Torahime-cho, Shiga

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Torahime, Shiga (虎姫町; Torahime-chō)
Torahime Station Torahime Station More Torahime photos here.
Map of Shiga with Torahime highlighted
Google Map of Torahime here.
Location Shiga Prefecture, Kinki region, Honshu island, JAPAN  
Population 5,553 (2008-03-01)
Area 9.45 km²
Town Centers Torahime Station, Mt. Toragozen-yama 
Major Sights Gomura Betsuin, Mt. Toragozen-yama 
Major Gateways JR Torahime Station 
Train Stations Torahime Station 
Claim to Fame Tiger Princess
Products Rice
Neighbors Nagahama, Kohoku-cho 
Old Name(s)
Keywords Tiger Princess
Historical Persons Gansan Daishi, Tanaka Yoshimasa
Links Torahime Articles | Torahime Photos
Torahime Tourist Information
Location Torahime Town Hall, Sangyo Shinko-ka
Phone (0749) 73-4850 
Tourist Links Torahime Tourism  
Int'l Association Web site Tel:  
Volunteer Guides Tel:  
Torahime Town Hall 虎姫町役場
Address 〒529-0141滋賀県東浅井郡虎姫町五村106

Gomura 106, Torahime-cho, Higashi-Azai-gun, Shiga, JAPAN 529-0141

Phone/Fax (0749) 73-3001 
Official Site Japanese | English  
Symbols Flower:  Camellia sasanqua
Tree:  Narcissus
Bird: 
Others:  Tiger Princess character
Logo:  Stylized symbol for "Tora" in hiragana.
Sister Towns

by Philbert Ono

Torahime (虎姫町; -chō) was a town in Shiga Prefecture. It was dissolved as a municipality upon the town's merger with the city of Nagahama on Jan. 1, 2010.

Note that this Web page will no longer be updated. For the latest photos and news about the Torahime area, please refer to the Nagahama page for travel info and the Nagahama gallery page for photos.

Torahime is most famous for its unusual name. "Tora" means tiger, and "hime" means princess: Tiger Princess Town. Fans of the Hanshin Tigers baseball team in Osaka sometimes come to Torahime and pray for victory. There's even a Tiger Princess shrine at Torahime Station where you can pray for victory.

Torahime is also noted for Gomura Betsuin temple which has buildings designated as Important Cultural Properties. Torahime High School is also one of Shiga's oldest high schools and has one of Shiga's highest rates of college-bound students.

Small in both area and population, landlocked Torahime on a map of Shiga looks like it is about to be swallowed by neighboring city Nagahama. A very rural town with many rice paddies, Torahime is relatively flat with few mountains. Mt. Ibuki, Shiga's highest mountain in Maibara, can be seen from almost everywhere in Torahime. Town residents also depend a lot on Nagahama for daily living such as shopping, dining, medical care, and entertainment.

Sights

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Gomura Betsuin temple Gyokusenji temple Seated Kannon
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Maruyama Tumulus Jiyukan Hall Yaai Shrine
  • Gomura Betsuin 五村別院 - Torahime's most noted sight and an Important Cultural Property is a Buddhist temple of the Jodo Shinshu Sect's Otani School (Higashi Hongwanji). The temple was founded in 1597 to welcome Kyonyo Shonin who was the founder of the Jodo Shinshi Sect's Otani School when Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu gave him land in Kyoto in 1602 for his new temple known as Higashi Hongwanji. The Hondo main hall was reconstructed in 1730 and the front gate was built in 1674. Both structures are Important Cultural Properties. The temple also has Japan's only bronze statue of Kyonyo Shonin. Within walking distance from Torahime Station.
  • Gyokusenji 玉泉寺 - Buddhist temple of the Tendai Sect, commonly called Gansan Daishi, after the priest Gansan Daishi 元三大師 (912-985) whose birthplace is near the temple. Gansan Daishi entered the priesthood at age 17 on Mt. Hiei's Enryakuji temple. In 966, he became the 18th head priest of the Tendai Sect at Enryakuji. The current Hondo main hall was reconstructed in 1780.
  • Mt. Toragozen-yama - A series of low hills capped by camping bungalows. There a number of tumuli as well as Yaai Shrine for archery. Lookout point gives a great view of Torahime. Beautiful for cherry blossoms in spring. Easy hike to the top. Within walking distance from Torahime Station.
  • Maruyama Tumulus - A small ancient tumulus next to Torahime Jiyukan Hall. Near the foot of Mt. Toragozen-yama and within walking distance from Torahime Station.
  • Torahime Jiyukan 虎姫時遊館 - Adjacent to Maruyama Tumulus, Jiyukan is a cultural and exhibition hall with meeting rooms for rent and exhibition space. There is also a lounge where you can sit and rest. Tourist information also available. Near the foot of Mt. Toragozen-yama and within walking distance from Torahime Station.
  • Takawa River Culvert 田川カルバート - To prevent flooding from three rivers flowing through the town, a culvert was built in 1885 to direct the Takawa River to flow under another river called Kojigawa. The current culvert was rebuilt in 1966.

