Shiga Prefecture Municipalities

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Municipalities of Shiga.

by Philbert Ono

As of Mar. 21, 2010, Shiga has 13 cities (-shi; 市), 6 towns (-cho; 町), and no villages (-mura; 村).

Being next to Kyoto, Shiga has many residents who commute to Kyoto from the southern cities such as Kusatsu, Moriyama, and Otsu.

Shiga also has the following regions: Kohoku (north of lake) which includes Maibara and Nagahama cities; Kosei (west of lake) which includes Takashima city; Koto (east of lake) which includes Higashi Omi , Hikone and Omi-Hachiman; and Konan (south of lake) which includes Otsu, Kusatsu, Moriyama, Ritto, Yasu, Konan, and Koka cities.

On Jan. 1, 2010, the six northern towns of Torahime, Kohoku, Takatsuki, Kinomoto, Yogo, and Nishi-Azai merged with Nagahama. On March 21, 2010, Omi-Hachiman and Azuchi merged.

Cities

The major cities are Otsu (capital), Hikone, Nagahama, HigashiOmi, and Maibara. *Asterisked sites are in English.

  • Konan (湖南市) - This small, inland city includes Ishibe-juku which was a former post town on the Tokaido Road. The post town is replicated by the Ishibe Shukuba no Sato, an outdoor architectural museum showing typical buildings from the old days. Ishibe also has a trio of National Treasure temples collectively called "Konan Sanzan" (Konan's Temple Trio). They are Jorakuji Temple, Chojuji Temple, and Zensuiji Temple. The city was formed in 2004 upon the merger of Kosei-cho and Ishibe-cho towns. Train stations: JR Kusatsu Line Ishibe Station, Kosei Station, Mikumo Station | Photos | Official site
  • Kusatsu (草津市) - A former stage town at the crossroads of the Nakasendo and Tokaido Roads leading to Kyoto. The city has a well-preserved Honjin lodge where feudal lords, emperors, and other VIPs (including Emperor Meiji) passing through town stayed during the feudal era. The city celebrates its post town past with the annual Kusatsu Shukuba Matsuri Festival on April 29 featuring a colorful daimyo procession. Kusatsu also has Karasuma Peninsula, the site of a large lotus pond and the Lake Biwa Museum and aquarium. A perfect place to learn more about the lake's history, ecology, and wildlife. Train stations: JR Tokaido Line Kusatsu Station, Minami-Kusatsu Station; | Photos | Official site
  • Nagahama (長浜市) - Historic lakeside city anchoring northern Shiga. Popular with tourists, Nagahama has many sights easily accessible on foot from Nagahama Station. Near Lake Biwa is the reconstructed Nagahama Castle (local history museum), Hokoen Park noted for cherry blossoms and plum blossoms, and Kurokabe Square, a glassware shop. Central Nagahama also has a nice shopping arcade leading to the Hikiyama Float Museum and Daitsuji temple. Held in mid-April, the Hikiyama Festival is famous for young boys performing kabuki plays on ornate floats. Chikubushima island, in the middle of northern Lake Biwa, is also part of Nagahama and easily accessible by boat from Nagahama Port. The small island has a temple complex called Hogonji which includes National Treasures. In Feb. 2006, neighboring towns Azai-cho and Biwa-cho merged with Nagahama. On Jan. 1, 2010, the six northern towns of Kinomoto, Torahime, Kohoku, Nishi-Azai, Yogo, and Takatsuki merged with Nagahama. Train stations: JR Hokuriku Main Line Nagahama Station | Photos | Official site
  • Omi-Hachiman (近江八幡市) - A former castle town and merchant town with many remnants of its historical past. The heart of the city is Hachiman-bori, a former castle moat and a short bus ride from Omi-Hachiman Station. Noted for cherry blossoms, the moat is next to Mt. Hachimanyama, site of the old castle and accessible by ropeway. Near Hachiman-bori are former Omi merchant homes along a side street called Shin-machi-dori. Also visit the Kawara Roof Tile Museum and Hakuunkan, an eye-catching Western-style building. The Sagicho Matsuri festival is also held in the Hachiman-bori area in mid-March. Away from the city center is a secondary lake called Lake Nishinoko famous for Suigo boat rides through the reeds, and Chomeiji temple for people praying for long life. The city was also home for missionary and architect William Merrell Vories (1880-1964) who came from Leavenworth, Kansas and designed many Western-style buildings in and outside the city. On March 21, 2010, Omi-Hachiman and neighboring Azuchi town merged. Azuchi is famous nationally as the site of Oda Nobunaga's Azuchi Castle after which the Azuchi-Momoyama Period of Japanese history is named. Train stations: JR Tokaido Line Omi-Hachiman Station, Shinohara Station; Ohmi Railways Omi-Hachiman Station, Musa| Photos | Official site*
  • Ritto (栗東市) - Landlocked city in the south, best known for the JRA horse-racing training grounds. Public tours of the facility are available. Ritto also has ancient burial mounds and a museum displaying related artifacts. In Oct. 2007, it was forced to give up building a new shinkansen station due to the lack of support from the prefecture. Train stations: JR Tokaido Line Ritto Station; JR Kusatsu Line Tehara Station | Photos | Official site
  • Yasu (野洲市) - Formed in Oct. 2004 through the merger of Chuzu-cho and Yasu-cho towns. Home to Shiga's Mt. Fuji named Mt. Mikami, alias Omi-Fuji. Kibogaoka Park is also huge and a great place to play and be with nature. Train stations: JR Tokaido Line Yasu Station | Photos | Official site

