|Maibara, Shiga (米原市; Maibara-shi)|
|Mishima Pond and Mt. Ibuki. More Maibara photos here.|
|Location||Shiga Prefecture, Kinki region, Honshu island, JAPAN|
|Population||38,997 (364 foreigners) (2014-06-01)|
|City Centers||Maibara Station, Omi-Nagaoka, Samegai, Ibuki|
|Major Sights||Mt. Ibuki, Samegai Trout Farm, Mishima Pond|
|Major Gateways||JR Maibara Station (JR Tokaido Main Line, Tokaido Shinkansen)|
|Train Stations||Kashiwabara Station, Omi-Nagaoka Station, Samegai Station, and Maibara Station on JR Tokaido Main Line and Biwako Line; Sakata Station on JR Hokuriku Main Line; Maibara Station on Ohmi Railways|
|Claim to Fame||Maibara Station is a shinkansen train station and gateway to the Hokuriku region. Mt. Ibuki is Shiga's tallest mountain.|
|Products||Ibuki soba, Ibuki milk, mogusa|
|Neighbors||Nagahama, Hikone, Sekigahara (Gifu)|
|Old Name(s)||Maihara-cho, Ibuki-cho, Santo-cho, Omi-cho, Sakata-gun|
|Keywords||Ibuki-yama, Maibara Station|
|Historical Persons||Chiyo (wife of Lord Yamauchi Kazutoyo)|
|Links||Maibara Articles | Maibara Photos|
|Maibara Tourist Information|
|Location||Maibara City Hall, Ibuki Branch|
|Tourist Links||City Tourism|
|Volunteer Guides||Tel: 0749-58-2227|
|Maibara City Hall 米原市役所|
山東庁舎: 〒521-0292長岡 1206
|Phone/Fax||米原庁舎 (Maihara): 0749-52-1551|
山東庁舎 (Santo): 0749-55-2040
|Official Site||Japanese | English|
|Others:||Mt. Ibuki, Japanese firefly, ducks|
by Philbert Ono
The Roof of Shiga
Maibara (米原市; Maibara-shi) is a city in northeastern Shiga Prefecture, Japan. The west end of the city fronts Lake Biwa, the north borders on Nagahama, and the mountainous east side borders on Sekigahara, Gifu Prefecture. It is best known nationally for JR Maibara Station which is Shiga's one and only shinkansen bullet train station and one of Shiga's main gateways. Maibara Station is also a transfer point between the busy Tokaido Main Line and Hokuriku Main Line which goes to the Hokuriku region. It is also a terminal station for Ohmi Railways which goes mainly to Higashi-Omi. Maibara is right between Hikone and Nagahama cities.
Much of the city is still quite rural, with the population scattered over a wide area in former towns, most of them along the Tokaido Main Line. Even the area around Maibara Station is not highly developed, although it has a decent department store (Heiwado) and the local city hall. The old Nakasendo Road also passes through Maibara where Kashiwabara, Samegai, and Banba were former post towns or stations called shukuba. Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu have all lodged at Kashiwabara-juku while they were traveling along the Nakasendo.
The northern area is anchored by Mt. Ibuki, the city's most prominent landmark and Shiga's tallest mountain. Being in northern Shiga, Maibara often sees snow in winter, especially in and around the Ibuki mountains. The Anegawa River and Amanogawa River empty into Lake Biwa, and about 70 percent of the city comprises forest land. The city thus boasts an abundance of water and greenery.
One major issue that was recently at the forefront in Maibara (and Shiga) is the routing of the Hokuriku shinkansen's last leg to be built from Tsuruga (Fukui Pref.) to Shin-Osaka. Maibara and Shiga Prefecture wanted it to go through Maibara Station ("Maibara Route") instead of Obama (Fukui) or Maizuru (Kyoto) which were two other alternatives being considered by the railway company. However, in mid-Dece,ber 2016, it was announced that the Obama-Kyoto Route was selected. Although going through Maibara would be the cheapest and most cost-effective, JR favored going through Obama since it would offer lower fares and shorter travel times than the other proposed routes.
