance based on the titles of typical Otsu-e, which was very popular in Japan for many years from the early 19th century.

Otsu-e display area

Point of Interest

“Oni no Nenbutsu”

Amulet functions of typical Otsu-e figures:
“Oni no Nenbutsu” – Exorcism to stop demons from wailing in the night
“Fuji Musume” – Enhancing female charms to find a good match
“Raiko” – Protection against lightning
“Yarimochi Yakko” – Safety and tranquility for travelers



  • Address: 33 Onjojicho, Otsu, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:00 - 17:00
  • Closed: No closed days
  • Entrance Fee: ¥500 for adults, ¥300 for high school students, no charge for younger children and people with disabilities
  • Inquiries: Phone 077-522-3690, Fax 077-522-3150
  • Parking: 30 spaces (no charge)
  • Access: 5 minutes by taxi from JR Otsu Station (Biwako Line from Kyoto Station) / 10 minutes walk from Keihan Miidera Station (Ishiyama Sakamoto Line) / 7 minutes walk from Keihan Bessho Station (Ishiyama Sakamoto Line) / 8 minutes drive north from the Meishin Expressway Otsu Interchange

07Nagara Crafts Pavilion ・ Mitsuhashi Setsuko Art Museum

A space with a gorgeous setting for appreciating and creating art and crafts

The Nagara area has been celebrated over the centuries for its outstanding beauty and seasonal changes, and Nagara Park, established in 1903 on the slope of Mt. Nagara, is a popular site for cherry blossom viewing. The Nagara Crafts Pavilion opened in the park in 1995 as a place for the general public to practice arts and crafts. Part of the facility is a museum that conserves and displays the paintings of Setsuko Mitsuhashi, whose life and art were deeply connected to the Nagara area. After losing her good arm when a tumor was removed in 1973, Ms. Mitsuhashi continued painting with her left hand and completed such works as “Hanaore-toge”(Hanaore Pass) and “Mii no Bansho” (Curfew at Mii) before she passed away in 1975 aged 35.

Setsuko Mitsuhashi, “Hanaore-toge”

Point of Interest

The last letter sent to children

Seven hours before her death, with difficulty breathing, Setsuko Mitsuhashi wrote a postcard to children, reflecting in a free and easy style on the limits of life. It is on display. There are also classroom facilities for various arts and crafts. The pottery studio has a gas reduction kiln.



  • Address: 1-1 Kozekicho, Otsu, 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) and the day after a public holiday (except Sunday, in which case it is open)
  • Entrance Fee: ¥270 for adults, ¥200 for high school and university students, ¥130 for middle and elementary school students (group discounts available)
  • Inquiries: Phone/Fax 077-523-5101
  • Parking: 10 spaces (no charge)
  • Access: 10 minutes by taxi from JR Otsu Station (Biwako Line from Kyoto Station) / Bicycles can be rented near JR Otsu Station; please enter Nagara Park and come to the Pavilion

08Otsu Festival Float Exhibition Hall

Hikiyama floats, mechanical dolls, and showy neighborhood traditions

With displays about the Otsu Festival, which is held each October and is one of the three largest festivals in the Lake Biwa area, the museum presents the traditional culture of Otsu’s neighborhoods. There is a full-size model of one of the large hikiyama festival floats, next to a wall made into a traditional streetscape. Also on display are miniature models (made in 1938) of the 13 floats currently used in the annual festival, with explanatory panels. A large screen shows videos of the festival-eve events, the hikiyama float parade, and the festival’s unique karakuri (mechanical doll) performances. Presenting the brilliance of the festival scenes, the strange beauty of the karakuri dolls, and the dynamism of chonin (neighborhood) culture, the museum offers a genuine feel of Otsu Festival’s energy and merriment.

