Takashima, Shiga

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Takashima, Shiga (高島市; Takashima-shi)
Harie Harie More Takashima photos here.
Map of Shiga with Takashima highlighted
Location Shiga Prefecture, Kinki region, Honshu island, JAPAN  
Population 50,526 (454 foreigners) (2014-06-01)
Area 511 km²
City Centers Takashima Station, Omi-Imazu Station 
Major Sights Kaizu Osaki, Makino Kogen Highland, Kutsuki 
Major Gateways JR Kosei Line Omi-Takashima Station, Omi-Imazu Station 
Train Stations JR Kosei Line Omi-Takashima Station, Adogawa Station, Shin-Asahi Station, Omi-Imazu Station, Omi-Nakasho Station, Makino Station 
Claim to Fame Kaizu Osaki is one of Japan's 100 Best Places for cherry blossoms
Products funa-zushi, Saba no Narezushi, fans and fan ribs
Neighbors Otsu, Kyoto (Kyoto Pref.) 
Old Name(s) Takashima-gun (Takashima-cho, Imazu-cho, Adogawa-cho, Makino-cho, Shin-Asahi-cho, Kutsuki-mura)
Keywords senkotsu (fan ribs), Biwako Shuko no Uta, Oguchi Taro
Historical Persons Nakae Toju
Links Takashima Articles | Takashima Photos
Takashima Tourist Information
Location 520-1401滋賀県高島市朽木市場777

Kutsuki Ichiba 777, Takashima-shi, Shiga 520-1401 JAPAN

Phone 0740-38-3970

Makino-cho: 0740-28-1188 Takashima-cho: 0740-36-2009 Imazu-cho: (0740)22-2108 Adogawa-cho:(0740)32-1002 

Tourist Links Tourist Info  
Int'l Association Tel: 0740-36-2007 Fax: 0740-36-1467  
Volunteer Guides Tel: 0740-36-2012 (Takashima), 0740-25-6464 (Shin-Asahi)  
Takashima City Hall 高島市役所
Address 520-1592滋賀県高島市新旭町北畑565番地
Phone/Fax (0740) 25-8130 
Official Site Japanese |  
Symbols Flower:  None
Tree:  None
Bird:  None
Others:  --
Logo:  Six petals represent the former towns and one village which merged to form the city.
Sister Cities Petoskey and Garden City, Michigan USA; Ireland; Zhuzhou, Hunan, China; Yuyao, Zhe jiang, China; Beijing, China; Taejang-ri, South Korea; Niseko, Hokkaido; Yama-gun, Tsuruga, Fukui; Suita, Osaka; Takashima, Nagasaki; Moriguchi, Osaka; Ozu, Ehime; Kawage, Mie; Ie Village, Okinawa; Nemuro, Hokkaido; Morioka, Iwate; Asahi Ward, Osaka City, Osaka

This page is 75% complete. Last updated: Aug. 12, 2016

by Philbert Ono

Takashima (高島市; Takashima-shi) is a city in northwestern Shiga Prefecture. It straddles the Hira mountains bordering with Kyoto and boasts a very long lake shore facing Lake Biwa.

In area, Takashima is one of Shiga's largest cities. The city has the following six areas based on the former towns and village which merged in Jan. 2005 to form Takashima: Adogawa, Imazu, Shin-Asahi, Makino, Takashima, and Kutsuki. Each district has its own unique characteristics and attractions. The city is so large that it would take days to see what you should see. Can't see everything in a single trip there.

Particularly famous is Kaizu-Osaki in Makino, for lakeshore cherry blossoms in April. In summer, Makino's Sunny Beach is popular. Kutsuki is in the mountains, with lots of nature and ecotourism. Imazu is the birthplace of Shiga's most famous song, Biwako Shuko no Uta (Lake Biwa Rowing Song). It also has Imazu Port where you can catch a boat to visit Chikubushima island. Adogawa was home to Nakae Toju, a well-known Confucian scholar. A small museum, shrine, etc., are dedicated to him. Adogawa also produces the Adoberry, a type of boisenberry. The Harie area in Shin-Asahi is blessed with clean spring water gushing up to residents' homes 24/7. Tours by volunteer guides are provided. The city's most famous shrine is Shirahige Shrine in the Takashima district, whose iconic torii gate is in the lake.

There is a tourist information booth in all of the JR train stations in Takashima except Omi-Nakasho Station. Pick up maps and pamphlets for each area.

Takashimaya Department Store is named after Takashima. Ironically, no branch is found in Takashima.