For the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Shiga Prefecture and Maibara will host New Zealand's field hockey team.
|Mishima Pond||Mt. Ibuki in summer||Tokugen-in|
|Mt. Ibuki||Ibuki-yama Taiko Drums||Baikamo flowers|
|Kazutoyo+Chiyo||Samegai Trout Farm||Suijo Hachiman Taiko Drum Dance|
- Mt. Ibuki 伊吹山 - With an elevation of 1,377.4 meters, Mt. Ibuki is Shiga Prefecture's tallest mountain and popular for flower viewing and hiking in spring and summer and skiing in winter although the snow is not as good as before. A gondola and ski lifts carry you toward the top which affords fine views of Lake Biwa and the surrounding area. Going to the summit in summer is the best time when alpine flowers are in bloom, and short hiking trails make it very pleasant. It is one of Japan's 100 most famous peaks. The nearest station is Omi-Nagaoka Station from where local buses go to Mt. Ibuki. To reach the summit, take a bus from Sekigahara Station in neighboring Gifu taking you on the Ibuki-yama Driveway. Map
- Mishima Pond 三島池 - A small pond with a view of Mt. Ibuki. Especially picturesque during cherry blossom season and winter with snow. Migratory ducks also flock to the pond. There is also a visitor's center showing the wildlife (especially birds) in the pond. Map
- Samegai Trout Farm 醒井養鱒場 - Established in 1878 and operated by Shiga Prefecture, the Samegai Trout Farm is Asia's largest trout farm with many trout ponds. You can rent a fishing pole and fish for trout. There is also a shallow pond where children can try catch (and release) the trout. Riverside restaurants also serve fresh trout. Take a bus or taxi from Samegai Station. Map
- Nakasendo post towns - The Nakasendo was an old highway linking Kyoto with Edo (present-day Tokyo). The highway had 67 post towns or stations where travelers could lodge and rest. These towns had inns (including the exclusive Honjin reserved for daimyo lords and other VIPs), teahouses, shops, and travel agents called toiya-ba. Woodblock artist Hiroshige made these towns famous with his woodblock prints. Shiga has ten former Nakasendo post stations. Three of them are in Maibara: Kashiwabara-juku, Samegai-juku, and Bamba-juku. Even today, you can see a few remnants of these old lodging towns.
- Kashiwabara-juku 柏原宿 was the 60th post town (shukuba) of the 69 stations on the Nakasendo Road. It is the first Nakasendo station in Shiga (following Imasu-juku in Gifu). This quiet village has worked to restore its post-town past with homes and buildings along the Nakasendo built or converted to the traditional style. Most of the homes fronting the old Nakasendo are traditional-looking. The most famous building is the Kameya shop 亀屋. It still makes Ibuki mugwort used for moxibustion. The shop is depicted in Hiroshige's print of Kashiwabara-juku. Inside is also the giant Fukusuke statue, another symbol of Kashiwabara-juku. The shop is not open to the public. Also visit the Kashiwabara-juku History Museum showing various artifacts related to the post town. Another kilometer away is Kiyotaki Tokugen-in 清滝・徳源院, noted for fall leaves and the Kyogoku clan's graves. Nearby is the grave of Kitabatake Tomoyuki-kyo (1290-1332) who was a high-ranking Imperial Court official during the late Kamakura Period. Another noted temple is Jobodaiin where famous war lords (Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, etc.) once stayed. Everything is within walking distance from JR Kashiwabara Station on the JR Tokaido Line. Map
- Samegai-juku 醒井宿 was the 61st post town (shukuba) of the 69 stations on the Nakasendo Road. The main feature is the Jizogawa River, an exceptionally clear and clean river. In summer, the little baikamo flowers in the clear river attracts large crowds. Along the Nakasendo road is former Toiya-ba and a former post office designed by William Vories. Also explore the side streets where you might find one of Japan's 100 best natural springs: Isame-no-Shozu (居醒の清水). Toward the mountains is Samegai Trout Farm. Map
- Bamba-juku 番場宿 was the 62nd post town (shukuba) of the 69 stations on the Nakasendo Road. It is the third Nakasendo station in Shiga (following Samegai-juku). No original post-town buildings remain, but the sites of former post-town buildings (including the Honjin) are marked with signs. The only exception is Rengeji temple, Bamba-juku's most prominent attraction. Rengeji is famous as the place where security chief (Rokuhara Tandai) Hojo Nakatoki 北条仲時 and over 430 of his men committed suicide after being defeated by Ashikaga Takauji's forces during the fall of the Kamakura shogunate in 1333. Closest station is Maibara Station and Samegai Station. Somewhat far to walk from either station. Take a bus or taxi from Maibara Station. Map
