JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.


Most viewed - Hama-Otsu Lakefront and Zeze Castle Park
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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.342 views
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Different boats on Lake Biwa.150 views
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Lakeside at Zeze Castle Park.129 views
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Lakeside at Zeze Castle Park with Omi Ohashi Bridge in the distance.123 views
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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. 110 views
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Approaching Otsu Prince Hotel, major landmark visible from afar.108 views
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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108 views
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Central Otsu lakefront is rocky most of the way, with no beaches.103 views
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About the No. 4 High School (Yonko) cherry blossoms planted in 1977. 四高桜103 views
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Nightly water fountain show at Otsu Port. MAP102 views
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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.102 views
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Central Otsu lakefront97 views
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Zeze Castle Park, Otsu.96 views
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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 1941.94 views
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Omi Ohashi Bridge at the southern tip of Lake Biwa. 近江大橋92 views
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Artificial shoreline is actually not good for the lake ecologically. They should grow reeds instead. Reclaimed land.91 views
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Biwako Motorboat race91 views
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Otsu manhole showing Lake Biwa, Omi Ohashi Bridge, Otsu mascot Hikaru-kun, rowing, yachting, and Michigan boat.87 views
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Biwako motorboat race in Otsu.85 views
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Zeze Castle's main path to the lake shore is lined with cherry trees.85 views
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Lakefront75 views
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Gate to Zeze Castle Park 膳所城跡公園74 views
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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73 views
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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.69 views
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Biwako Hall, Shiga's most modern concert hall. This area is also reclaimed land.63 views
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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.61 viewsBe 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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Biwako Hama-Otsu Station (renamed from Hama-Otsu Station) on the Keihan Line. Most of the land north of the Keihan Line along the lake has been reclaimed.59 views
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Otsu Prince Hotel MAP59 views
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Michigan paddlewheel boat is based at Otsu Port. Daily cruises offered.56 views
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Fishing in summer.56 views
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Otsu Castle site. This area had many moats, but they have been filled in and much of Otsu's waterfront land has been reclaimed.55 views
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Otsu Castle marker55 views
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Biwako Motorboat Race Course. Biwako Kyotei びわこ競艇場54 views
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View from Biwako Bunkakan museum, looking east where Biwako Hall can be seen.51 views
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Otsu lakefront as seen from Top of Otsu.51 views
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Entrance to Biwako Bunkakan museum. A lookout deck is on the top of this tower.50 views
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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.50 views
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Inside Biwako Bunkakan museum.49 views
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Otsu and Lake Biwa as seen from the top of Otsu Prince Hotel.49 views
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Panoramic photo of the southeastern shore of Lake Biwa as seen from Top of Otsu.49 views
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View from Biwako Bunkakan museum, looking south toward the city.48 views
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Central Otsu as seen from Top of Otsu. The right half of this picture is basically reclaimed land.47 views
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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.47 views
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It used to be a lake fish aquarium as well before the Lake Biwa Museum opened in Kusatsu.46 views
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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.46 viewsUpon hearing of his brother's defeat and death by Hideyoshi, Samanosuke rushed back to Sakamoto Castle where he committed suicide.
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Michigan cruising on Lake Biwa.45 views
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Stoney beach45 views
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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.45 views
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Otsu Port and this area is reclaimed land.44 views
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Piazza Omi contains a hotel, passport office, and the Shiga Intercultural Association for Globalization. 44 views
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Find some gamblers here inside the Biwako Kyotei stands. It's a modern and comfortable indoor facility.44 views
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Scoreboard44 views
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Gate to Zeze Castle Park with cherry blossoms in full bloom in April. 膳所城跡公園 MAP44 views
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View from Biwako Bunkakan museum, looking west.43 views
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Southern Lake Biwa43 views
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Zeze Castle Park43 views
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Zeze Castle wall43 views
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Omi Ohashi Bridge42 views
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A lot of older women were also there.42 views
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Go!42 views
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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.42 views
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Zeze Castle monument 膳所城跡公園42 views
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Bridge going to Zeze Castle Park41 views
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Rocky shore41 views
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Omi Ohashi Bridge and Mt. Mikami41 views
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Old postcard showing the pine trees of Awazu.41 views
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Views from Biwako Bunkakan museum.40 views
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Now on the lake shore heading toward Omi Ohashi Bridge.40 views
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Zeze Castle gate and cherry blossoms.40 views
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Omi Ohashi Bridge 近江大橋39 views
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Pine trees of Awazu. This road is near the lakeshore. 粟津39 views
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You can also watch the motorboat races outside.39 views
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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.39 views
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Lookout deck in Biwako Bunkakan museum.38 views
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Approaching Zeze Castle Park38 views
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Lake front near Zeze Castle Park. Finally we see reeds.38 views
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More rocky lakeshore38 views
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Local community center designed after Zeze Castle.38 views
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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.38 views
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Place your bets.37 views
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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. 37 views
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At Hama-Otsu, shopping mall Aqus, also built on reclaimed land.37 views
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Leaving Zeze Castle36 views
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Pine trees of Awazu. One of the Eight Views of Omi is now a non-scenic, semi-industrial road.35 views
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Hiroshige's woodblock print of Clearing Storm at Awazu from his "Omi Hakkei" (Eight Views of Omi) series.35 views
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Keihan Line Ishiba Station near the Biwako Hall and Nagisa Terrace.35 views
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Walking path along Zeze Castle Park.34 views
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Too many Otsu condos block lake views.32 views
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Omi Ohashi Bridge 近江大橋27 views
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Omi Ohashi Bridge 近江大橋26 views
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Otsu Prince and Omi Ohashi Bridge 近江大橋26 views
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Otsu lakefront as seen from the lake. Biwako Hall can be seen.25 views
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Nagisa Terrace is a few cafes and shops along the lakefront in Otsu.23 views
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Nagisa Terrace23 views
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Nagisa Terrace22 views
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Keihan Line Ishiba Station21 views
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Nagisa Terrace18 views
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