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Imazu Harie kabata Kaizu Rikishi Matsuri
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Kaizu-Osaki Omizo Castle Kawakami Matsuri
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Shichikawa Matsuri Omizo Matsuri Makino

The city has six areas each having its own attractions:

Makino マキノ

  • Kaizu Osaki 海津大崎 - Along the scenic northern shore of Lake Biwa, best known for cherry blossoms in April. One of Japan's 100 Best Places for Cherry Blossoms. Map
  • Makino Sunny Beach - Swimming beach in summer. Map
  • Makino Highland マキノ高原 - At the foot of a mountain, with rivers, hiking trails, putting golf course, and skiing. Map

Imazu 今津

Shin-Asahi 新旭

  • Asahi Windmill Village あさひ風車村 - Park that featured a windmill and flowers. Especially noted for irises in June. This park is currently closed for renovations to reopen as a glamping facility in July 2018. Map
  • Harie 針江 - Near Shin-Asahi Station, an small area of local homes which have "kabata" wells to draw up pure spring water 24/7. Guided tours (1,000 yen) of these homes are available through a local NPO called Shozu-no-Sato Committee 針江生水の郷委員会. In 2014, they won the top Ecotourism Grand Prize エコツーリズム大賞 sponsored by the Japan Ecotourism Society and Environment Ministry. Highly recommended and one of Shiga's best places to visit. Call 090-3168-8400 in Japanese. Web site here Map

Adogawa 安曇川

  • Gyokusenji Temple 玉泉寺 - Noted for many stone buddhas. In Adogawa.
  • Nakae Toju Memorial Hall 中江藤樹 - Small museum dedicated to Nakae Toju, Confucian philosopher. Also nearby is the Toju Shoin Study Room where he studied, his gravesite, and Toju Shrine. 15-min. walk from Adogawa Station. Map
  • Omi-Shirahama Beach - White sand beach. Map

Kutsuki 朽木

  • Tahoto Pagoda 多宝塔 - Aesthetic pagoda in the Kutsuki area.

Takashima 高島町

  • Shirahige Shrine 白鬚神社 - Best known for its landmark red torii in Lake Biwa. Bicycle from Omi-Takashima Station. Map
  • Kamogawa Stone Buddhas 鴨川48体石仏群 - Large group of stone buddhas made in 1553 by Sasaki Rokkaku Yoshikata (佐々木六角 義賢), lord of Kannonji Castle in Azuchi in memory of his deceased mother. Map
  • Gulliver Youth Travel Village ガリバー青少年旅行村 - Outdoor recreation park near the mountains. Map
  • Omizo Castle ruins 大溝城跡- Originally built in 1578 by Oda Nobusumi (Nobunaga's nephew), it was taken over by Mitsunobu Wakebe from Mie Prefecture in 1619. The Honmaru stone foundation remains. Near Omi-Takashima Station. Map
  • Ozuka Kofun Tumulus 王塚古墳 - Ancient tumulus or burial mound.
  • Terraced rice paddies 棚田 - Near Omi-Takashima Station.
  • Yatsubuchi no Taki 八ツ淵の滝 - Series of eight waterfalls along a 1-km hiking trail near Gulliver Park. Map

Event Calendar

  • April 18 - Kawakami Matsuri Festival 川上まつり is held in Imazu. Held annually on April 18 by Hioki and Tsuno Shrines in Imazu, this festival features a pair of very tall (18 meters), decorated bamboo poles called O-nobori carried little by little at a horse-riding course. There are also children in costume playing music with drums and bells and others carrying a decorated branch called sanyare. Map (Tsuno Shrine) Map (Horse-riding course)
  • April 29 - Kaizu Rikishi Matsuri Festival 海津力士祭り - Held annually by Kaizuten Jinja Shrine on April 29, this local festival features men dressed as sumo wrestlers (rikishi) carrying two mikoshi portable shrines around their respective neighborhoods. They wear kesho mawashi ceremonial aprons. They jostle the mikoshi during the day, and then at night they go to the shrine for the festival climax with lit torches. Map
  • May 3-4 - Omizo Matsuri Festival 大溝祭 is held by Hiyoshi Jinja Shrine near Omi-Takashima Station (JR Kosei Line). It's a festival of five ornate floats pulled around town. May 3 is the festival eve when the floats are lit with paper lanterns and paraded around the neighborhood of Omi-Takashima Station. May 4 is the daytime procession of the five floats starting at 10 am and ending at 3:30 pm. By 11 am, the five floats gather at Hiyoshi Jinja Shrine where they throw mochi rice cakes to the crowd. The floats are smaller than those at Otsu Matsuri and Nagahama Hikiyama Matsuri. This festival is not crowded at all. Map
  • May 4 - Shichikawa Matsuri Festival 七川祭 is held by Oarahiko Shrine 大荒比古神社, a few kilometers from Shin-Asahi Station. This crowd-pleasing festival features a procession, yabusame horseback archery, full-speed galloping horses, and a portable shrine procession. The procession starts at around noon with young men carrying wooden archery targets dancing their way to Oarahiko Shrine. The shrine grounds has a long, straight path for the yabusame horseback archer who makes a few runs along with other horseback riders racing through. The shrine is quite far from Shin-Asahi Station. Taking a taxi or renting a bicycle from the local tourist info office near the station is recommended. Map
  • Sept. 5-6 - Shirahige Festival, Shirahige Shrine.
  • Mid-Nov. - Lake Biwa Hot-Air Balloon Race - Takes place early in the monring on the lake beach. The balloons try to cross the lake.
  • Winter - Skiing on mountains in Hakodate-yama (especially), Makino, and Kutsuki.

