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Gichuji temple is known for the grave of Haiku poet Basho Matsuo (1644-94). National Historic Site near JR Zeze Station, 300 meters from Gichuji JR膳所駅Gichuji is a short walk from Zeze Station.
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Keihan Zeze Station 京阪電鉄膳所駅
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Road to Gichuji (gate on left)
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Gate to Gichuji. MAP
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Besides the Basho's gravestone, the temple has a myriad of Haiku stone monuments.
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Small museum
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行春をあふミ(おうみ)の人とおしみける
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Rear stone: 古池や蛙飛こむ水の音
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Chojitsudo Hondo main hall 朝日堂
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Chojitsudo Hondo altar 朝日堂
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Basho Matsuo's grave at Gichuji temple, Otsu. 芭蕉の墓
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Basho Matsuo's grave at Gichuji temple, Otsu. 芭蕉の墓
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Okinado Hall 翁堂
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Okinado Hall with a statue of Basho. 翁堂
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旅に病で夢は枯野をかけ廻る
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二百年・三百年忌碑
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JR Otsu Station, with AL Plaza shopping complex on the left. 大津駅
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JR Otsu Station
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JR Otsu Station
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JR Otsu Station before renovation.
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JR Otsu Station platform
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JR Otsu Station building corridor, 2nd floor before renovation in 2016.
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Dinner at a restaurant in the Otsu Station building.
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Restaurant in the Otsu Station building 2nd floor before renovation in 2016.
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Restaurant in the Otsu Station building 2nd floor before renovation in 2016.
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After a few years of uncertainty and about a year of major renovations, a new lease on life has been bestowed on the JR Otsu Station building that reopened on Oct. 1, 2016.
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I dropped by in late Nov. 2016 to check it out.
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Turnstile area is nice and new.
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Ticket office
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Convenience store inside the station.
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Renovated Otsu Station
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The old Heiwado AL Plaza Otsu being torn down.
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The station building is now named “Vierra Otsu” (ビエラ大津).According to the building’s developer, JR West Real Estate & Development Co., the word “Vierra” was created with the Spanish words “vida” (life) and “tierra” (land or earth), so it supposed to mean
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Taxi at Otsu Station
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Ground floor with ATMs on the left and the entrance to The Calendar.
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Otsu Tourist Information Center
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1st/ground floor now has Starbucks and three Shiga-original restaurants: Okaki for Omi beef, Chanpontei for ramen, and Konkian for soba noodles.
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Ground floor with ATMs on the left and the entrance to The Calendar.
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Menu for The Calendar.
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Stairs to The Calendar on the 2nd floor. No elevators.
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The building’s biggest and most dramatic change is upstairs on the 2nd floor. It’s where they have “The Calendar,” a unique combination of different and almost seamless spaces for a restaurant, cafe, bar, open-air rooftop terrace (barbecue and beer garden), bookshelves selling books, 60-bed capsule hotel, and even a ping-pong table.
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Before renovation.
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Central area of The Calendar restaurant.
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On-the-floor seating next to the ping-pong room.
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Ping-pong room. Play for free.
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Ping-pong room. Play for free.
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Bookshelves of books for sale. Couldn’t find any books about Otsu.
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A variety of seating.
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Window seating for couples or small groups.
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View from the restaurant.
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Outdoor terrace on part of the west-end rooftop.
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Not much of a view though.
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My lunch: Daily special (hi-gawari lunch) served 11 am–2:30 pm for ¥850 includes soup, rice or bread, and the drink bar (coffee, tea, juices).
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Daily special lunch Menu
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In this corner, the door to the capsule hotel.
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Beautiful urinals
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Some inspiration while you do your business.
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Chiyahayafuru taxi
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Otsi Heiwado AL Plaza being torn down in Nov. 2016.
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The Calendar as seen from Otsu Station platform.
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The Calendar terrace as seen from Otsu Station platform.
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Shiga Prefectural Capitol (Shiga Kencho) is a short walk from Otsu Station. This original building was built in 1939. Newer wings have since been built. 滋賀県庁
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Water fountain in front of the Shiga Prefectural Capitol.
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The Shiga Prefectural Government Building is designated as a Tangible Cultural Property (登録有形文化財) in summer 2014. Designed by Sato Koichi. 建築家の佐藤功一氏が設計しました。
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Shiga Kaikan that was across from the Shiga Prefectural Government. Already torn down.
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Shiga Kaikan
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Shiga Kaikan. I had my first photo exhibition in Shiga in here.
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Shiga Kaikan
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Entrance to Ikemen Battle 2013 next to the Shiga Prefectural Government.
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The Ikemen Battle was an event of ramen booths selling ramen noodles in a competition.
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Popular ramen saw long lines.
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Stage entertainment that nobody watched at the Ikemen Battle.
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Ramen dining tent.
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Keihan Line streetcar, Shimanoseki Station
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Monument for Otsu-juku, where Emperor Meiji once lodged.
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Otsu-juku (70th post town on the Nakasendo) from his Kisokaido series. Hatcho-dori street and Lake Biwa in the distance.
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Otsu-juku from his "Fifty-Three Stations of the Tokaido Road" series.