Event Calendar

  • Jan.-Feb.: Okonai オコナイ - To pray for village safety and rich harvest, each village or district holds a procession or other event.
  • Mar. 15: Gyokusenji Nehan-e 玉泉寺 涅槃会 - To mark the anniversary of Buddha's death, a memorial service is held at Gyokusenji temple and good fortune mochi is tossed to worshippers.
  • April 5: Mizuhiki Shrine Grand Spring Festival 水引神社 春の大祭 - Small shrine dedicated to the Takawa River Culvert holds a spring festival.
  • Aug. 5-10: Gomura Betsuin Summer Service 五村別院 夏中法要 - Memorial services and sermons held at the temple.
  • Aug. 7: Gyokusenji Gansan Daishi Water-changing Ritual 玉泉寺 元三大師水替え行事 -
  • Aug.-Sept.: Tomyo Lantern Festival 灯明祭 - Lanterns decorate the shrines and temples as a prayer of thanks for a rich harvest and family safety.
  • Oct. 28-31: Gomura Betsuin Hoonko Service 五村別院 報恩講 - The most important Buddhist service in the Jodo Shinshu Sect. It is to express thanks to St. Shinran (1173-1262), founder of the Jodo Shinshu Sect.
  • Dec. 5: Mizuhiki Shrine Grand Autumn Festival 水引神社 春の大祭 - Small shrine dedicated to the Takawa River Culvert holds an autumn festival.

Travel Tips

  • There is no tourist information in English. All the tourist pamphlets available on a rack at Torahime Station are in Japanese. No tourist info counter either. However, the Jiyukan exhibition hall (next to Maruyama Tumulus) has staff who can give sightseeing advice in Japanese.

Torahime Station has an Italian restaurant where you can eat while you wait for your train.

Getting There

By Train

JR Torahime Station on the Hokuriku Main Line is the town's only train station.

Train Lines & Stations

Travel Time

By Bus

Nearest Airports

Getting Around

Within Torahime, there is virtually no public transportation for tourists. However, most sights are within walking distance from Torahime Station.

By bus

Local buses (operated by Kokoku Bus) run from Torahime Station (to Nagahama Hospital and Nagahama Station), but only once or twice a day, in the early morning or evening only.

By bicycle

No rental bicycles in Torahime.

By taxi

Taxis can be called at Torahime Station. Ask the station office for the phone No.

Maps

Google Map placemarks have English text.


View Larger Map

  • [http Sightseeing Map of Torahime]

Photos

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Gomura Betsuin temple Gyokusenji temple Gansan Daishi Seated Kannon
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Ibuki-hime Mt. Toragozen Yaai Shrine Takawa Culvert

More photos at Torahime Photos. More Shiga photos here.

Videos

History

  • 1889 - Torahime village founded on April 1.
  • 1940 - Torahime town founded on Dec. 10.
  • 2010 - Torahime is dissolved as a municipality upon its merger with Nagahama on Jan. 1, 2010.

Miscellaneous

Recent News

  • On March 24, 2008, a new multi-purpose space in front of Torahime Station was completed. Nicknamed "Coco," it will be used for various events, flea markets, entertainment, etc.

Trivia

Famous People

Gansan Daishi 元三大師 (912-985)
Buddhist priest of the Tendai Sect born in Mikawa, Torahime-cho. Gyokusenji temple is built near his birthplace in Torahime. Entered the priesthood at age 17 on Mt. Hiei's Enryakuji temple. In 966, he became the 18th head priest of the Tendai Sect at Enryakuji. He renovated the dilapidated temple buildings, and promoted education and scholarship on Mt. Hiei. Since he died on Jan. 3, he has been called "Gansan" (3rd of the New Year). He also is noted for omikuji fortunes.

Side Trips

Other sights in neighboring cities/towns within easy reach from Torahime.

  • Odani Castle ruins

Related Articles

External Links

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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