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December 25, 2019 - Southern Shiga Prefecture
For my last post in Shiga, I've included some of the sites which were visited over several days in Southern Shiga. All are interesting in their own way but public transport is not always each sites strong suit from major cities.
Located south of Hikone, Taga Taisha is a major shrine which has links back to the 7th century. The kami's of deities which are revered at this shrine are Izanagi & Izanami. These are 2 of the main primordial gods which is why this site is meant to be reasonably important to the Shinto religion.
My second stop for the post was the Koka Ninja House which claims to be the only true Ninja Mansion in existence. It costs 600 yen to enter and can be found in the middle of an older housing estate with small roads and such.
When you first come into the museum, they sit you down and you drink tea and watch a video explaining the Mochizuki family and their house. The first part of the documentary was interesting but the last few minutes were flogging their gift shop.
English translations were quite strong but the best part of the house was going up to the second floor via a hidden staircase. Note that it's reasonably steep.
As I am still on Singapore time - I tend to have lunch late. For today, I tried some local dishes including sesame tofu (one of my favorites) and lots of dishes with small clams. This restaurant was just one of the random restaurants found outside Ishiyamadera Temple.
If there is something I hate doing - it's paying for car parking and when I visited Ishiyamadera temple it cost 600 yen. Entrance into this spectacular and sprawling temple also costs 600 yen.
This temple is one of the older ones in Japan - being founded in 747 and is famous for two literary facets. First - the temple is home to two fragments of Records of the Grand Historian which is the first of China's 24 dynastic histories. It's also claimed that Murasaki Shikibu started to write the Tales of Genji here in August 1004.
The temple is also home to two national treasures - the first being the main hall which can be seen above. This is the oldest wooden structure in Shiga prefecture. As expected, no photography is allowed inside but it is a place of worship.
The second national treasure is the Tahoto - or the above pagoda which was built in 1194. It may not look like much - but it is actually quite spectacular.
The temple is also known for it's fall colors (I know - this describes 2000 temples in Japan!) along with gardens on the side of the temple which will look better in warmer weather.
My last stop for the day was Takebe Shrine which from memory is also an important and old shrine. I will say that it is still interesting to see people putting up everything needed for New Year's day. This year - I'll be on Yakushima so there will won't be many people for New Years.
When I was originally planning my last trip to Japan - someone suggested I visit Lake Biwa on the forum and I'm really happy that I did. It's home to some beautiful and historic towns, important temples but most of all it's quieter than major cities. For tomorrow, I'll be heading to Kyoto to see if quiet places in this city still exist.
Taga Taisha (http://takebetaisha.jp/)
Koka Ninja House (http://www.kouka-ninjya.com/la_en/)
Ishiyamadera Temple (https://www.ishiyamadera.or.jp/en)
Takabe Taisha (http://takebetaisha.jp/)