Hikiyama float decorations

Point of Interest

Model of a hikiyama float and a decorated street

Displayed on the upper floor are decorations from one of the hikiyama festival floats, a different float every two months. On the first floor, guests are invited to use hand gongs and taiko (Japanese drums) to practice hayashi (dance rhythms), and watch videos of the Otsu Festival and hayashi dancing and singing.



  • Address: 1 Chome-2- 27 Chuo, Otsu, Shiga
  • Hours: 10:00 - 19:00 (entry until 18:30)
  • 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: No charge
  • Inquiries: Phone/Fax 077-521-1013
  • Parking: Nearby commercial parking facilities
  • Access: From JR Otsu Station (Biwako Line), walk along Chuo Odori Street toward the lake, turn left at the third traffic signal, and walk about 400 m. The lane to the museum is in the middle of a covered shopping arcade

09Toraijin Historical Museum

Dedicated to accurate and objective presentation of East Asian history

The people and culture of Japan did not form independently.

The bringers of rice cultivation and other technologies in the Jomon period, when the staple food was nuts, and the cultural leaders of the Yayoi period (300 BC to 300 AD) were immigrants to the Japanese archipelago from the Korean peninsula. In the late 16th century, there was another influx of Korean artisans, who developed the pottery techniques of Japan.

Today, in the wake of the Japanese annexation of Korea between 1910 and 1945, there are more than 700,000 Japanese citizens of recent Korean descent, as well as about 500,000 Koreans who are special permanent residents of Japan. We encourage the people of Japan to directly face their national history, as a basis for rebuilding honest neighborly relations among East Asian nations, as a step toward preventing the recurrence of unfortunate historical events, and to support a transformation of consciousness for the new global era.

Exhibits on Omi and Immigrants and Historical Connections between Japan and Korea

Point of Interest

Joseon Diplomatic Procession (reproduction)

In the 1590s the Japanese leader Hideyoshi Toyotomi sought to invade Korea, massacre her people and plunder her culture. The succeeding Tokugawa regime in Japan sent embassies and restored relations, and the Joseon diplomatic missions sent from Korea periodically over the next 200 years cultivated good neighborly relations between the countries. We want to increase public awareness of the historical facts and promote reflection on issues of war and peace.



  • Address: 2 Chome-4-6 Umebayashi, Otsu, Shiga
  • Hours: 10:00 - 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
  • Closed: Monday and Tuesday (group visits may be arranged)
  • Entrance Fee: ¥200 (No charge for high school and younger students)
  • Inquiries: Phone 077-525-3030, Fax 077-525-3450
  • Parking: 10 spaces
  • Access: 5 minutes walk from JR Otsu Station (about 400 meters from the south exit toward Ishiyama)

10The Museum of Shiga Prefecture, Biwako-Bunkakan

A storehouse of Buddhist art and other outstanding works from the Omi cultural heritage

Opened in 1961, the museum holds about 7,800 pieces, mainly Buddhist art, including many National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties. After many years of operation with broad public attendance, the museum began a period of closure to the public in 2008.

Parts of the collection are now displayed at other museums in Shiga, and an exhibition of masterworks, “The Gods and Buddhas of Omi,” is touring leading museums throughout Japan and in South Korea. The museum continues to investigate Shiga cultural properties and hold public educational events.

Ryokai Mandara (Dual World Mandala), The Museum of Shiga Prefecture, Biwako-Bunkakan

Point of Interest

Mt. Hiei, by Shohaku Soga

The museum is recognized as one of Japan’s main repositories of cultural treasures, with the 6th largest holding of Important National Cultural Properties in the country. The collections include one tenth of the art and craft National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties located in Shiga Prefecture, and one quarter of Shiga’s Prefectural Cultural Properties.