Towns and Villages

Towns (-cho; 町) and villages (-mura; 村) are grouped into non-administrative counties (-gun; 郡). Due to municipal mergers, Shiga no longer has villages. *Asterisked sites are in English.

  • Gamou-gun (蒲生郡)
    • Hino-cho (日野町) - Shiga's largest town in area is landlocked and surrounded by other cities such as Higashi-Omi and Koka. Hino merchant homes are one sight to see. Train stations: Ohmi Railways Hino Station | Photos | Official site
    • Ryuo-cho (竜王町) - Little-known town with no train station, but a few temples and spring festivals make it a worthwhile visit. | Photos | Official site

Municipal Mergers

As of March 21, 2010, Shiga has 13 cities (-shi; 市), 6 towns (-cho; 町), and no villages (-mura; 村). This is less than half the number of municipalities before the Heisei Municipal Mergers when there were 7 cities, 42 towns, and 1 village in Shiga as of Sep. 30, 2001. Heisei Municipal Mergers between April 1, 1999 and March 21, 2010 are as follows:

  • 2004
    • October 1: The towns of Chuzu-cho and Yasu-cho merged to form Yasu city. Yasu-gun was thereby dissolved.
    • October 1: The towns of Kosei-cho and Ishibe-cho merged to form Konan city.
    • October 1: The towns of Koka-cho, Minakuchi-cho, Shigaraki-cho, Tsuchiyama-cho, and Konan-cho merged to form Koka city. Koka-gun was thereby dissolved.
  • 2005
    • January 1: All five towns and one village in the former Takashima-gun comprising Adogawa-cho, Imazu-cho, Shinasahi-cho, Makino-cho, and Takashima-cho towns and Kutsuki-mura village merged to form Takashima city. Takashima-gun was thereby dissolved.
    • February 11: Yokaichi city and the towns of Eigenji-cho, Gokasho-cho, Aito-cho, and Koto-cho merged to form HigashiOmi city. Yokaichi and the four towns were thereby dissolved.
    • February 14: Maihara-cho, Santo-cho, and Ibuki-cho towns in Sakata-gun merged to form Maibara city.
    • October 1: Sakata-gun's remaining town of Omi-cho merge with Maibara, and Sakata-gun was thereby dissolved.
  • 2006
    • January 1: Lakeside town of Notogawa and Ryuou-cho town merge with HigashiOmi.
    • February 13: Neighboring towns Azai-cho and Biwa-cho merge with Nagahama.
    • March 20: Shiga-cho in Shiga-gun merged with Otsu. Shiga-gun was thereby dissolved.
  • 2010
    • January 1: The six northern towns of Kinomoto-cho, Torahime-cho, Kohoku-cho, Nishi-Azai-cho, Yogo-cho, and Takatsuki-cho merge with Nagahama.
    • March 21: Omi-Hachiman and Azuchi merge.

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Municipalities of Shiga Prefecture 滋賀県
Cities & Towns: Aisho-cho | Higashi-Omi | Hikone | Hino-cho | Koka | Konan | Kora-cho | Kusatsu | Maibara | Moriyama | Nagahama | Omi-Hachiman | Otsu | Ritto | Ryuo-cho | Taga-cho | Takashima | Toyosato-cho | Yasu
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