Travel Tips

  • The lake shore is very scenic especially on sunny days. You can clearly see Chikubushima and Mt. Ibuki across the lake. Rent a bicycle at a train station and ride along the shore. Rental bicycles are available at the tourist info booths at the following train stations in Takashima: Makino Station, Omi-Imazu Station, Omi-Takashima Station, and Shin-Asahi Station (West exit). They provide maps as well.
  • To visit Shirahige Shrine (torii in the lake), rent a bicycle at Omi-Takashima Station or catch a taxi.
  • Takashima is large city in area. You cannot travel everywhere and see everything during a day trip. Either lodge within the city or decide which region to visit beforehand.

Getting There

Takashima is served by the JR Kosei Line which has the following train stations within the city: Omi-Takashima Station (近江高島), Adogawa Station (安曇川), Shin-Asahi Station (新旭), Omi-Imazu Station (近江今津), Omi-Nakasho Station (近江中庄), and Makino Station (マキノ).

Getting Around

Some sights are within walking distance of the train station, but others require bus or taxi, especially to Kutsuki which is far inland.

The major sights and facilties along the train lines are as follows:

JR Kosei Line

  • Omi-Takashima Station (近江高島) - Shirahige Jinja Shrine (torii in lake), Haginohama Beach, Omizo Castle, Otomegaike Pond, Ireland Koryukan Village
  • Adogawa Station (安曇川) - Biwako Kodomo no Kuni, Yomeien Garden, Nakae Toju Museum and shrine.
  • Shin-Asahi Station (新旭) - Shin Asahi Windmill Village
  • Omi-Imazu Station (近江今津) - Imazu-ko Pier (boat to Chikubushima island), Biwako Shuko no Uta Shiryokan song museum, Biwako Shuko no Uta song monument, Imazu Vories Shiryokan museum, Mt. Hakodate-yama,
  • Omi-Nakasho Station (近江中庄) -
  • Makino Station (マキノ) - Makino Sunny Beach, Kaizu Osaki coast, Makino Highland

By bus

  • Buses leave from all train stations on the Kosei Line within Takashima. Since Takashima covers such a large area, it employs a large network of local bus lines.

By bicycle

Rental bicycles are available at the following train stations in Takashima: Makino Station, Omi-Imazu Station, Omi-Takashima Station, and Shin-Asahi Station (West exit).


Click on upper right icon to enlarge the map.


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Kaizu-Osaki in spring Nakajima
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Yomeien Garden, Adogawa Shirahige Shrine torii

More photos at Takashima Photos. More Shiga photos here.


Click on the video image to play the video.

More Shiga videos here.

Side Trips

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

  • Chikubushima 竹生島 - An island in northern Lake Biwa, Shiga Prefecture. Easily accessible by boat from Imazu Port, the island has a large temple complex called Hogonji which includes buildings designated as National Treasures.


Takashima was historically a significant crossroads between the Hokuriku Region and Kyoto and Nara which used to be the country's capital.

  • 1917 Oguchi Taro and his boat crewmates compose the song, "Biwako Shuko no Uta" at an inn in Imazu.
  • 1950s Takashima originally consisted of 17 villages. Except for Kutsuki Village, all these villages merged to form five towns: Adogawa-cho, Imazu-cho, Shin Asahi-cho, Makino-cho, and Takashima-cho
  • 2005 January 1: All five towns and one village in the former Takashima-gun comprising Adogawa-cho, Imazu-cho, Shin-Asahi-cho, Makino-cho, and Takashima-cho towns and Kutsuki-mura village merged to form Takashima city. Takashima-gun county was thereby dissolved.

Additional Reading

More Takashima News here.



  • Makino was Japan's first town to have its name in katakana when it was established in 1955 upon the merger of a few villages. It was named after Makino Ski Grounds which used katakana for "Makino." Makino Ski Grounds was built in the 1910s/20s when skiing was an exotic import sport. They decided to change the name Makino using katakana マキノ instead of the original kanji of 牧野 since it matched well with スキー which was also in katakana. This was in 1930. Makino Ski Ground was quite well-known in the Kansai area, so they decided to use "Makino" for the town name. Thus, Makino was named after a local ski resort. Makino is one of only two towns in Japan with a katakana name. The other is Niseko in Hokkaido.
  • Takashimaya Department Store was named after Takashima district (now city). The store's founder's father hailed from Takashima.

Famous People

Nakae Toju 中江藤樹 (1608-1648)
Native of Adogawa, Takashima and one of Japan's leading Neo-Confucian philosophers. He taught that the highest virtue was filial piety. To care for his ailing mother, he escaped from his samurai career and returned to Takashima in 1634 where he started his Neo-Confucian school. His large following ranged from samurai to merchants, all treated equally. He was also dubbed the "Saint of Omi." There is the Nakae Toju Memorial Museum in Takashima.
Oguchi Taro 小口太郎 (1897-1924)
A Kyoto University student and member of the rowing club. He and his boatmates composed the song Biwako Shuko no Uta (Lake Biwa Rowing Song) during a rowing trip around the lake in June 1917. The song later became Shiga's most famous song.

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