Higashi-Omi Giant Kite (Odako) Festival 2013 東近江大凧まつり


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(Note: Due to a tragic kite crash in May 2015, this kite festival will no longer be held until ongoing litigation is resolved. This kite festival has not been held since 2016.) The Higashi-Omi Giant Kite Festival (Higashi-Omi Odako Matsuri) used to be held on the last Sunday of May at Fureai Undo Park (ふれあい運動公園) in Notogawa, HigashiOmi, Shiga. The main highlight is the giant kite, flying at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm. Also see kite-flying contests, exotic kites from around Japan, and stage entertainment. Anybody can fly a kite too. From 10 am to 3 pm. The festival name changed from Yokaichi Odako Matsuri to Higashiomi Odako Matsuri in May 2012 and the festival site changed in May 2013 to Fureai Undo Koen Park. Also see my YouTube video here. Map

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Higashi-Omi Giant Kite Museum 東近江大凧会館


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Formerly called the Yokaichi Odako Kaikan (Giant Kite Museum), the Higashiomi Odako Kaikan giant kute museum exhibits the city's giant kite used previously, as well as many different kites from all over Japan and the world. Walk or take a bus from Ohmi Railways Yokaichi Station. Map

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Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival 2004 + 2007 八日市大凧まつり


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Pictures (and one movie) of Higashi-Omi's (formerly Yokaichi) Giant Kite Festival held annually on the last Sunday of May. These pictures were taken on May 23, 2004 and May 27, 2007. In 2007, it was another bad day for giant kite flying in Yokaichi, as the giant kite crashes head-first into a bamboo grove on its first and last flight. Also see the 2004 video at YouTube and my 2007 YouTube video here.

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Making of Giant Kite 大凧制作


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Every three years, the giant kite flown every May is replaced by a new kite bearing a new design. The new kite was made during July-Aug. 2007, taking about 30 days. The kite is made by volunteers from the public under the instruction of the Yokaichi Giant Kite Preservation Society. For the first time, I helped make this giant kite which was first flown successsfully on May 25, 2008 at the annual kite festival. More about Higashi-Omi here.

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Hyakusaiji 百済寺


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Located in Higashi-Omi and established by Shotoku Taishi in 609, this is Shiga Prefecture's oldest temple and one of Japan's oldest. It belongs to the Tendai Buddhist Sect. Being the southern-most temple in the Koto Sanzan Temple Trio, visit it after Eigenji or Kongorinji Temple. The hillside garden gives a good view of Lake Biwa. The main temple hall worships an 11-faced Kannon statue carved by Shotoku Taishi. Admission 500 yen. Map

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Eigenji 永源寺


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Located in Higashi-Omi and established in 1361, Eigenji is a temple of the Zen Rinzai Buddhist Sect (Eigenji School) and well-known for fall colors with 3,000 maple trees. Although not part of the Koto Sanzan Temple Trio (all Tendai Buddhist temples), most visitors also visit Eigenji together with the Koto Sanzan temples. Accessible by bus taking 30-40 min. from Yokaichi Station on the Omi Railway Line or from Hyakusaiji. Admission 500 yen. Map

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Gokasho Omi Merchant Homes 五個荘 近江商人屋敷


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Gokasho is famous for the grand, old homes of wealthy Omi merchants. Three of them are conveniently clustered together for us to see. They are the former residences of Tonomura Uhee (外村 宇兵衛), Tonomura Shigeru (外村 繁), and Nakae Jungoro (中江 準五郎). In Feb. 2005, Gokasho became part of the newly established Higashi-Omi city. Map

88 files, last one added on Jan 25, 2007
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Gokasho Museums 五個荘の資料館・博物館


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From the Ohmi Railways' Gokasho Station, you can walk to the Fujii Hikoshiro House (藤井 彦四郎邸), which is also a history museum, and to the modern Ohmi Merchant Museum (近江商人博物館). You can buy a set of tickets to all four Omi merchant homes and the museum which cheaper than buying a ticket at each place. Map

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Tarobogu Shrine 太郎坊宮


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Tarobo-gu is a shrine complex on a small mountain, featuring grand views of the city and a pair of Wedded Rocks. It is 1.1 km from Tarobogu-mae Station on the Ohmi Railway Line. The shrine's real name is Aga Jinja 阿賀神社. Map

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Tarobogu Shrine Bonfire Festival 太郎坊宮お火焚大祭


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Tarobogu Shrine holds a bonfire festival on the first Sunday in December. The bonfire is used to burn about 100,000 goma prayer tablets collected from all over Japan. The fire's spiritual force supposed to ward off evil, accidents, and sickness and cleanse you. Toward the end, there is fire-walking on the hot embers. KInd of unique festival because it combines Shinto and Buddhist practices.

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Iba-no-saka-kudashi Matsuri Festival 伊庭の坂下し祭


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Held on May 4 by Sanposan Shrine in Higashi-Omi, Shiga Prefecture, three portable shrines are hauled down a steep mountain (Kinugasa-yama) for about 500 meters. This photos were taken at the end of the trail at the large torii at the foot of the mountain. Also see my YouTube video. Map

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Yokaichi Shotoku Matsuri Goshu Ondo 八日市聖徳まつり・江州音頭総おどり


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Held near Yokaichi Station in summer, the Yokaichi Shotoku Matsuri is a bon dance featuring Shiga's native Goshu Ondo folk song. It's also a yokai festival. Yokaichi's connection with yokai comes from its place name "Yokaichi," a pun for "Land of Yokai."

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Notogawa 能登川町


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On Jan. 1, 2006, Notogawa town merged with Higashi-Omi. The city for the first time can thereby claim a shore of Lake Biwa. It is no longer landlocked. Notogawa is famous for its giant water wheel. Map

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Other Sights in Higashi-Omi


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Other places of interest such as Yokaichi Station (Ohmi Railways) and Shin-Yokaichi Station. More about Higashi-Omi here.

73 files, last one added on Oct 06, 2018
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