- Green Park Santo - Sports, exhibition, and lodging facilities adjacent to Mishima Pond. Near Omi-Nagaoka Station. Map
- Amanogawa River - In June, fireflies come out at night. Parts of the river are designated as a protected areas for fireflies. Map
- Mt. Ryozen 霊仙山 - At an elevation of 1084 meters, a popular mountain for hiking. Nearest train station is Kashiwabara Station. Map
- Mid-Jan. to mid-Feb. - Kamo no Sato Bonsai Plum Tree Exhibition, beautiful miniature plum trees are exhibited at Green Park Santo. Map
- Early Feb. - Oku Ibuki Snow Fight, a snow fight contest and Kamakura Igloo Festival. Festival may be canceled if there is a lack of snow. Map
- April - Mishima Pond, cherry blossoms combine with the pond and Mt. Ibuki for a very picturesque scene. Map
- April 29 - Sakata Shinmeigu Yakko-buri Procession 坂田神明宮の蹴り奴振り, Reenacts the procession of Lord Ii Naonobu from Hikone when he came to worship at Sakata Shinmeigu Shrine in 1733 in Maibara. The men walk with a stylized, kicking action. It starts with a Shinto ceremony which includes dancing by shrine maidens. Held annually by Sakata Shinmeigu Shrine at 2 pm near JR Sakata Station (Hokuriku Line). Map
- May 3 - Nabe Kanmuri Festival, a parade of children wearing pot helmets. Map
- June - Samegai Baikamo Flowers in Samegai, pretty little underwater flowers which bloom in Jizogawa River. Map
- June - Santo Firefly Festival, Genji-botaru fireflies appear after dark along a river near Omi-Nagaoka. Map
- Third Mon. in Sept. - Hinade Shrine Sumo Odori Dance 奉納角力・角力おどり, Near JR Sakata Station (Hokuriku Line) is Mt. Hinodeyama with Hinode Jinja Shrine holding an annual sumo festival. It features mainly children's sumo and a sumo jinku dance by about 16 men. Map
- Sept. - Suijo Hachiman Shrine Taiko Drum Dance 春照八幡神社 太鼓おどり, a colorful and unique rain-making and rain thanksgiving taiko drum dance held by Suijo Hachiman Shrine in Maibara every 5 years. Last held in 2009. It starts with a procession slowly proceeding along 1 km to Suijo Hachiman Shrine. They include yakko-furi samurai laborers, yamabushi ascetic priests, flutists, and taiko drummers. Map
- Mid-Oct. - Maihara Hikiyama Festival 米原曳山まつり, held annually on the three-day weekend in Oct. around the 10th (Sports Day, a national holiday). Sunday is the main day. Maihara Hikiyama Matsuri has three ornate floats, but only one of them appears in the festival. The float features boys performing kabuki at few locations in the Maihara neighborhood of Maibara. Started in the 18th century, the Maihara Hikiyama Matsuri was inspired by the Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri. All three floats used to appear every year, then only two, and now only one float due to the fewer kids. Held by Yutani Shrine. Map
- Oct. - Asahi Honen Taiko Odori Dance 朝日豊年太鼓踊り, the area of Asahi in Maibara is home to the Asahi Honen Taiko drum troupe whose drum dance originated centuries ago to pray for rain. They perform their drumming and dancing after walking from Asahi to Hachiman Shrine. Map
- Oct. - Ibuki-yama Taiko Dance 伊吹山太鼓踊 - Held at the foot of Mt. Ibuki in Maibara, in a settlement called Ueno where you board the gndola to go up Mt. Ibuki. Long ago, villagers in Ueno prayed for rain by doing the thunder dance by beating drums and bells, lighting torches, etc. Then after the rainfall and a good harvest in autumn, they danced in appreciation. This thanksgiving dance is now performed only once every five years as a local festival at a small shrine in Ueno. Last held in Oct. 2010. Map
- Nov. - Tokugen-in Temple Fall Colors, Near Kashiwabara Station, this temple is painted with red and yellow leaves in Nov. Map
- Traveling by train within Maibara is the best and quickest way to get around. The train rides are short. Kashiwabara Station to Maibara Station takes less than 15 min., and Maibara Station to Nagahama Station is less than 10 min. However, many places of interest are quite far from the train station. Taking a bus (infrequent) or taxi is recommended. A local bus called Kamon Bus runs between major destinations, but infrequently. Taxis are available at Maibara Station, Samegai Station, and Omi-Nagaoka Station.
