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Otsu, Hikone, Omihachiman, Takashima, Higashiomi, Maibara cities, Shiga PrefectureLake Biwa and Its Surroundings: A Water Heritage Site of Life and Prayer

Shirahige-jinja: Famous for the large vermilion lacquered torii (gateway) standing in the lake (Takashima City)

Shirahige-jinja: Famous for the large vermilion lacquered torii (gateway) standing in the lake (Takashima City)

Summary

Water has long been worshipped as a edium for purification and healing. When Buddhism arrived in Japan from East Asia, the Buddha of Healing, Yakushi-Nyorai, was worshipped for his radiant astern Pure Land “water paradise” teachings. Many temples and shrines were built facing the “water paradise” of Lake Biwa and they remain a major attraction today. Local people have long adhered to a strict set of regulations to rotect the cleanliness of Biwa as their daily lives rely on its spring water and raditional mountain-fed water distribution systems.
The spectacular views of the shore and lakeside districts, overflowing with life, have long inspired art and gardens. Recently, these areas have also been attracting visitors who see in them a representation of the perfect harmony between humans and water. Here, one finds the essence of the rich history of Japanese “water culture.”

Cultural properties

  • Chikubushima Island and Tsuzuraozaki Cape
    Chikubushima Island and Tsuzuraozaki Cape
    Chikubushima Island and Tsuzuraozaki Cape
  • Eri (trap) fishing
    Eri (trap) fishing
    Eri (trap) fishing
  • Suigo the Omihachiman riverside district:a registered Ramsar wetland and one of the three most popular wetland attractions in Japan(Omihachiman City)
    Suigo the Omihachiman riverside district:a registered Ramsar wetland and one of the three most popular wetland attractions in Japan(Omihachiman City)
    Suigo the Omihachiman riverside district:a registered Ramsar wetland and one of the three most popular wetland attractions in Japan(Omihachiman City)
  • Genkyu Rakuraku-en: The landscape garden and lord’s s private palace located to the northeast of Hikone castle created in 1677(Hikone City)
    Genkyu Rakuraku-en: The landscape garden and lord’s s private palace located to the northeast of Hikone castle created in 1677(Hikone City)
    Genkyu Rakuraku-en: The landscape garden and lord’s s private palace located to the northeast of Hikone castle created in 1677(Hikone City)

Map of cultural properties