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Map of central Otsu and lakefront. It is quite easy to walk or bicycle along the lake shore in central Otsu, starting from Hama-Otsu.
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Hama-Otsu Station on the Keihan Line
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Otsu Port
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Michigan paddlewheel boat is based at Otsu Port. Daily cruises offered.
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Otsu Castle site. There's a lot of open land here, so it would be great if they decided to reconstruct the castle. A perfect location for a castle.
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Otsu Castle site
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Otsu Castle marker
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Central Otsu lakefront
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Nightly water fountain show at Otsu Port. MAP
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Central Otsu lakefront is rocky most of the way, with no beaches.
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Fishing in summer.
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Biwako Bunkakan museum is right on the shore, even over the water. It's a landmark, but a tacky-looking castle replica housed a cultural and art museum and gallery.
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Biwako Bunkakan museum closed in March 2008. The museum was known for Buddhist art, including National Treasures. It has been here for as long as most Otsu residents can remember.
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It used to be a lake fish aquarium as well before the Lake Biwa Museum opened in Kusatsu.
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Entrance to Biwako Bunkakan museum. A lookout deck is on the top of this tower.
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Inside Biwako Bunkakan museum.
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Lookout deck in Biwako Bunkakan museum.
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Views from Biwako Bunkakan museum.
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View from Biwako Bunkakan museum, looking west.
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View from Biwako Bunkakan museum, looking east where Biwako Hall can be seen.
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View from Biwako Bunkakan museum, looking south toward the city.
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Monument where Akechi Mitsuhide's younger brother Samanosuke rode his horse as it swam in the lake to Sakamoto Castle in June 1582. Now a legend.Upon hearing of his brother's defeat and death by Hideyoshi, Samanosuke rushed back to Sakamoto Castle where he committed suicide.
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Lakefront
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Biwako Hall, Shiga's most modern concert hall.
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Piazza Omi contains a hotel, passport office, and the Shiga Intercultural Association for Globalization.
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Otsu's nice lakefront walking promenade in an area called Nagisa Koen Park in Nionohama. Notice the box on the right... なぎさ公園
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Fish disposal box for black bass and blue gill and other invasive species. If you catch one, don't throw it back into the lake. Dispose of it in this box or take it home.Be sure to close the cover to keep cats out. If you catch a non-native fish like black bass and blue gill fish in the lake, they urge you to bring it in and throw it away in this bin. They don't want you to throw it back into the lake.
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Artificial shoreline is actually not good for the lake ecologically. They should grow reeds instead.
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Approaching Otsu Prince Hotel, major landmark visible from afar.
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Otsu Prince Hotel MAP
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At the top of Otsu Prince Hotel is a restaurant called Top of Otsu. See grand views of the city and Lake Biwa on sunny days. Order a soft drink which should be affordable. It's worth the views to be had.
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Central Otsu as seen from Top of Otsu.
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Otsu lakefront as seen from Top of Otsu.
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Otsu and Lake Biwa as seen from the top of Otsu Prince Hotel.
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Michigan cruising on Lake Biwa.
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Panoramic photo of the southeastern shore of Lake Biwa as seen from Top of Otsu.
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Southern Lake Biwa
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Omi Ohashi Bridge at the southern tip of Lake Biwa. 近江大橋
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Now on the lake shore heading toward Omi Ohashi Bridge.
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Stoney beach
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Rocky shore
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Omi Ohashi Bridge
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Omi Ohashi Bridge 近江大橋
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Omi Ohashi Bridge and Mt. Mikami
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Approaching Zeze Castle Park
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Bridge going to Zeze Castle Park
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Zeze Castle Park
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Gate to Zeze Castle Park with cherry blossoms in full bloom in April. 膳所城跡公園 MAP
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Zeze Castle wall
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Zeze Castle gate and cherry blossoms.
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Gate to Zeze Castle Park 膳所城跡公園
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Zeze Castle's main path to the lake shore is lined with cherry trees.
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Zeze Castle Park, Otsu.
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Zeze Castle monument 膳所城跡公園
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Zeze Castle monument. This park was part of the Honmaru. The castle was on a peninsula jutting into Lake Biwa. It was one of Japan's greatest lakeside castles. 膳所城跡公園
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Zeze Castle was built in 1601 upon the order of Tokugawa Ieyasu after he won the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. He dismantled Otsu Castle and assigned Zeze Castle as a guard for the Tokaido Road.
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Zeze Castle was controlled by a fudai daimyo, a lord with close ties to the Tokugawa. It was considered a strategic location being close to the Tokaido Road and Seta-no-Karahashi Bridge.
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The first Zeze Castle lord was Toda Kazuaki who moved from Otsu Castle. The Zeze-han domain was thereby established. The castle was abolished in 1870. 戸田 一西.
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Zeze Castle Park also has No. 4 High School cherry blossoms planted here in memory of the college rowers from Kanazawa University who died in a rowing accident on Lake Biwa in April 1941.
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About the No. 4 High School (Yonko) cherry blossoms planted in 1977. 四高桜
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Lakeside at Zeze Castle Park.
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Lakeside at Zeze Castle Park with Omi Ohashi Bridge in the distance.
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Gift coupons in exchange for black bass and blue gill fish. If you catch a non-native fish like black bass and blue gill fish in the lake, don't throw it back into the lake. This was at Zeze Castle park.
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Walking path along Zeze Castle Park.
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Local community center designed after Zeze Castle.
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Leaving Zeze Castle
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Lake front near Zeze Castle Park. Finally we see reeds.
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More rocky lakeshore
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Pine trees of Awazu. One of the Eight Views of Omi is now a non-scenic, semi-industrial road.
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Pine trees of Awazu. This road is near the lakeshore. 粟津
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Clearing Storm at Awazu from his "Omi Hakkei" (Eight Views of Omi) series.
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Clearing Storm at Awazu from his "Omi Hakkei" (Eight Views of Omi) series. Zeze Castle can be clearly seen.
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Old postcard showing the pine trees of Awazu.
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Biwako Motorboat Race Course. Biwako Kyotei びわこ競艇場
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Find some gamblers here inside the Biwako Kyotei stands. It's a modern and comfortable indoor facility.
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Place your bets.
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A lot of older women were also there.
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Biwako motorboat race in Otsu.
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You can also watch the motorboat races outside.
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Start line. Note that you will need to apply for and obtain a permit to photograph the motor boat races. Otherwise, they will stop you from shooting.
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Go!
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Biwako Motorboat race
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Scoreboard
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Different boats on Lake Biwa.
   
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