- If you like nature, visit Mt. Ibuki in spring and summer to see flowers, a few of them found only on Ibuki. Skiing is still possible in winter, but quantity and quality of the snow is not that good. Better to ski at Oku-Ibuki which is colder. Mishima Pond is most beautiful in winter when there is snow on Mt. Ibuki. It is also picturesque in spring for cherry blossoms. It is famous for migratory ducks. If you have kids, visit the Samegai Trout Farm where you can fish for trout or catch one with your bare hands in an open pool.
- History buffs should visit former stage towns Samegai and Kashiwabara which both have a history museum. For fall colors, Tokugen-in Temple near Kashiwabara is among the best in Shiga.
|Maibara's official mascots: fireflies|
The city is blessed with Maibara Station, its main train station which is also Shiga's one and only Tokaido Shinkansen station. The JR Tokaido Main Line, Biwako Line, Hokuriku Main Line, and Ohmi Railways also pass through Maibara Station, making Maibara easy to reach. The JR Tokaido Main Line has Kashiwabara Station, Omi-Nagaoka Station, Samegai Station, and Maibara Station. The Hokuriku Main Line has Sakata Station which is one stop from Maibara Station. Since it snows often in Maibara in winter, the trains and shinkansen might slow down or be delayed when passing through Maibara (especially between Sekigahara (Gifu) and Maibara Stations).
Train Lines & Stations
- JR Tokaido Shinkansen: Maibara Station
- JR Tokaido Main Line: Kashiwabara Station, Omi-Nagaoka Station, Samegai Station, Maibara Station
- JR Biwako Line: Maibara Station
- JR Hokuriku Main Line: Maibara Station, Sakata Station
- Ohmi Railways Main Line (Honsen): Maibara Station
- From Tokyo Station to Maibara Station: 2.5 hours via JR Tokaido Shinkansen Hikari. All Kodama trains and a few faster Hikari trains (about once an hour) stop at Maibara.
- From JR Nagoya Station to Maibara Station: About 25 min. to Maibara Station via Tokaido Shinkansen or 1 hr 15 min. via Tokaido Main Line (train transfer at Ogaki Station may be required).
- From JR Kyoto Station to Maibara Station: About 20 min. via Tokaido Shinkansen or about 50 min. via JR Tokaido/Biwako Line.
- From JR Hikone Station to Maibara Station: 5 min. via JR Tokaido/Biwako Line.
- From JR Nagahama Station to Maibara Station: 10 min. via JR Hokuriku/Biwako Line
- From Yokaichi Station to Maibara Station: 40 min. via Ohmi Railways.
- From JR Gifu Station to Maibara Station: About 40 min. to Maibara Station via Tokaido Line.
- From Maibara Station to Samegai Station: 6 min. via Tokaido Main Line
- From Maibara Station to Omi-Nagaoka Station: 10 min. via Tokaido Main Line
- From Maibara Station to Kashiwabara Station: 15 min. via Tokaido Main Line
- From Nagahama Station: 20-30 min.
- Kansai International Airport
- Central Japan International Airport (Centrair)
- Osaka International Airport
Maibara is served by three train lines and a local bus system. A community taxi service where passengers share a taxi is also available. Rental bicycles are available at Maibara Station (details below).