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On this street corner is Otsu's Point Zero for its roadways.
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Monument for Otsu's Point Zero for its roadways.
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Keihan Keishin Line train coming from Kyoto.
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On this street corner was where Russian Crown Prince Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich (later Tsar Nicholas II) was attacked by a policeman guard (Tsuda Sanzo) on May 11, 1891.
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Marker for the place where Russian Crown Prince Tsarevich Nicholas Alexandrovich (later Tsar Nicholas II) was attacked by a policeman guard (Tsuda Sanzo) on May 11, 1891.
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Eight Views of Omi, Then and Now, exhibited on Otsu Post Office wall
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近江八景
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Otsu Police Station
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Otsu City Hall. The clock plays Lake Biwa Rowing Song.
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Nakanosho Station on the Keihan Ishiyama-Sakamoto Line.
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Keihan Shimanoseki Station
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Keihan streetcar. Great way to traverse the city. Too bad it doesn't meet up with Otsu Station.
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Ogoto Onsen Station on the JR Kosei Line.
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Ogoto Station before it changed its name to Ogoto Onsen Station.
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Ogoto Onsen Station platform.
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Ogoto Onsen Station platform has a nice view of the lake.
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Ogoto Onsen tourist info booth (closed).
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Ogoto Onsen Station turnstile.
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Right outside Ogoto Onsen Station is this foot bath hut. Dip your feet into hot spring water for free.
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Ogoto Onsen Station hot spring foot bath.
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Sit on the bench and soak your feet in the Ogoto Onsen Station hot spring foot bath for free.
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Ogoto hot spring, Agariyanse
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Outside Ogoto Onsen Station.
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Taiko drummer sculpture at Ogoto Onsen Station.
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Ogoto Port
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JR Otsukyo Station (formerly Nishi Otsu Station).
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Biwako Bunka Park or Bunka Zone, featuring a Japanese garden, the Museum of Modern Art, and Shiga Prefectural Library.
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Japanese garden pond with koi.
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Japanese garden and Museum of Modern Art, Shiga.
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"Bunka Zone" (Culture Zone). This zone has this Japanese garden and the Museum of Modern Art and Shiga Prefectural Library.The Museum has several exhibition halls, rental gallery, an inner courtyard, lecture hall, reading room, museum shop, and restaurant. Admission charged.
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Bunka Zone garden, a nice place for a nap.10 min. by bus from Seta Station on the JR Biwako or Tokaido Line (the kaisoku express train does not stop at Seta Station). Go to bus stop 1 and get on the bus for Shiga Idai (Shiga Medical Univ.). Get off at Bunka Zone-mae.
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Tea house
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Koi
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Reeds
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Reeds
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Reeds
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Plum blossoms
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Plum blossoms
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Plum blossoms
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Plum blossoms
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Plum blossoms
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The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga (Shiga-kenritsu Kindai Bijutsu-kan). Closed for major renovations for three years from April 1, 2017. Will reopen in March 2020.Opened in Aug. 1984, this large, modern museum is located in a quiet and green area called "Bunka Zone" (Culture Zone). This zone also has a Japanese garden and the Shiga Prefectural Library.

10 min. by bus from Seta Station on the JR Biwako or Tokaido Line. 滋賀県立近代美術館 MAP
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The Museum of Modern Art, Shiga entrance. These photos were taken in March 2017 a few days before it was to close for a three-year renovatinon.
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Floor plan
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Entrance lobby
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Current exhibitions.
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Museum courtyard
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Site of a new museum building to be built.
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Illustration of the renovated museum with new buildings to open in 2020.
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Illustration of the renovated museum with new buildings to open in 2020.
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Illustration of the renovated museum with new buildings to open in 2020.
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Museum library and reading room.
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Bunka Zone bus stop from Seta Station.
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JR Seta Station
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JR Seta Station
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In front of JR Seta Station.
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Bus stop for Bunka Zone in front of JR Seta Station.
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Bus for Seta Station.
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We love Shiga in Otsu.
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Outdoor sculpture at Seian University of Art and Design in western Otsu (near Ogoto Onsen Station on the JR Kosei Line). Seian is Shiga's sole art college.
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I was impressed with Seian University's slogan of being an ”Art Museum on Campus.” These colorful men are gazing at Lake Biwa.
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It is indeed like an art museum with numerous galleries on campus open to the public.
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Most of the time, the galleries show work by the students. They undergo a screening to get an exhibition slot, so you can bet that the quality is high.
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In Japanese. the university is called Seian Zokei Daigaku 成安造形大学.
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One of the larger galleries at Seian University.
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Window gallery at Seian University.
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Internet room
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The university also strives to take an active part in the local community and be an active contributor to the local community. For example, they recently published a well-illustrated brochure created by students to introduce eateries along the Kosei Line.
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This is sculpture by Hiromu Okuda (奥田博士), a Shiga-born artist.
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Seian University of Art and Design is Shiga’s sole art university. It’s a small university with about 800 students or 200 students per class from freshman to senior. It offers five programs/faculties and over half of the students belong to the Illustr
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The university also has a pleasant cafeteria called “Yui” near the lake shore where you can have lunch.
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