  • Address: Uchidehamachisaki, Otsu, Shiga
  • No Data
  • Closed from April 2008
  • No Data
  • Inquiries: Phone 077-522-8179, Fax 077-522-9634
  • Parking: available at nearby commercial lots
  • Access: 15 minutes walk from JR Otsu Station (Biwako Line from Kyoto Station)

11Gichu Temple

Resting place of the tragic hero Yoshinaka Kiso and the famous poet Basho

This is the gravesite of Yoshinaka Kiso or Gichu, General Asahi, who died nearby fighting his brother at the Battle of Awazu in 1184 during the Genpei War. Some years later a nun lived in a retreat here and tended the grave. She was Tomoe-Gozen (Lady Tomoe), the former warrior and consort of Yoshinaka, and the retreat, eventually known as the Tomoe temple, was the origin of the Gichu temple. In the middle of the 16th century Omi governor Rokkaku Sasaki restored the temple and took possession of the land.

The great haiku poet Basho Matsuo was extremely fond of the Lake Biwa landscape in the last years of his life and he stayed in a hut at Gichu temple during many of his visits. Upon Basho’s death in 1694, according to his stated wish, his grave was placed to the right of Yoshinaka’s grave.

Gichu temple mountain retreat

Point of Interest

Seated statue of Basho

The temple holds ceremonies each year to mark the death anniversaries of Yoshinaka (third Sunday in January) and Basho (second Saturday in November), as well as the Housen-e ceremony (second Saturday in May) when commemorative fans are placed around the statue of Basho.



  • Address: 1 Chome-5-12 Banba, Otsu, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:00 - 17:00 (to 16:00 from November to February)
  • Closed: Mondays during December to March and June to September (excluding public holidays)
  • Entrance Fee: ¥300 for high school students and older, ¥150 for middle school students, ¥100 for elementary school students
  • Inquiries: Phone/Fax 077-523-2811
  • Parking: Public parking area
  • Access: 6 minutes walk from JR Zeze Station (Biwako Line from Kyoto Station) / 6 minutes walk from Keihan Zeze Station (Ishikawa Sakamoto Line)

12Otsu City Science Museum

Interactive hands-on thrills! Plenty to learn!

As part of the Lifelong Learning Center located along the shore of Lake Biwa, the museum completed renovations of the Planetarium in 2012 and the Exhibition Hall in 2013. The Exhibition Hall, with the world’s first digital globe and 20 other themed areas, is filled with interactive displays that move when touched, making science alive and fun. There are also many nature-related exhibits in the Lake Biwa Theater and the Shiga environment section. The Planetarium offers state of the art digital presentations with live explanations, and the dome is also used for regular sunspot shows and astronomy classes.

Big Earth (Tangible Earth)

Point of Interest


Experiential and creative Thrilling Science classes are presented in the Exhibition Hall on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. There are also regular classes on science related fabrication of objects, and many enjoyable special events including planetarium music shows.



  • Address: 6-50 Honmarucho, Otsu, Shiga (in the Lifelong Learning Center)
  • Hours: 9:00 - 16:30
  • Closed: Monday (except on a public holiday, in which case it will be closed the following day), third Sunday of each month, and over the New Year holiday
  • Entrance Fee: ¥100 for elementary school students and older. Additional planetarium entrance fee: ¥400 for adults, ¥200 for high school students and younger
  • Inquiries: Phone 077-522-1907, Fax 077-522-2297
  • Parking: 98 spaces, and other commercial facilities nearby
  • Access: 7 minutes walk from Zeze Honmachi Station (Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line) / 15 minutes by car from the Meishin Expressway Otsu Interchange to the Honmarucho intersection

13Zeze-yaki Pottery Museum

Showcasing the history and revival of Zeze-yaki pottery

The Zeze-yaki Museum was established in 1987 by the potter Shinjo Iwasaki for public display of his family’s collection of Zeze-yaki and other Shiga-area pottery and tea ceremony utensils from the Edo period and later. Zeze-yaki is a style of pottery for tea ceremony use, which was made from the seventeenth century on the grounds of Zeze Castle and was revived in the 20th century. It is characteristically very thin with blackish tinges from iron glazing. The museum has a permanent display of old Zeze-yaki and changing exhibits of other tea ceremony pottery and utensils. There is a garden and teahouse on the grounds, and visitors are invited to receive tea prepared and served, with a sweet, in the ceremonial manner. New Zeze-yaki tea-ware is regularly fired in a kiln on the grounds and available for purchase, and there is a shop outside the museum selling Zeze-yaki dishes and cups for ordinary use.