JR Tokaido Main Line going from Tokyo toward Kyoto:
- Kashiwabara Station 柏原駅 - The station after Sekigahara Station in Gifu. A former stage town on the Nakasendo Road. The Kashiwabara-juku History Museum, Tokugen-in Temple, and Kitabatake grave.
- Omi-nagaoka Station 近江長岡駅 - Gateway to Mt. Ibuki and Mishima Pond. Lucci Plaza, a community center with a public library and meeting facilities, the Santo Branch of Maibara City Hall, and sports and exhibition facility Green Park Santo are also nearby. Buses to Mt. Ibuki also stop here. Taxis available.
- Samegai Station 醒ケ井駅 - Former stage town on the Nakasendo Road. Famous for the Samegai Trout Farm and baikamo underwater river flowers in sumer. The station also has a small shopping and restaurant arcade.
- Maibara Station 米原駅 - Tokaido shinkansen bullet train stop and where the Tokaido/Biwako Line and Hokuriku Line intersect. You can transfer to the Hokuriku Line to travel to Fukui, Ishikawa, and Toyama Prefectures. Maibara City Hall is also nearby. Heiwado Dept. Store is on the west side of the station. Local buses and taxis available.
- Maibara Station - Tokaido shinkansen bullet train stop and where the Tokaido/Biwako Line and Hokuriku Line intersect. You can transfer to the Hokuriku Line to travel to Fukui, Ishikawa, and Toyama Prefectures. Maibara City Hall is also nearby. Heiwado Dept. Store is on the west side of the station.
- Sakata Station 坂田駅 - A statue of Lord Yamauchi Kazutoyo and Chiyo is nearby.
At Maibara Station, the Ohmi Railways bus operate buses which go to Nagahama.
On Oct. 8, 2016, the Maibara Station Cycle Station opened in Maibara Station's east exit to rent out bicycles. They have about 60 bicycles of different types. Rental rates start from ¥3,500 per day (¥4,500 on weekends and holidays). For an additional fee of ¥2,500, you can drop off the rented bicycle at one of seven locations: Kinomoto Station (tourist Info office), Makino Station (Makino Bussankan), Oku-Biwako Makino Grand Park Hotel, Biwa Lake Otsuka (near JR Omi-Maiko Station), Otsu Prince Hotel, Giant Store Biwako Moriyama, Hikone Station (Cycle Station in AL Plaza). Hours: 9 a.m.–6 p.m., closed Wed. and from early Dec. to Feb.
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More Shiga videos here.
- 1878 Samegai Trout Farm (Samegai Yosonjo) is established.
- 1889 Maibara Station opens.
- 1927 On Feb. 14, a world record of 11m 82cm of snow falls on Mt. Ibuki.
- 1931 Ohmi Railways Maibara Station opens.
- 1955 Santo-cho and Omi-cho towns established upon the merger of neighboring villages.
- 1956 Ibuki-cho and Maihara-cho towns established upon the merger of neighboring villages.
- 1964 Maibara Station starts operating as a Tokaido Line shinkansen bullet train station.
- February 14: Maibara is formed in 2005 upon the merger of Maihara-cho, Santo-cho, Ibuki-cho, and Omi-cho towns in Sakata-gun county which was subsequently dissolved.
- Oct. 1: The adjacent town of Omi-cho merges with Maibara. Sakata-gun county, to which all these four former towns belonged, was then dissolved.
