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Higashiomi, Shiga

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''[ More Higashi-Omi photos here].''
* [ Higashi-Omi Giant Kite Festival 東近江大凧まつり] - ''(Note: This kite festival has been cancelled for May 2016 due Due to a tragic kite crash in May 2015. Whether it , this kite festival will no longer be resumed from 2017 held until ongoing litigation is yet to be determinedresolved. This kite festival has not been held since 2016.)'' Formerly the Yokaichi Giant Kite Festival, the symbol of Higashiomi (especially Yokaichi), this giant kite festival is the city's biggest event, one of Shiga's major festivals, and one of Japan's major giant kite festivals. It is held annually on the last Sunday of May along the Echigawa Riverbank at Fureai Undo Park in Notogawa. (Note that the festival site has moved to Fureai Undo Park from 2013.) The giant kite is made of paper and a bamboo frame. A new one is made every three years ([ photos here]), with a new design each time. The kite design, called hanjimon (判じもん), always has a twin pair of creatures and a large kanji character. Together they form a thematic catch phrase based on word play. After a design theme like "Life" or "Health" is decided, kite designs are solicited from the public every three years for the new giant kite. The winning designer receives 20,000 yen. On festival day, the public can sign up to pull the giant kite as well. With enough wind, the giant kite can stay aloft for a long time. From Yokaichi Station, there are shuttle buses going to the festival site. [ Map]
* [ Higashi-Omi Giant Kite Museum 東近江大凧会館] - Formerly the Yokaichi Giant Kite Museum, the Higashi-Omi Giant Kite Museum exhibits the giant kite used previously for the Giant Kite Festival, as well as many different kites from all over Japan and the world. Very impressive. Walk or take a bus from Ohmi Railways Yokaichi Station. [ Map]
* [ Gokasho 五個荘] - Traditional and grand homes of successful Omi shonin merchants. Four of them are open to the public, and the Omi Merchant Museum is also of interest. The Omi merchants' backbone philosophy strived to benefit all three parties concerned: The seller, customer, and society at large. Near Ohmi Railways Gokasho Station or take a bus from JR Notogawa Station. Road signs and free maps make it easy to find the homes and museum. [ Map]
* [ Eigenji 永源寺] - Established in 1361by Zen Rinzai Sect priest and poet Jakushitsu Genko (寂室 元光 1290-1367) , 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 [[Ohmi Railways]] or from Hyakusaiji. Admission 500 yen. [ Map]
* [ Hyakusaiji 百済寺] - 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 is noted for spring flowers and autumn foilage and also gives a good view of Lake Biwa. The main temple hall worships an 11-faced Kannon statue carved by Shotoku Taishi. Admission 500 600 yen. In spring and fall, buses run from [[Yokaichi Station]]. Or 15 min. by taxi. [ Map]
*[ Notogawa Waterwheel] - Giant waterwheel made of wood in a large, lakeside park near Lake Biwa. A small waterwheel museum also shows how a waterwheel is used to grind grain or pound mochi. Great place for bicycling. Also canoeing. [ Map]
*If you see the Higashiomi Giant Kite Festival, you can apply on-site to pull the giant kite. You will have to run for 50 meters or so, so don't carry a rucksack or camera when pulling the kite.
*Starting your Gokasho tour from [[Notogawa Station]] by bus (get off at Iki-iki-kan-mae bus stop) might be better than starting from Gokasho Station. The Iki-iki-kan center has a tourist info office, whereas Gokasho has no tourist info office.
*To see Eigenji in Nov., take a bus from [[Yokaichi Station]]. Buy a discount bus pass good for two days which you can use visit Eigenji and the [ Koto Sanzan Temple Trio].
== Getting There ==
*[ Japan’s oldest clay figure in Higashi-Omi] - June 19, 2010
*[ Yokaichi Giant Kite crashes into bamboo] - June 3, 2007
*[東近江/ How to spell 東近江?] - September 18, 2006
[ ''More Higashi-Omi news here.'']
==Miscellaneous = Recent News and Weather ===The latest five headlines for Higashi-Omi from [ Shiga News] are displayed below. Click to view the latest stories.
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[ ''More Higashi-Omi news here.'']
== Miscellaneous ==
=== Trivia ===
*The city is Shiga's third largest city in area.
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[[Category:HigashiOmi, Shiga]]
[[Category:Shiga Prefecture]]

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