Old Zeze-yaki – Water jar from the Oe kiln (Kiln mark on base)

Point of Interest

Old Zeze-yaki – Koetsu bowl

One of the few existing tea bowls made of Zeze clay and fired at Zeze by Koetsu Hon’ami, the celebrated artist of the early 17th century. He made them for the tea ceremony master Enshu Kobori, whose dislike of the more popular Raku ware is thought to have propelled the creation of Koetsu-style Zeze-yaki.



  • Address: 1 Chome-22-28 Nakasho, Otsu, Shiga
  • Hours: 10:00 - 16:00
  • 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: ¥700 for adults, ¥500 for high school students and younger
  • Inquiries: Phone/Fax 077-523-1118
  • Parking: 4 spaces
  • Access: 3 minutes walk following signposts from Keihan Kawaragahama Station (Ishiyama Sakamoto Line). The Ishiyama Sakamoto Line may be boarded at Keihan Zeze Station, adjacent to JR Zeze Station (Biwako Line from Kyoto Station)

14Takebe Shrine Treasure Hall

Takebe Shrine, the chief shrine of Omi, is the resting place of Prince Yamatotakeru

Takebe Shrine, formerly the chief Shinto shrine of Omi (now Shiga), lies next to the Seta Bridge. This strategic crossroads was the scene of many battles centuries ago. The shrine was patronized by several generations of the imperial court and military commanders, including Yoritomo Minamoto (1147-1199), who is known to have visited at a young age to pray for good fortune in war. The Treasure Hall displays a Wooden Seated Goddess statue that is an Important National Cultural Property, as well as portable shrines used during spring and summer festivals, and old documents. The wooden statue is said to portray the consort of Prince Yamatotakeru, the legendary second-century emperor of Japan, to whom Takebe Shrine is dedicated. Many agree that her covered sleeve openings and reclusive air suggest the demeanor of a goddess. This refined work, in the style of the Heian period, is the chief attraction of the museum.

Wooden seated goddess

Point of Interest

Thousand yen banknote

Thousand yen banknote (legal tender) Japan issued the first bank note convertible for one thousand yen in 1945. Its design portrays Prince Yamatotakeru and Takebe shrine. It is known as a phantom banknote, as very few were issued.



  • Address: 1 Chome-16-1 Jinryo, Otsu, Shiga
  • Hours: 9:00 - 16:00
  • Closed: Please call to confirm
  • Entrance Fee: ¥200
  • Inquiries: Phone 077-545-0038, Fax 077-545-2438
  • Parking: 50 spaces
  • Access: 1 minute by Omi bus from the south exit of JR Ishiyama Station (Biwako Line from Kyoto Station) / 15 minutes walk from Keihan Karahashimae Station (Ishiyama Sakamoto Line)

15The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga

Exhibitions with unique perspectives at a popular suburban museum

The museum has a lovely suburban setting in the Seta hills, surrounded by Japanese gardens and views of Lake Biwa and the Mt. Hira-Mt. Hiei mountain range.

The museum collects in three areas: (1) Modern Nihon-ga (Japanese-style paintings) in the tradition of the Nihon Bijutsuin academy; (2) Fine art linked to Shiga Prefecture; and (3) Contemporary art, focusing on postwar American and Japanese works. In addition to collection and conservation activities, the museum mounts a permanent display of selected works from the collection as well as special exhibitions. There is also a small permanent display of paintings by the Shiga-born female Nihon-ga master Yuki Ogura. The special exhibitions reflect the museum’s collection themes, yet may also range widely to offer uniquely compelling displays of the finest modern and contemporary art.