Front wall of Tokugen-in Temple in Maibara fell over from the Sept. typhoon. Even by late Oct, they still had no plans to remove the debris due to the lack of manpower and funds. So two friends & I volunteered to clear it away in 3 days last week. Temple paid the truck. #徳源院 pic.twitter.com/RTMFqlhQR7— Shiga Headlines (@ShigaHeadlines) November 18, 2018
The tornado that hit Maibara on June 29 caused about ¥4 million of agricultural damage to greenhouses, storehouses, and fields. Also, heavy rains on July 5th–7th damaged about 150 ha of fields in Shiga, mainly soybeans in Ritto (26 ha), Takashima (19 ha), and Nagahama (16 ha).— Shiga Headlines (@ShigaHeadlines) July 17, 2018
June 29 at around 2 pm, a tornado hit Maibara & damaged 85 buildings & injured 6 people in the Asahi, Buma, & Kitagata districts. At least one home lost its roof. Ohara, Santo, & Daito Elementary Schools were damaged, but all students returned home safely. https://t.co/ZAJRKsqSgl— Shiga Headlines (@ShigaHeadlines) June 29, 2018
- Buddhist altars made in Maibara (Kami-nyu) - May 7, 2016
- Happy 50th Anniversary Tokaido Shinkansen - October 1, 2014
- History of skiing on Mt. Ibuki - February 12, 2014
- Oyako photo exhibition in Maibara Station - August 12, 2011
- Suijo Taiko Drum Dance and Hinade Sumo videos - September 30, 2009
- Maibara Station east-west corridor opens - March 22, 2009
- Maibara Sumo Tournament - October 22, 2008
- Samegai one of Japan’s 100 Best Springs - June 10, 2008
- Misspelled city hall sign - September 18, 2006
- The Shiga Prefectural Police Department has an Italian-made helicopter named "Ibuki."
- The city's name was based on the name of Japan Railways' Maibara Station which many people in Japan know as a bullet train station on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line.
- When Maibara Station started operating as a shinkansen bullet train station in 1964, it was the only bullet train station located in a town instead of a city (or Tokyo ward).
- The bullet train station was originally planned to be built in the more populous city of Hikone, but it was too expensive and the plan was scrapped. Maibara turned out to be more convenient for people traveling to and from the Hokuriku region.
- Mt. Ibuki, a symbol of Maibara and Shiga's highest mountain, also belongs to neighboring Gifu Prefecture. The mountain is accessible from Sekigahara in Gifu via a mountain road called Mt. Ibuki Driveway.
- From the Sakata area, wife of Lord Yamauchi Kazutoyo during the 17th century.
- Yamagata Hiro
- Print artist from Samegai. At least one of his posters hang in the Maibara City Hall.
Other sights in neighboring cities/towns within easy reach from Maibara.
- Hikone Castle - Hikone is 5 min. away from Maibara Station.
- Nagahama Castle - Nagahama is 10 min. away from Maibara Station.
- Ogaki Castle (Ogaki, Gifu) - Ogaki is about 20-30 min. from Maibara Station.
- Sekigahara - Scene of one of Japan's most famous battles. About 15 min. from Maibara Station.
Maibara is also close enough for day trips to Gifu, Nagoya, Kyoto, and Fukui.
- Maibara City Hall - Japanese only
- Maibara Tourist Info - Japanese only
- Ohmi Railways - Private train lines in eastern Shiga, centering on Higashi Omi.
- Green Park Santo - Recreational, sports, exhibition, restaurant, and lodging facilities. Near Mishima Pond.
- Oku Ibuki - Official site for the ski grounds and camping grounds.
- shiga-ken.com Index to English guide to Shiga.
|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|
|愛荘町 | 東近江市 | 彦根市 | 日野町 | 甲賀市 | 湖南市 | 甲良町 | 草津市 | 米原市 | 守山市 | 長浜市 | 近江八幡市 | 大津市 | 栗東市 | 竜王町 | 多賀町 | 高島市 | 豊郷町 | 野洲市|
|Prefectures of Japan|
|Aichi | Akita | Aomori | Chiba | Ehime | Fukui | Fukuoka | Fukushima | Gifu | Gunma | Hiroshima | Hokkaido | Hyogo | Ibaraki | Ishikawa | Iwate | Kagawa | Kagoshima | Kanagawa | Kochi | Kumamoto | Kyoto | Mie | Miyagi | Miyazaki | Nagano | Nagasaki | Nara | Niigata | Oita | Okayama | Okinawa | Osaka | Saga | Saitama | Shiga | Shimane | Shizuoka | Tochigi | Tokushima | Tokyo | Tottori | Toyama | Wakayama | Yamagata | Yamaguchi | Yamanashi|