Gallery for the Permanent Collection

Point of Interest

Interactive Museum Workshop

The broad range of educational and outreach programs include the Interactive Museum Workshop for adults and children held once a month, vacation-period workshops in early May and during the summer, and Children’s Summertime Art Appreciation sessions featuring quizzes on the permanent collection.



  • Address: 1740-1 Setaminamiogayacho, Otsu, 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 (12/29 to 1/3). Occasional temporary closures.
  • Entrance Fee: Permanent Collection Gallery: ¥500 for adults, ¥300 for university and high school students, no charge for junior high and elementary school students, Special Exhibitions: Fees vary
  • Inquiries: Phone 077-543-2111, Fax 077-543-4220
  • Parking: 320 spaces
  • Access: From JR Seta Station (Biwako Line from Kyoto Station), board the bus bound for Shiga-Idai for 10 minutes to the Bunka Zone stop, and walk 5 minutes. Note: Only local trains stop at the JR Seta Station, which is about 17 minutes from Kyoto Station

16Tanakami Local Museum

A repository of fast-disappearing rural culture, preserved by young people

For centuries, agriculture was the mainstay of the village of Tanakami, which lies at the eastern edge of Otsu in a basin formed by sediment deposits from the Daido River. After the modern transformation of farming practices, traditional farm tools and housewares were often thrown away or destroyed. In reaction to such sights, this museum was founded in 1968 to display traditional artifacts that have been collected and preserved by volunteers.

In addition to collecting objects, volunteers have recorded many interviews with village elders about the traditional customs and special events of the area. There are five volumes of museum newsletters, created with professional assistance, which serve as a primer on the traditional Tanakami lifestyle.

Museum interior

Point of Interest

Tanakami tenugui

The women of the area used to cover their heads with Tanakami tenugui (hand Japanese towels) decorated with a distinctive pattern, and these have been revived. Also, the traditional local three-paneled apron, mihabamaedare, which disappeared after 1945, is again being woven and worn by local women, making some people think they are seeing ghosts.



  • Address: 1 Chome-8-32 Maki, Otsu, Shiga
  • Hours: As needed
  • Closed: No closed days (By appointment)
  • Entrance Fee: No charge
  • Inquiries: Phone/Fax 077-549-0369
  • Parking: 10 spaces
  • Access: From Ishiyama Station (JR Biwako Line or Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line), board the bus bound for Makiguchi for 20 minutes to the Kami-tanakami Shogakko stop, then walk for 5 minutes

17Tanakami Mineral Museum

See glittering specimens at the foot of the Konan Alps

The minerals displayed here are quartz, feldspar, mica and topaz found on Mount Tanakami, a granite mountain south of Lake Biwa, also known as Topaz Mountain. Soon after Japan reopened to the world in 1868, an American named Gentz heard about the topaz of Mount Tanakami. He came here and developed mines that exported stones to many countries, making Mount Tanakami topaz world-famous. Specimens were found as recently as the 1950s by people clearing the mountain’s ravines. Present-day, due to the progress of hillside erosion control projects, granite outcrops are no longer visible and it is impossible to find specimens.

Exhibit room

Point of Interest


This is a single piece of topaz from the Nakazawa druse on nearby Mt. Tanakami. A single druse cavity can yield several large specimens. Hence the mountain is nicknamed Topaz Mountain.



  • Address: 3 Chome-8-4 Eda, Otsu, Shiga
  • Hours: As needed
  • Closed: No set hours of operation (by appointment)
  • Entrance Fee: ¥300 for high school students or older, ¥200 for middle school students, ¥100 for elementary school students
  • Inquiries: Phone/Fax 077-546-1921
  • Parking: 2 or 3 spaces
  • Access: From Ishiyama Station (JR Biwako Line or Keihan Ishiyama Sakamoto Line), board the Teisan Bus bound for Tanakami Shako, to the Eda stop, and walk 200 meters along the river toward the mountain